Saturday, September 29, 2007

Try by All Blacks Doug Howlett - rwc07

Doug Howlett of New Zealand All Blacks rugby union team scores a very exciting try versus Figi with a "kick and chase" movement. "Plenty of pace, plenty of skill." Using a chip kick.

World Cup QuaterFinals Taking Shape
Brilliant All Black team try v Scotland (2005 Grand Slam Tour)

New Zealand v Romania (85-8)

New Zealand stormed to a 85-8 victory over Romania in their Rugby World Cup Pool C clash in Toulouse.
New Zealand continued their march through the World Cup with a crushing victory over minnows Romania in Toulouse.

There was little riding on the Pool C match with the All Blacks having already swept into the quarter-finals on the back of emphatic wins over Italy, Portugal and Scotland.

Yet they showed great desire to take their points tally - 224 going into the match - over 300 by running 13 tries past the outclassed Romanians.

Joe Rokocoko led the way with a hat-trick while Sitiveni Sivivatu and Isaia Toeava also crossed twice.

It was another emphatic statement from the All Blacks, who needed less than a minute open the scoring as Sivivatu found space out wide to go over for his first.

Chris Masoe followed him over nine minutes later and after a failed attempt to bulldoze over in the middle for a third try, the ball was simply spread wide for Rokocoko to cross.

Andrew Ellis then looked set to get in on the act but an ankle tap saw him lose possession and Nick Evans scooped up the ball to score instead.

The Romanians had no answer to New Zealand's fast attack and the one-way traffic continued as Sivivatu claimed a simple fifth try after 25 minutes. The powerful winger made his task look easy as he took a defender over the line with him to touch down.

Luke McAlister's third conversion made it 31-0 but Romania showed some spirit and did manage to pull a try back through Marius Tincu. Their forwards combined well and for once caught the All Blacks on the back foot.

Normal service was resumed before the interval, however, as slick play down the left saw Toeava put Aaron Mauger over to make it 36-5 at the break.

Romania showed some determination to take more from the contest early in the second half but the relentless All Blacks could not be contained.

After a brief period of restraint, Toeava broke the shackles again as he burst through from an Ellis pass to take New Zealand past 40 points for the fourth time in the tournament.

Another try followed before the hour as number eight Sione Lauaki broke from deep inside his own half and put the speedy Rokocoko over for his second.

Conversions from McAlister and, after taking over goalkicking duties, Evans took the score to 50-5.

The procession continued as substitute Andrew Hore found his way over after good work from Chris Jack.

Rokocoko then cut inside and sauntered over to complete his hat-trick from a neat inside pass from Jerry Collins.

Romania did enjoy a good spell towards the end, and even managed to claim three more points when substitute Florin Vlaicu was given the chance to kick at goal from a penalty.

They attacked again in the hope of scoring a second try but the move broke down and the All Blacks punished them to score on the counter-attack through Conrad Smith.

Further efforts from Doug Howlett and Toeava wrapped up the scoring in the closing minutes. Evans finished with five conversions to his name.

New Zealand (36) 85
Tries: Sivivatu (2), Masoe, Rokocoko (3), Evans, Mauger, Toeava (2), Hore, Smith, Howlett
Con: McAlister (4), Evans (6)

Romania (5) 8
Try: Tincu
Pen: Vlaicu

New Zealand: Evans, Rokocoko, Toeava, Mauger, Sivivatu, McAlister, Ellis, Tialata, Mealamu, Somerville, Thorne, Robinson, Collins, Masoe, Lauaki.

Replacements: Hore, Woodcock, Jack, McCaw, Leonard, Howlett, Smith.

Romania: Dumitras, Ciuntu, Gal, Gontineac, Brezoianu, Dimofte, Sirbu, B. Balan, Tincu, Florea, Socol, Petre, Corodeanu, Manta, Tonita.

Replacements: Mavrodin, Ion, Ursache, Ratiu, Calafeteanu, Vlaicu, Dascalu.


Canada v Japan (12-12)

Rugby England VS Australia [World Cup Final 2003]

Friday, September 28, 2007

World Cup QuaterFinals Taking Shape

We are still a week out, and this is the time the mathematicians like to start presenting us with scenario's. As always however there's not much in the way of intrigue or unexpected results, and those hunting for quarterfinal spots have their fates very much in their own hands.

Winner B(Australia) v Runner-Up A(Tonga/England)
Winner C(New Zealand) v Runner Up D(Ireland/Argentina/France)
Winner A(South Africa) v Runner Up B(Wales/Fiji)
Winner D(Ireland/Argentina/France) v Runner Up C(Scotland/Italy)

Pool A - South Africa has this pool wrapped up, despite being given a fright by the Tongans. England and Tonga square off this week to decide who will go on to the quarterfinals. My heart begs for Tonga, but the head says England will bungle their way through to be cannonfodder for the Australians.

