Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Honey Badger celebrates his first 30 minutes of Japanese rugby with a win.

Nick Cummins came as a substitute in the 10th minute of the second half when his team, Coca-Cola Red Sparks was trailing visitors NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes by one point. Just three minutes after Cummins taking his first steps in the Top League his team mate Toyota Masakazu scored Red Sparks’ second try which resulted decisive with South African Riaan Viljoen missing two penalty kicks that could have drawn the game.
Kawaguchi Kohei scored Red Sparks’ first try just five minutes into the match.
Nick Cummins - photo Getty

Berrick Barns enjoyed a large 47-22 victory with his Panasonic Wild Knights but was forced out of the game for a blood substitution midway through the first half and didn’t revert back to the field after that. Before leaving the pitch the aussie flyhalf scored 3/3 from the tee with two penalties and one conversion.
Fellow australian Daniel Heenan scored a try at the 36th minute of a largely Panasonic dominated first half.
Barnes from the tee - Photo Getty

New Zealand born Tongan international Siale Piutau scored and four tries in NEC Green Rocket’s 55 – 7 demolition by Yamaha Júbilo at their home. The centre exploded in the second half when he crossed the whitewash for the first time in the second minute to repeat himself at the ninth, twenty-sixth and thirty-third minute. The visiting Júbilo finished with eight tries overall with a brace from hooker Takeshi Hino and singles for outside centre Masatoshi Miyazawa and experienced kiwi number eight Mose Tuiali’i. Yamaha is the only team with two bonus tries in two matches and leads pool A in front of Brave Lupus.

Suntory Sungoliath wins over Toyota Verblitz in an hard fought match at Toyota in Aichi.
South African Suntory's openside flanker Shalk Burger was named Man of the Match wich saw only two tries scored. First over the line for the hosts was kiwi blindside Thomas Deryck and in the second half winger Takaaki Nakaduru sealed the win for the hosts with a try at the 16th minute.
Burger awarded Man of Match at the end of the game - Photo RJP
New Zealanders Adam Thomson starred in Canon Eagles’ 33 – 21 win over the Ricoh Black Rams. The openside flanker scored three tries in the first half but fellow New Zealander Daniel Peters kept the visitors in touch with an excellent display from the tee. Eventually the host got over the line thanks to eventual Man of the Match Miyayanagi Hashino and aussie Tim Bennets tries

In the other matches:

South African Elton Jantjies lost his battle from the tee against Toshiba Brave Lupus’ Takahiro Ogawa in his new team, the NTT Shining Arcs, 23 – 16 defeat.

A brace from Man of the Match Katsuyuki Sakai was fundamental in Mark Gerrard’s Toyota Shuttles’ win against newcomers Munakata Blues.

Kobelco Steelers comfortably beat Kinetsu Liners 26 – 3

All the results

Pool A
Toshiba Brave Lupus NTT - Communications Shining Arcs 23 – 16
Panasonic Wild Knights - Kubota Spears 47 - 22
Toyota Shuttles - Fukuoka Sanix Blues 31 - 14
NEC Green Rockets - Yamaha Júbilo 7 - 55

Pool B
Canon Eagles - Ricoh Black Rams 33 - 21
Toyota Verblitz - Suntory Sungoliath 10 - 13
Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers - Kinetsu Liners 26 - 3
Coca-Cola Red Sparks - NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes 15 - 9
By Unknown on 18:39 No comments so far More

Dominant display form the Melbourne team at Leichhardt Oval

The visitors left only 5 minutes of glory to the hosts in the whole game. Despite the addition of Super Rugby champion and Wallaby Will Skelton the Stars only scored two tries midway in the first half to briefly tie the game before the Rising ran over them with four unanswered tries.
Joe Kamana scored last try of the match
Joe Kamana scored the last try of the match
Again the Rising impressed with composure and organisation at the set pieces: "I'm pleased with some aspects (of the game)" told Rising head coach Sean Hedger to the media at the end of the game. "obviously there is still a few things to work on". "The scrum was again a weapon for us, towards the end of the game was very dominant for us, it is nice to have that really stable scrum platform to work from".
The visitors started strong with scrum half and captain Nic Stirzaker first over the whitewash, and then crossed again with experienced centre Mitch Inman, before conceding two tries in rapid succession to exciting wing James Dargaville and centre Jim Stewart. But the Stars rally was short lived and the visitors scored before half time again with Veainu.
In the second half ex Sydney Uni player Sam Jeffries scored before local Victorian talents Sefa Naivalu and Joe Kamana closed off the game and ensured the bonus point.