Pool B - Australia strolls in at the top of group B. Wales and Fiji face off for the chance to go through, though winning is almost a booby prize with a quarterfinal against the South Africans.

Pool C - As expected new Zealand was never really tested, their closest game being the weekends 40-0 beating of the Scottish. Scotland and Italy decide their own fates, and on the lack of initiative showed by both sides so far I'm expecting a 0-0 draw. Incidentally - Scotland go through on a draw due to their 2 bonus points.

Pool D - The pool of death has delivered the scenario we suspected - that the number 2 and 3 placings would be decided by the final match between Ireland and Argentina. The number one spot will almost definitely hang on that game as well. But first France play Georgia in a game called "Can we win with a bonus point". A bonus point would take them to 15 points, which is enough to make the semi finals regardless of what happens in Paris. Considering that the Georgians will be backing up from their 'final' against Namibia 4 days earlier, this should be a given. It then comes down to whether the Irish can beat the Argentinians and by how much. If they win and get a bonus point, France will finish top on 15 and Ireland and Argentina will be tied on 14. If they win without a bonus point France will finish top of the pool with 15, Argentina second on 14 and Ireland third(and eliminated) on 13. What will really get the maths geeks salivating is the prospect that France wins without a bonus point and Ireland win with one. That will leave all three teams tied on 14 points.

There are a number of ways that the winner is decided should teams be drawn on points. The first method of deciding is the head to head. In the case of all three teams being tied that would be discarded as each team has a win and a loss to the other two teams. In the case of France qualifying top and Argentina and Ireland being joint on 14 - Ireland would progress by virtue of their 1 on 1 win. The second method is points scored for and against in all pool matches. If it gets to this decider Ireland can pack their bags. They would need to defeat Argentina by 87 points to crack this one. There are four more criteria for tie-breaking after that one, but it's all academic anyway.

Ireland don't have a hope.

Quite frankly it amazes they find their way out of the dressing rooms let alone to the try line. They lack structure, passion and consistency. They show no initiative on attack nor desperation on defense. For all the home nations talk of the All Blacks peaking too early(probably true) - they need look no further than the Irish for a team who are twelve months past their peak. Their preparation has been ludicrous and their performance thus far has suffered as a result. Argentina will beat Ireland, not by much, but comfortably. They will qualify top of the pool and go the 'easy' route, probably bowing out in the semi final against South Africa, but a reasonable long shot bet to make the final(and if they make it they could win it).

That will leave the final that was anticipated since the draw was announced being rescheduled to happen two weeks earlier - France vs New Zealand - quarter final. And what a match that will be.

Victory Haka by the Samoa Rugby Team.

Brilliant All Black team try v Scotland (2005 Grand Slam Tour)
Clips from the 87, 91, 95 Rugby world cups.

Victory Haka by the Samoa Rugby Team.

Victory Haka by the Samoa Rugby Team. Samoa wins the game against the USA Eagles in the 2007 World Rugby Cup in the Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium in Saint Etienne France.

Haka - New Zealand v Tonga
Haka - Tonga v Samoa
New Zealand Haka Tries - cool video

RWC07 France vs Ireland (5 - 22)

Canada v Japan (12-12)
Argentina v Namibia photo

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rugby World Cup 2007 (first week review)

Well, at last, the Rugby World Cup 2007 is underway. We have been waiting for what seems ages for this competition to eventually kick off and several matches have been played over the last few days. Some were unexpected upsets, but most results were as expected. One thing for sure, is that thousands of supporters have flocked to France to watch this great rugby spectacle. The various stadiums have recorded full house attendances and the money flooding in to France has already exceeded forecasts. Add to this scenario, millions of supporters around the world, literally glued to their television screens and we have a super duper world cup tournament.

There are too many games each day and too many teams and individual players, to be able to report fully on each match, so we will suffice with brief results and overviews, of the games played to date. Don't forget to download a free fixture list and results scoresheet at the bottom of the page.

The whole tournament was preceded by a glitzy opening ceremony, staged in the Stade de France, in St. Denis, immediately before the opening game between France and Argentina. Hundreds of gymnasts, musicians and dancers appeared in a huge show, meticulously choreographed, that went off like clockwork. The official anthems of the 2 competing countries were then aired and eventually the match started.