Scoreboard:
Sydney 13 (13):
Tries: Dargaville 26', Stewart 29'
Conv: Dunbar 1/2
Melbourne 45 (21):
Tries: Stirzaker 11', Inman 20', Veainu 39', Jeffries 46', Naivalu 54', Kamana 74'
Conv: Debrecezni 5/6
By Unknown on 04:54 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Only one change for the Rising facing Sydney Stars on Sunday.

Another Melbourne Rebels filled squad announced by coach Sean Hedger for the second game of the NRC: in the starting XV only outside centre Sefanaia Naivalu is not (yet) part of the Super Rugby franchise.
Despite an impressive display in his first game at national level Harlequin's Sione Taufa loses his place in the starting squad to Australia’s U20 captain and 7’s Commonwealth bronze medallist flanker Sean McMahon.
Sean McMahon playing 7s for Australia - photo Getty
Sean McMahon playing 7s for Australia - photo Getty
McMahon was rested for the first game due to his recent involvement in the Commonwealth games and will bring to an already Super Rugby filled team extra experience and class.
His introduction will cost a place on the bench to Endeavour Hills’ Reuben Rolleston, another local Dewar Shield player who made a good impression on his national debut last week.
The conservative choices of coach Hedger  demonstrate his will to seek consistency week in week out and use at his best the biggest competitive advantage of his team: homogeneity.
Sydney Stars, despite losing the first game in the NRC opener on Thursday have a similar set up to the Rising, with the bulk of their players coming from the same team, Sydney University. Automatisms and chemistry should not be a problem for them as they were for Rising’s opponents last week, the North Harbour Rays, as confirmed by Hedger: "they are probably the most organised opposition we come up against in the early rounds. 95% of squad is from one club and we expect them to be organised right from the start". Asked which players was he more worried about, the head coach mentioned the possibility that Will Skelton will play: "we heard that he has been released to play for them, besides that the have really good speed out wide both theri two wingers have named in the Shute Shield team of the year, we need to be carefull. They are going to be hard to stop".

Additionally the Stars have had an additional three days of rest and training compared to the Rising, another factor to be taken into consideration.

Melbourne Rising Team:

1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
6 Luke Jones (Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sean McMahon (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels) (Captain)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
11 Tom English (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
14 Telusa Veainu (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels)
15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels), 17 Tuiatua Tuia (Moorabbin), 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels), 19 OJ Noa (Harlequin), 20 Sione Taufa (Harlequin), 21 Ben Meehan (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels), 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin), 23 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)

Kick off at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney will be on Sunday August 31st at 3:00 pm
By Unknown on 20:40 No comments so far More

Sunday, 24 August 2014

ARU’s move to reduce the number of points for a penalty goal has had a massive impact on tactics of the newly created competition: in the two games I watched there wasn’t a single penalty kicked for the sticks, all penalties were either sent for touch or quickly taken. The effect was a free flowing game with pace and continuous ball movement.
But if you think that this massive change in tactics has made the goal kicking skills redundant, think again.

At least until the players will learn to run every time as close to the posts as possible, with 3 points for a conversion, kicking can still be decisive: two converted tries under the old rules were less than three converted ones, now it is not. With two converted tries a team will be awarded 16 points, instead of 14 with the old rules, but three unconverted tries are still worth 15 points. A massive difference if your major scores come from the sidelines and your kicker is just a quick paced back with no refined skills.
Furthermore the new rules allows only 60 seconds to the kicker, so precision have to be matched with the capacity of quickly concentrate and regain breath.

So, if this experiment with the scoring system will continue, or be extended to other tournaments or even became the new worldwide norm, keep teaching your kids how to approach the tee. Maybe the long distance kicking will fall from grace, but a good conversion from the sideline will still be something to look for:

By Unknown on 20:53 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

For their first game on Sunday the Melbourne Rising have name a team full of Super Rugby experience along with some Dewar Shield talent.