Rather disappointingly and I should imagine embarassingly for France, they appeared overwhelmed by the importance of the occasion and never really got themselves into the game. They stuttered and started and seemed nervous and unsettled. The Argentinians, on the other hand, seemed cool and calm and dedicated to the business at hand. Through sheer guts and strength they took an early lead and hammered the French into submission, at every possible opportunity. They were convincing winners and scored the only tri of the match. Although not much of a flowing game, this was a thrilling encounter. Many of the Argentinians actually play their club rugby in France, so were never intimidated by the French team. The final result was 17 - 12 to the Argentinians, which netted them a well deserved win and 4 points. The French had to be satisfied with a solitary point, from losing by less than 12 points.

The second match was New Zealand against Italy. A valiant Italy tried everything they could, but were never able to match the superb skills and far stronger Kiwis. The All Blacks showed why they are pre-tournament favourites, with a superb display, however it seemed that they never really upped their game to top gear. They scored 11 tries.There was no need to. Without too much effort, they emerged convincing winners, by 76 - 14. The plucky Italians were actually lucky to get their 14 points, through 2 relatively easy tries.

The third match was Australia against Japan and as expected, the Aussies all but annihilated Japan, by running in 13 tries to nil. The final result was 91 - 3 and netted Australia 5 easy points.

Fourth up was England versus USA. Again, England were expected to trounce the typically non rugby playing nation, but never really put up a convincing fight. Many were curious as to the condition of the defending cup holders, but England were almost disappointing. They were only able to get 3 tries to USA's one. Anyway they grabbed the victory with a final score of 28 - 10.

The fifth match between Wales and Canada was expected to be a little more evenly matched with Wales not having had that good a season and Canada, one of the few minnows who put up a good show in the last world cup tournament. Wales never really struggled and were able to beat Canada by 42 - 17, grabbing a quick 5 points in doing so. However, Wales only got themselves 5 tries, to the 3 scored by Canada and will have to up their game, as they tackle Australia next.

The sixth match was one many rugby fans were eagerly anticipating. The match between South Africa and Samoa was always thought of as a hard battle. The strong and heavy hitting Samoans have a reputation for their toughness and have put many an over eager adversary off the field through injury. The springboks are supposed to have been thoroughly prepared for this competition and are vaunted as likely winners of the cup. However, the Springboks looked nervous and took a full 20 minutes to get into the game. Only in the second half, did they start performing better and ran in 8 tries to Samoa's one. The end result was 59 - 7, but at half time, it still seemed that Samoa would be a very real challenge. Brian Lima, for the Samoans, made history, as the first player to have participated in the last 5 World Cup Rugby Competitions. Unfortunately he was not on the field for long, as a Kamikaze type tackle on Andre Pretorius, left him concussed and dazed. Jean de Villiers also left the field, with a torn bicep muscle and some bruised ribs. This is expected to keep him out of any further participation in the tournament. Anyway SA looked more settled and more clinical in the last 20 minutes and emerged victorious with a well deserved haul of 5 points.

Seventh on the fixture list was the match between Scotland and Portugal, where Scotland again, appeared to be far too strong, for the Portuguese and scored 7 tries, to 1. The Scots won by 56 - 10 and claimed 5 points for the win.

The eighth match and the last for the weekend was the clash between Ireland, playing the relatively minnow team from Namibia. The Irish won 32 - 17. I personally thought they would win by a far greater margin, but they took their deserved 5 points. Ireland managed 5 tries and Namibia got 2.

Ninth, on the fixture list, was the game between Georgia and Argentina, in their second game, since beating France. Argentina were far too good, for lowly Georgia and won the match by 33 - 3 with 4 tries, to nil.

The next match, the tenth game of the Rugby World Cup 2007, was USA vs Tonga. Tonga are a tough outfit, like Samoa and it was no surprise that they beat the US, by 25 - 15.

Next on the fixture list, was the match between Fiji and Japan. This was also pretty much a pre determined outcome, with Fiji winning, by 35 - 31, but Japan fought valiantly.

Next up, in the twelfth match, were Italy and Romania. The Italians are a feisty bunch and took the honours, with a score of 24 - 18.

The 13 th match, in the Rugby World Cup, and obviously a lucky 13, for the Springboks, was the much awaited clash, between South Africa and defending champions, England. This was the match, where England could have buried the Springbok's hopes of reaching the finals. With Jonny Wilkinson, not fit, to play for England, this was a major blow, to their chances, but as luck would have it, the Springboks had troubles of their own. A late citing, of top player and great flanker, Schalk Burger, for a supposed dangerous tackle, on a Samoan player, saw him banned for 4 matches. This was a terrific blow to the South Africans, who had already a lost play maker, in inside centre, Jean de Villiers, to injury and unfortunately also lost Pierre Spies, before they even arrived in France. An appeal against the suspension, saw the punishment reduced to 2 matches, but this still meant that Burger was out for the all important match against England, as well as the match against Tonga, on the 22nd of September.

The Springboks took charge of the game from the opening minutes and even with a narrowly missed try, still went into the break, with a commanding score of 20 - 0. After half time, they continued their strong attacks and rock solid defence, to completely shut England out of the game. Even when the whole bench got a run, in the last quarter, they managed to keep up the high standard of play. In all South Africa had a wonderful game, England never looked dangerous and the ref controlled the game very well. The final score was 36 - 0 and South Africa claimed another 5 points.

So, at the end of the first week and after 13 matches, we have the pools looking like this:

Pool A : South Africa 10, England 4, Tonga 4, Samoa 0, USA 0, Pool B : Australia 5, Wales 5, Fiji 5, Japan 1, Canada 0, Pool C : New Zealand 5, Scotland 5, Italy 4, Romania 1, Portugal 0, Pool D : Argentina 9, Ireland 5, France 1, Namibia 0, Georgia 0

By the way, one thing worth mentioning here, is the position of the so called minnow teams. Someone asked me, the other day, why some countries even bother to enter. Did you know that no country just enters their name on the list and they are not pulled out of a hat. They all need to qualify and they have to play so many games and win so many, in order to qualify. For the last 2 years, these little boys have been fighting it out, at the bottom of the log and those who have done best, then become eligible for the world Cup tournament. So, although they might seem insignificant, they have sufficient match time and enough wins, to qualify themselves for this tournament.

rwc 2007 photos
A basic overview of the rules of rugby.
Rugby fights

Rugby fights - sport for men

NZ v GB II Fight

rugby league BRL 1980 - The famous 1980 GF brawl
The Norths Devils won the fight and the game to shock favourites, the Souths Magpies, in the 1980 Grand Final at Lang Park. Stars of this brawl were Rossy Henrick, Mal Meninga and his mate Peter Dutton and of course the great Campbell 'Zulu' Dews. Souths winger Gary Thompson was the poor unfortunate soul to cop the Angry Ant's (Henrick's) flying right hook. The Devils won their first grand final since 1969 with this memorable 17-15 win. Norths were coached by Kiwi Graham Lowe and Souths' coach was the legendary Bob McCarthy.

Play rugby !!! it's a sport for men !!

Rugby union's greatest tackles
RWC 07 All Blacks Haka v Scotland
A basic overview of the rules of rugby.

Rugby World Cup 1987, 1991,1995

Clips from the 87, 91, 95 Rugby world cups.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Canada v Japan (12-12)

Japan scored a controversial injury-time try to snatch a draw in their battle with Canada to avoid Pool B's wooden spoon at the Rugby World Cup.
Koji Taira touched down deep into overtime after referee Jonathan Kaplan refused to halt the game with Canada leading 12-5.

Tries from Pat Riordan and Dth van der Merwe had seen the Canucks overturn a half-time deficit inflicted by Kosuke Endo's brilliant solo score.

The result helped Japan avoid their 14th successive defeat in World Cups, and denied Canada the chance to maintain their record of posting a win in every tournament for which they have qualified.

Japan started with great intensity and Canada needed some stout defending to keep them out in the opening minutes.

But just when they were starting to get a foothold in the game, Canada were undone by Endo's superb individual try.

After Japan stole the ball at the lineout, the wing steamrollered his way through the first line of defence before shrugging off another attempted tackle and touching down.

Shotaro Onishi missed the conversion.

Japan spent almost all of the remainder of the half on the back foot as Canada set up camp in their half of the field.

They lacked the power or penetration to break through and with just over five minutes of the half remaining, hooker Pat Riordan was sin-binned for stamping.

With the half-time whistle looming, Canada came agonisingly close to levelling but Japan produced a series of last-gasp tackles on their own tryline.

Canada unusually elected to stay out on the pitch at half-time and the tactic appeared to pay off.

Seven minutes into the second half and their forward power finally told as Riordan returned from his 10-minute expulsion to eventually finish off after a succession of rolling mauls.

James Pritchard failed with the conversion to keep the scores level.

Japan decided to take a leaf out of their opponents' book, using their forwards to inch ever nearer the Canada line.

Even when they won a penalty, they opted to kick to touch to maintain the pressure, but it came to nothing.

It was becoming single-tactic match, with Canada's forwards again attempting the pushover try.

One effort was referred to the television match official but it was rightly denied.

Morgan Williams finally put an end to the monotony by tapping and kicking a penalty crossfield to Van der Merwe for the easiest of touchdowns. Pritchard made no mistake with the conversion.

As Canada did in the first half, Japan piled on the pressure late on but they appeared to have failed to get the try they needed when the ball went for alineout in stoppage-time.

But Kaplan played on and Japan poured forward again, Taira eventually touching down in the corner.