Coach Sean Hedger has chosen a conservative approach for his first game as NRC head coach, introducing only two players with no national experience in the starting XV: Sefanaia Naivalu and Sione Taufa. Box Hill centre Naivalu is the top scorer of the Dewar Shield, a quick decision maker with an excellent boot, and Harlequin flanker Taufa is a solid player newlty crowned Dewar Shield champion on Sunday.
Rising's head coach Hedger with Stirzaker and Kamana
Rising's head coach Hedger with Stirzaker and Kamana - photo Getty

All nine Dewar Shield clubs are represented in the squad through the allocation of Melbourne Rebels’ players to the local teams. An indication of how much the Rising franchise aspires to unite the Melbourne rugby fans under one banner.
The team will be captained by Rebels scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker, who spent last year’s post season in New Zealand playing for Manawatu Turbos in the ITM Cup. Along Stirzaker in the midfield Jack Debreczeni will start at flyhalf and Mitch Inman will be second receiver providing guidance to the debutant Naivalu.

The first row is a very powerful display with Toby Smith and Paul Alo-Emile on each side of hooker and vice-captain Pat Leafa.
In the second and third row Sam Jeffries and Cadeyrn Neville will bring their Super Rugby experience as well as  Luke Jones at inside flanker and Lopeti Timani at number eight.
In the back line new recruit Jonah Placid will play at full back, Telusa Veainu and Tom English will be the wingers.

The bench will display three more Rebles: Irish hooker Tom Sexton who was out all of Super Rugby season with a knee ligament reconstruction after an injury in the pre-season, prop Cruze Ah-Nau and scrumhalf Ben Meehan, who played last week Dewar Shield final with Box Hill. The rest of replacements is made up with local talent: Moorabbin prop Tuiatua Tuia, Harlequin’s Dewar Shield’s season MVP OJ Noa and Endeavour Hills’ backrower Reuben Rolleston, Harlequin’s centre and former Wallaby Lloyd Johansson and Moorabbin’s outside back Joe Kamana.

Rising's first NRC match on Sunday 24th August at 2 PM at AAMI Parkwill be against Sydney powerhouseNorth Harbour Rays, reincarnation of sole ARC winners  Central Coast Rays, a team formed by Manly, Warringah, Northern Suburbs and Gordon players.

Melbourne Rising squad:
15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
14 Telusa Veainu (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
11 Tom English (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels - Captain)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sione Taufa (Harlequin)
6 Luke Jones (Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels - Vice Captain)
1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)

Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels); 17 Tuiatua Tuia (Moorabbin); 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels); 19 OJ Noa (Harlequin); 20 Reuben Rolleston (Endeavour Hills); 21 Ben Meehan (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels); 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin); 23 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)
By Unknown on 18:06 No comments so far More

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Harlequin takes second title in a row with an easy 33-12 victory in the Victorian Rugby competition.

In a cold afternoon at Sparks Reserve, home of the Box Hill Rugby Club, the fairytale season of the Broncos ended with a comprehensive loss in the Gran Final. The much improved team wasn't able to contest the win to the defending champions in a one sided match where the only highlight was the hattrick for Bill Seveti.
From the very beginning the defending champions set the pace of the game and they could have scored a try at the 4' minute with an intercepted pass, but impeccable referee Matt Hall disallowed the try because the Harlequin's players weren't 10 meter back from the scrum.
Five minutes afterwards the Quins' forwards delivered the first of team's four tries of the match. The drive after a 5 meter line out was just too powerful for the Box Hill defence and Pom Simona had the honour to touch down over the line. After another 5 it was fullback Justin Martens time to score after a quick pass in the centre field.
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Gus Hamilton's try - photo @22metri

The Broncos looked unable to contain the opponents and were forced to several fouls, at the twenty-second minute referee's Matt Hall patience exhausted and flyhalf Pava Makoni was sin binned. Lloyd Johansson punished immediately
the Broncos with a penalty kick. Just before the end of the sin bin period for Makoni Harlequin scored again, this time with flanker Gus Hamilton at the end of a series of phases where the Quins scored a perfect team work.
Twenty points ahead and with the game well in control the Harlequins relaxed a bit and Box Hill finally found the combinations that made them one of the most dangerous teams the whole season.In the dying moments of the first half was Harlequin's Pom Simona to be sent for ten minutes after several team fouls.
The numeric advantage gave the Broncos the platform to launch their quick backs and Bill Seveti got two each side of the had time rest to reopen the game: 20 -12.
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Bill Seveti's second try - photo @22metri
Box Hill resurgence was although short lived and as soon as the Harlequin regained parity in players' numbers, the game reverted back to the screenplay of the first half. Quins midfield shut down every Bronco's opportunity waiting for any opportunity to strike back.
Majokah Schuster's try at the eleventh minute not only stopped Box Hill's comeback but was a psychological blow for the Broncos. Kemu Valetini took over from Lloyd Johansson from the tee and scored two penalties to put the game even further from Box Hill's reach.
With one minute to play Seveti scored his third try surprising yet again the opponent's defence with his speed. But there was no more time for the Broncos to endanger Harlequin's lead.
At the end the better team won, without any doubt. Box Hill have to be proud of his season, but the champions were clearly superior in every aspect of the game.MVP of the final was rightly so elected Harlequin's hooker Kolo Mahe, a prize that was also a recognition of the great work done by whole first row.
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Harlequin's players celebrating at the end of the game - photo @22metri
At the end of the game along the Dewar Shield the season's MVP, Harlequin's OJ Noa and the season's best scorer, Box Hill Sefanaia Naivalu were awarded.