Onishi kicked the conversion from out wide to spark jubilant celebrations among the Japanese players.

Japan (5) 12
Tries: Endo, Taira
Cons: Onishi

Canada (0) 12
Tries: Riordan, Van der Merwe
Cons: Pritchard

Canada: Pyke, Van der Merwe, Culpan, Spicer, Pritchard, Smith, Williams, Snow, Riordan, Thiel, Burak, James, Yukes, Kleeberger, Carpenter.

Replacements: M. Pletch, D. Pletch, Franklin, Jackson, Webb, Fairhurst, Mensah-Coker.

Aruga, Endo, Imamura, Onishi, Loamanu, Robins, Yoshida, Nishiura, Matsubara, Soma, H. Ono, Thompson, Makiri, O'Reilly, Miuchi.

Replacements: Inokuchi, Yamamura, Vatuvei, Kiso, Kim, Taira, Onozawa.

Referee: J Kaplan (South Africa)


RWC07 photos

© Scanpix

Rugby fights
Rugby World Cup 2007 Preview

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Argentina v Namibia

Argentina v Namibia

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 22: Heino Senekal of Namibia rises to win the ball during Match Twenty Six of the Rugby World Cup 2007 between Argentina and Namibia at the Stade Velodrome on September 22, 2007 in Marseille, France.


Rugby England VS Australia [World Cup Final 2003]

The last few minuets of the rugby world cup final 2003!

Rugby world cup 2003 semifinal New Zealand v Australian
Rugby world cup 2003 semifinal England v France

Australian Rugby Union Tries over the past few years

Australian Rugby Union Tries over the past few years

All black players and video game :)

Piri Weepu & Keven Mealamu go at it against each other for a one on one video game contest to see who is the champion.

Brilliant All Black team try v Scotland (2005 Grand Slam Tour)

Nick Evans starts off with a beautiful line-break. His pace, combined with some superb support play from the forwards gets them over halfway. From there, more Evans brilliance and some juggling skills results in a try for Lauaki.

This is from the 2005 Grand Slam Tour.

Try by All Blacks Doug Howlett - rwc07
Rugby union's greatest tackles
Rugby fights

Friday, September 21, 2007

Scotland v New Zealand (Sun 23rd Sep 2007, 16:00)

Unheralded All Blacks flanker Chris Masoe gets a rare taste of the rugby big time when he starts on the blindside flank ahead of a resting Jerry Collins in Monday morning's (NZ time) World Cup test against Scotland.

Veterans Reuben Thorne and Anton Oliver have also been handed starts in the forward pack while centre Conrad Smith and right winger Doug Howlett win key selection battles in what is close to the strongest New Zealand team.

Just three players who started in the 108-13 thrashing of Portugal in Lyon last weekend have been retained -- Masoe, Smith and lock Williams, who will become the only player to begin all three pool matches.

More significantly, there are only four changes from the side who opened the campaign with a 76-14 win over Italy in Marseille -- with Smith, Masoe, Thorne and Oliver introduced.

All of Masoe's eight previous starts have been on the openside flank but he will wear No 6 in a highly mobile loose forward trio alongside captain Richie McCaw and No 8 Rodney So'oialo.

Samoan-born Masoe has been regarded as an impact player and backup to McCaw since his debut two years ago.

His biggest starting assignment was probably against England at Twickenham when McCaw was injured on the 2005 Grand Slam tour.

Former captain Thorne will make his first appearance of the tournament at lock, having missed the opening two matches with a hamstring strain.

The absence of he and lock Keith Robinson, who is still battling a calf strain, has stretched the All Blacks' resources and coach Graham Henry was clearly keen to see Jack and Collins given a break after starting in each of the first two games.

While those two selections are about managing players' welfare, more significant could be Oliver's selection ahead of Keven Mealamu as the starting hooker.

In fact Mealamu, who is one cap short of 50 tests, hasn't even made the reserve bench, with that role filled by Andrew Hore.

It had appeared Mealamu was on track to regain the first-choice hooking role at this tournament, a position held down by Oliver for much of 2007.

However, Henry has gone back to his stronger scrummaging option this week, possibly in response to the rusty start to the tournament of the All Blacks scrum.

Carl Hayman will pack down at prop, despite missing some elements of training early this week with a bruised calf.

Out wide, Howlett and Sitiveni Sivivatu have again denied the claims of Joe Rokocoko, who looked electric in his two-try performance against Portugal.

Smith gets another crack at securing centre, with his main rival Isaia Toeava on the reserve bench.

The other centre option, Mils Muliaina, is out this week nursing a hamstring strain.

That, in turn, guaranteed Leon MacDonald the fullback berth and he will play his 50th test.