Scoreboard:
Harlequin 33 (20):
Tries: Simona 9', Martens 15', Schuster 51'
Conversions: Johansson 2/4
Penalties: Johansson 1/1; Valetini 2/2
Drop Gaols: Johansson 0/1

Box Hill 19 (5):
Tries: Seveti 40', 46' and 79'
Conversions: Naivalu 1/3
By Unknown on 02:14 No comments so far More

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Harlequin in the driving chair for the second title in a row.

The Quins not only had a week to rest when the Broncos were battling up to the last minute against the Unicorns in the preliminary final, but they have comprehensively beaten them 26 – 7 in their last encounter in the Major Semi.
Arguably the Broncos were without their inspirational scrumhalf Ben Meehan in that match, but there are signs that the form of two teams could be on opposite slopes.

The Broncos have surprised everyone this season, from struggler in 2013 they started with the foot on the gas and impressed with speed and running footy. In the last part of the season they had several close matches and their bodies are showing the signs of the long campaign.

A Dewar Shield victory would be the coronation of a remarkable come back. Last Premiership for the Broncos was in 2001, after a three year domination of Victorian Rugby.

On the other side Craig McGrath’s Harlequin has conducted themselves all the season as the red hot candidates. Their overall structure is being more solid and consistent throughout the season with only three close losses and one draw.

Quins’ last loss was almost exactly two months ago, in round 12 against Power House on June 14th, from there they won all matches except a draw against, guess who, Box Hill.

Box Hill’s coach Andrew Slyfield has named an unchanged team for the final, trusting the same XV that hold on against Melbourne to deliver in the Grand Final.
For Harlequins the only changes from the Major Semi are in the backs: Maradona Farao and Lloyd Johansson return to first and second receiver respectively, with the Craig McGrath at scrumhalf and Taylor Acheson is forced to the bench.

Quins are favourite on form and because they had a week of rest, and mostly because they look and act as a more compact and mature team, with key players with the required experience and leadership skills to guide them through the final. Box Hill may be a surprise package and they will use their position as underdogs to go under Quin’s skin, try an historical upset and use the home advantage to their best.

My prediction is that the Shield will stay another season at Holmesglen Reserve.
Quins celebrate 2013 Dewar Shield

Courtesy to the Melbourne Rebels site here the teams for tomorrow’s final:

Harlequin:

15 Justin Marsters
14 Landre Te Kahu
13 Leo Taliu
12 Lloyd Johansson
11 Majokah Schuster
10 Maradona Farao
9 Craig McGrath
8 Pom Simona
7 Sione Taufa
6 OJ Noa
5 Angus Hamilton
4 Niko Lauina
3 Junior Manase
2 Kolo Mahe
1 Dale Stevenson

Reserves: Albert Tokahere, Eugene Mulipola, Peter Luamanuvae, Zac Dixon, Paul Graham, Kemu Valetini, Talaimanu Tivoli, Taylor Acheson

Box Hill

15 Bill Seveti
14 Alex Healey
13 Sefanaia Naivalu
12 Isi Kioa
11 Filipe Koroibola
10 Pava Makoni
9 Ben Meehan
8 Moses Haukinima
7 Sowani Saunitoga
6 Drew Collins
5 Adam Lewis
4 Teo Fudakowski
3 Sione Puamau
2 Greg Bauer
1 George Manuoketoa

Reserves: Chris Moran, Ed Woodger, Richie Pongi, Ged Logan, Joe Cousens, Rory Featherstone, Savenaca Waqalutu, Ben Williams


Referee: Matt Hall
Assistant Referee 1: Darren O’Brien
Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Schwilk

One last curiosity, in every match between the two sides at least one of the two teams has scored at least 26 points, may be worth a visit to TAB?



By Unknown on 18:39 No comments so far More

Monday, 11 August 2014

The english born scrumhalf to lead Melbourne's team in the NRC

Every choice can attract criticism, personally I’m not a big fan of scrumhalves captains, nothing personal, but I think most of the SH are very talkative and risk to go too much under the skins of the referees; this could be detrimental for a captain. In my opinion a captain should be a second or third rower or a midfielder, first rowers tend to be too much in the heat of the battle, as  well as wingers and the fullback tend to be often too far from it.
Stirzaker - photo Melbourne Rising
Nic Stirzaker is for sure a young prospect player and I’m sure he will deliver in the NRC, although I’d like to see more of Ben Meehan at number 9. He will do go as captain and I believe he can lead the pack.
I probably agree more with some of the names proposed by other fans in the Rising Facebook page, and I’m trying to understand why they didn’t got the captaincy: Lloyd Johansson, who has played in the Wallabies and Rebels before becoming an established Dewar Shield player, seemed to me a logical choice for the role, maybe he is not set to make the starting XV of the Rising? I doubt. Another player that I thought was a very good fit was Wallaby U20 captain’s Sean McMahon, but the impressive second rower didn’t make even the co-captaincy role. Role that has been given to Mitch Inman, along with Pat Leafa and Pom Simona, despite the first of the trio has been called to the Wallabies training camp and as Luke Jones may spend more time on International duties.
By Unknown on 19:51 No comments so far More

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Dewar Shield's Preliminary Final down to the wire: Box Hill's fairy tale season continues with a after the siren win against Melbourne.

Let's start from the end, with the game tied at 19 all the Box Hill visit almost for the first time the opponents 22. The balls is very hot and heavy in the Bronco's hands and it slips for a knock on, referee Darren O'Brien stops the game but instead whistling the end of it approaches touchie Oliver Kellett, who points him out a shoulder charge from a Melbourne player: penalty from the 22 meter line, slightly on the right. Sefanaina Naivalu has the heaviest ball of all, but in a Bernie Foley moment,  he keeps the calm and kicks his team into the final.
Ben Meehan try - photo @22metri
Ben Meehan try - photo @22metri
Rolling back the clock of the game, the spectators had an entertaining game where Melbourne dominated the physical encounters but was not able of capitalise on them and suffered the speed of Box Hill. The Unicorns played a very good game, but as in last week Minor Semi-Final against Moorabbin they were slow to recycle the ball and committed an unforgivable  number of handling errors costed them the game. Box Hill was as rampant in the first half as sleepy in the second and need to improve in consistency in the Major Semi-Final replay against Harlequin.
The game started very well for the Unicorns, who controlled the first quarter hour of the game and had a chance to put the first points on the scoreboard with a Chris Slade penalty, but their inside centre didn't had the kicking boots on in the first half and missed it. The danger woken up the Broncos, who scored two majors in four minutes thank to Rebels' scurmhalf Ben Meehan. The speedy number nine first went over the line at the end of a team action and then superbly kicked for fullback Bill Seveti, who cut the Unicorns defence with light speed.
After another eight minutes the Broncos had their third try thank to another quick run from Seveti.
Melbourne had the merit of remain calm and to stuck to their game plan. At the of the half Unicorns forwards got over the line with Shaun Mortenson that capitalised on a team effort after a penalty kicked for touch.
Unicorns' forward - photo @22metri
Unicorns' forward - photo @22metri
The second half was a one sided affair with Melbourne scoring eleven unanswered points thanks to three penalties from Slade and a try of number eight Dan Squire.
The Unicorns put their opponents to the sword with a solid performance of their forwards, but in several occasions their backs weren't up to the performance of their team-mates and lost forward the ball or missed the last pass.
Box Hill was holding as much as possible, but never trespassed the half line and was forced to commit too many infractions in defence: Melbourne's try came when Box Hill's number eight Moses Haukinima was spending ten minutes in the sin bin.
But with the game heading to over time came the brave call from the touch judge and the consequent penalty from Naivalu.
The scoreboard:
Box Hill:
Tries: Meehan 16'; Seveti 20', 28'
Penalty: Naivalu 1/1
Conversions: Naivalu 2/3
Melbourne:
Tries: Mortenson 40', Squire 54'
Penalies: Slade 3/5
Conversions: Slade 0/2
By Unknown on 17:34 No comments so far More

Thursday, 7 August 2014

In the overly connected world we leave no picture will remain private, especially if you are somehow famous.