Yesterday McCaw said the team to face Scotland would nearly resemble the side earmarked for the quarterfinals onwards.

"I'm picking this week will be fairly close to it. A few injuries here and there might change things as we go on," he said.

"It's been the case for a while, there's quite a few positions in this team that are a bit of a flip of the coin in terms of who plays."

New Zealand; MacDonald; Howlett, Smith, McAlister, Sivivatu; Carter, Kelleher; Woodcock, Oliver, Hayman, Thorne, Williams, Masoe, McCaw (capt), So'oialo.

Replacements: Hore, Tialata, Jack, Lauaki, Leonard, Evans, Toeava.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Italy v Portugal (31 - 5)

Italy's stuttering World Cup campaign showed no sign of improvement tonight as they struggled to an unconvincing Pool C win over brave Portugal at the Parc des Princes.

The Italians ran in just three tries against the amateurs, centre Andrea Masi scoring one in each half and flanker Mauro Bergamasco adding the other.

David Bortolussi kicked four penalties and two conversions but the Azzurri were sloppy and directionless, especially in the second half, and did not even claim a bonus point.

Portugal delighted a Parisian crowd of more than 45,000 with a try of their own in the first half, through lock David Penalva, and they battled gamely in only their third World Cup match.

On this showing, Scotland - who meet Italy in what is set to be a winner-takes-all match in St Etienne on Saturday week - have nothing to worry about.

The last game between the two sides saw Italy race to an 83-0 win in a World Cup qualifier last October, but this match was - somewhat unexpectedly - a genuine contest.

Masi's fourth-minute try came after Italy had started like a train.

The forwards laid the platform with phase after phase of possession, before the ball was fired out by fly-half Roland de Marigny to Masi, who scorched through a midfield gap to ground under the posts. Bortolussi converted.

A seventh minute yellow card to captain Marco Bortolami, for punching, momentarily took the wind out of the Italians' sails.

But they still held the whip hand and the lead was added to by Bortolussi penalties in the 17th minute and 29th minutes.

Italian errors soon surfaced, though, and after camping themselves in the Portugal half, the Azzurri were hit with a sucker-punch in the 33rd minute.

In Portugal's first meaningful attack, Duarte Pinto made deep inroads into the heart of the Italian defence, before the ball was recycled out to the right wing where Penalva was on hand to receive Diogo Gama's clever pass and dive over.

Pinto missed the conversion, and Bortolussi booted a late penalty to stretch Italy's lead to just 16-5 by the interval.

The Italians were simply dreadful in the second half.

The rising error count would have been alarming for coach Pierre Berbizier, and Portugal were by no means blown away.

Indeed, their line-out functioned well and some of their rare forays into Italian territory brought rounds of applause from the Parc des Princes public.

Italy were resorting to Bortolussi penalties to keep the Portuguese at arm's length, and he added his fourth in the 63rd minute.

They grabbed their second try, in the 73rd minute, when Bergamasco plundered over following a 10-yard rolling maul while Masi added his second after running onto de Marigny's chip over the defence.

But it did not stop Portugal celebrating at the final whistle.

Italy: (16) 31
Tries: Masi 2, Mauro Bergamasco
Cons: Bortolussi 2
Pens: Bortolussi 4

Portugal: (5) 5
Try: Penalva

Italy: Bortolussi, Canavosio, Canale, Masi, Pratichetti, de Marigny, Troncon, Lo Cicero, Ghiraldini, Castrogiovanni, del Fava, Bortolami, Parisse, M. Bergamasco, Vosawai.

Replacements: Ongaro, Aguero, Perugini, Bernabo, Orlando, Griffen, Galon.

Portugal: Cabral, D. Mateus, Sousa, D. Mateus, Aguilar, D. Pinto, J. Pinto, Cordeiro, Correia, Spachuck, G. Uva, Penalva, Girao, J. Uva, V. Uva.

Replacements: Mure, Da Silva, Figueiredo, Murinello, Pissarra, Gama, Foro.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Rugby world cup 2007 Results (14-16 sep)

Fri 14 Sep 21:00 RWC-PA England 0 - 36 South Africa
Sat 15 Sep 13:00 RWC-PC New Zealand 108 - 13 Portugal
Sat 15 Sep 15:00 RWC-PB Wales 20 - 32 Australia
Sat 15 Sep 21:00 RWC-PD Ireland 14 - 10 Georgia
Sun 16 Sep 14:00 RWC-PB Fiji 29 - 16 Canada
Sun 16 Sep 16:00 RWC-PA Samoa 15 - 19 Tonga
Sun 16 Sep 21:00 RWC-PD France 87 - 10 Namibia

Rugby World Cup Fixtures (18-23 sep)

Tue 18 Sep 21:00 RWC-PC Scotland vs Romania
Wed 19 Sep 20:00 RWC-PC Italy vs Portugal
Thu 20 Sep 21:00 RWC-PB Wales vs Japan
Fri 21 Sep 21:00 RWC-PD France vs Ireland
Sat 22 Sep 14:00 RWC-PA SA vs Tonga
Sat 22 Sep 16:00 RWC-PA England vs Samoa
Sat 22 Sep 21:00 RWC-PD Argentina vs Namibia
Sun 23 Sep 14:30 RWC-PB Australia vs Fiji
Sun 23 Sep 17:00 RWC-PC Scotland vs New Zealand

Haka - New Zealand v Tonga

Haka - Tonga v Samoa

Haka - Tonga VS Samoa 2007 Rugby World Cup.

And you can read about: The History of the Haka

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rugby world cup 2007 Fixtures

Pool A
Pool B
Pool C
Pool D

14 September:
England v South Africa, Stade de France, Pool A - 21:00

15 September:
New Zealand v Portugal, Lyon, Pool C - 13:00
Wales v Australia, Cardiff, Pool B - 15:00
Ireland v Georgia, Bordeaux, Pool D - 21:00

16 September:
Fiji v Canada, Cardiff, Pool B - 14:00
Samoa v Tonga, Montpellier, Pool A - 16:00
France v Namibia, Toulouse, Pool D - 21:00

18 September:
Scotland v Romania, Edinburgh, Pool C - 21:00

19 September:
Italy v Portugal, Parc des Princes, Pool C - 20:00

20 September:
Wales v Japan, Cardiff, Pool B - 21:00

21 September:
France v Ireland , Stade de France, Pool D - 21:00

22 September:
South Africa v Tonga, Lens, Pool A - 14:00
England v Samoa, Nantes, Pool A - 16:00
Argentina v Namibia, Marseille, Pool D - 21:00

23 September:
Australia v Fiji, Montpellier, Pool B - 14:30
Scotland v New Zealand, Edinburgh, Pool C - 17:00

25 September:
Canada v Japan, Bordeaux, Pool B - 18:00
Romania v Portugal, Toulouse, Pool C - 20:00

26 September:
Georgia v Namibia, Lens, Pool D - 18:00
Samoa v USA, St Etienne, Pool A - 20:00

28 September:
England v Tonga, Parc des Princes, Pool A - 21:00

29 September:
New Zealand v Romania, Toulouse, Pool C - 13:00
Australia v Canada, Bordeaux, Pool B - 15:00
Wales v Fiji, Nantes, Pool B - 17:00
Scotland v Italy, St Etienne, Pool C - 21:00

30 September:
France v Georgia, Marseille, Pool D - 15:00
Ireland v Argentina, Parc des Princes, Pool D - 17:00
South Africa v USA, Montpellier, Pool A - 20:00

6 October:
QF1: W Pool B v RU Pool A, Marseille - 15:00
QF2: W Pool C v RU Pool D, Cardiff - 21:00

7 October:
QF3: W Pool A v RU Pool B, Marseille - 15:00
QF4: W Pool D v RU Pool C, Stade de France - 21:00

13 October:
SF1: W QF1 v W QF2, Stade de France - 21:00

14 October:
SF2: W QF3 v W QF4, Stade de France - 21:00

19 October:
3rd place play-off, Parc des Princes - 21:00

20 October:
Final, Stade de France - 21:00

RWC07 Key players

England - Jonny Wilkinson
It is a bit obvious. The man who helped them to win the World Cup in 2003 - with that sweetly struck drop-goal in extra-time - is back. Even when he is not playing, Wilkinson features in more headlines than most other players and that is because he is such an important part of the England set-up. It may be an illusion, but one gets the impression that England have no real chance at the World Cup without him - as was evident during a succession of injuries that sidelined him from international duty for much of the past four years.

South Africa - Fourie du Preez
Yes, there are other world-class players like Schalk Burger and Victor Matfield that will have the spotlight focused on them. And they are indeed important cogs in the system. However, the important decisions will be made behind the pack, which is why Du Preez is the key to the Springbok campaign. With question marks remaining over the ability of fly-halves André Pretorius and Butch James to stay injury-free, Du Preez will be called upon to dictate terms from scrum-half with his educated boot and take the pressure off SA's outside backs and keep that gargantuan pack going forward.

Samoa - Alesana Tuilagi
The Tuilagi brothers - Anitelia, Alesana, Henry and Freddie - have earned cult status at Leicester Tigers, but it is Alesana that has earned the biggest wraps from his peers. He is regarded as Samoa's version of All Blacks megastar Jonah Lomu and rightly so. Whether Tuilagi will have the same impact as Lomu did at the 1995 World Cup remains to be seen, but he is likely to show why he is already a household name in the northern hemisphere. All three Tuilagis will feature in the tournament - Alesana on the wing, Anitelia in the midfield and Henry at No.8.