Five Crusaders have been photographed with a shot dead game during a joy ride safari in Africa and are now subject to some media heat.
A zebra, a blesbok, a gemsbok and an eland were the animals shot for fun during the safari.

Despite the five players being free to participate in a legitimate activity in their free time, their indirect appointment of such a silly activity like shoot animals dead for fun is despicable and they, as Richie McCaw pointed out in regard to his professional foul that costed his team the Super Rugby title, “should know better”.

We hope not seeing these kind of picture ever again.
By Unknown on 15:37 No comments so far More

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The emerald island team shocked the reigning world champions not only on the pitch.

According to 22metri’s IRB based women’s world ranking, Ireland gains 5 spots to claim overall position #1 with the win and ousts the Black Ferns from the top spot for the first time since the ranking has started.

In other movements Spain gains a position on Wales and Scotland on Kazakhstan. Both movements are an effect of calculation technicalities, in fact Spain also lost (5-45 against England) and Scotland didn’t even participates to the Cup.

The top ten:



By Unknown on 16:27 No comments so far More

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Moorabbin close to upsetting Melbourne in the minor semi final.

In a bruising encounter at Romanis Reserve the host managed to pass a rampant Rams side by 4 points. 
Melbourne's forwards approaching the line - photo @22metri
In the first half the two teams were very nervous and the spectators could feel that the stakes where high. The game was pretty much an affair for the forwards, with the backs, when involved, not able to put their mark on the game.
The Rams were the first team to go on the scoreboard, thanks to a forwards try which saw excellent prospect Tui Tuiatua over the line. The hosts got 3 points almost immediately with a penalty by Chris Slade, to whom replicated Neli Sasulu 2 minutes afterwards. Both penalties were awarded by Referee Matthew Hall for offside.
The Unicorns' forwards showed to be up for the challenge when number 8 Dan Squire pushed down for the sole five pointer to his team.
At the 33rd minute Slade converted his second penalty to fix the first half score to 13 - 8.
In the second half Moorabbin came out firing, but handling errors and a solid and correct defence from Melbourne denied them any point. On the contrary it was Slade to kick another penalty to extend his team's lead.
To this followed a period of frenetic footy started with a yellow card to Melbourne's winger Albert Aiolupotea. Sasulu kicked the penalty that followed the yellow card but Slade answered straight away with another penalty. But on the kick off the Unicorns' backs fumbled the ball, tried to kick it away from almost their own try line and the speedy Frankie Va'aua blocked the ball and recovered it for a try.
Moorabbin's Sio Tuiatua charging- photo @22metri

Down by only one point, the visitors could sniff the victory. Moorabbin come after a bye in the last round of the regular season and the freshness of its players was key to the last stanza of the second half where the visitors came close to an upset. Melbourne looked unable to fend off Moorabbin's attacks and conceded the control of the game.
With a couple of minutes to play Neli Sasulu slipped kicking a penalty: hadn't he slept and the ball crossed the uprights, the Rams would have re-gained the lead. Unfortunately for Moorabbin history cannot be rewritten, and history tells that Sasulu kicked a wounded duck that didn't even made the touch line. On the restart Melbourne had one of his rare moment of grace of the second half and pushed against the Rams' try line. The host desperately defended but committed an infringement that gave Chris Slade one of the easiest penalty of the arvo. The kick crossed the bar and fixed the final score to 22 - 18. With seconds to play Moorabbin wasn't able to manage to score again and so had to see its season end.
At the end the visitors have to recriminate on a couple of handling errors too much but can be proud of their effort. Tui e Sio Tuiatua were best on ground for the Rams.
Melbourne need to regroup for the next encounter, the unicorns need quicker and clearer balls out of the rucks to be able to launch their backs, the forwards cannot win all the games for them.

Harlequin defeated Box Hill with a convincing display to clinch the final

In the major semifinal the defending champions downed the surprise package of the season Box Hill by 26 - 7.
Box Hill and Melbourne will play each other next week to qualify for the Dewar Shield final.
By Unknown on 02:44 No comments so far More
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