USA - Mike Hercus
At 28 he could be regarded as a veteran, but he Hercus made his debut for the US Eagles against Scotland in 2002 only. The former Sale Sharks fly-half has scored nine tries and an American record 361 points in his 31 Tests in five years. He got his rugby grounding when he went to school in Sydney, Australia, where he began playing rugby at age six. He has also played for Llanelli Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons, before returning to America to join Belmont Shore in the US semi-pro league.

Tonga - Otenili Langilangi

Better known as Nili Latu, southern hemisphere fans will know him from playing for the Hurricanes in the Super 14, but in his role as Tongan team captain, he has now reverted to his Pacific Islands name of Langilangi. This dynamic 25-year-old flanker was given the nickname 'The Tongan Torpedo' in New Zealand and captained his country in the Pacific Nations Cup tournament this year, after making his debut last year against Japan. He has also represented NZ U19 and NZ Secondary Schools, before opting to play for Tonga.

Australia - Stephen Larkham
You can pick any one of four players - George Gregan, Stephen Larkham, Matt Giteau and Stirling Mortlock. However, the one we feel will have the biggest influence is Larkham. Not surprising then that coach John Connolly is considering placing his 33-year-old fly-half in cotton-wool. In the pool stages he will face Wales, while his real tournament will begin when the play-offs start. With 101 Tests this is in his final international season, but his classic ball-running and passing abilities still make him one of the game's premier fly-halves.

Fiji - Netani Talei
The 24-year-old flanker - who can play at lock as well - epitomises what Fijian forwards are all about; maybe not as monstrous as those produced by South, Africa, New Zealand, France or England, but certainly a lot more athletic. Talei has grown steadily to become Fiji's best utility back row forward; blending size and athleticism, which allows him to play anywhere in the back row. Although relatively inexperienced, the powerhouse flanker's talents have been recognised and he has signed a one-year deal with Worcester.

Canada - Morgan Williams
As Canada's captain he is one of only a handful of professional rugby players in the side. The 31-year-old scrum-half has 51 caps and is a veteran of the 1999 and 2003 World Cups. Canada's star of the '99 Rugby World Cup, Williams scored two tries against France and one against Namibia. Williams has played professionally with Bordeaux-Begles (1999/2000 season), Stade Français (2000-02 and 2006) and Saracens (2002-05).

Japan - Daisuke Ohata
Another Rugby World Cup veteran, 30-year-old Daisuke scored three tries for Japan against Georgia in May of last year, in doing so breaking the world record for tries in Test matches previously held by Wallaby ace David Campese. Ohata has now scored 69 tries for his country in 55 games. He usually plays at wing and sometimes centre, for Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers in the Japanese Top League. He made his name internationally as a speedy ace in the IRB World Sevens Series, and is now a regular member of the Japan national 15-man side.

New Zealand - Dan Carter
There are two key names in the All Blacks squad, first five-eighth Dan Carter and openside star Richie McCaw. The latter is the captain and generally regarded as the best openside flank in the world and his leadership and abilities at the breakdown are crucial to New Zealand's cause. But, for all McCaw's strengths, it is Carter who will be pulling the major strings for the All Blacks at the World Cup. The 25-year-old is generally regarded as the world's premier number 10 and his 636 points in 41 Tests are evidence of his value to the side.

Scotland - Chris Paterson
Having often played at full-back or wing, where he started out, Paterson is also more than comfortable at fly-half. One of the best running backs in world rugby with explosive pace and deceptive strength, he is also a world-class goal-kicker and is closing in on former skipper Gavin Hastings's national points record of 667. There is still a debate whether he will serve his country best at No.15 or No.10, but for now it appears the 64-Test veteran will be the first choice fly-half at the World Cup.

Italy - Alessandro Troncon
The influential scrum-half, who has made more Test appearances than any other player in Italian history, has well over 90 caps to his name and is about to embark on his fourth World Cup campaign having played in 10 matches in total at the 1995, 1999 and 2003 tournaments. If all goes well, the 33-year-old could reach the magical 100 appearances in the Pool C match against Portugal on September 19 after being recalled to the Azzurri in time for the 2007 Six Nations where he helped Italy beat Wales and Scotland.

Romania - Petru Balan

If there is one thing the Romanian team has brought to previous World Cups it is powerhouse props - men who could scrum against the best. Balan - 2003 RWC 'veteran' - is one of those, with the 31-year-old currently plying his trade for Biarritz Olympique in the French Top 14 competition, having initially represented Dinamo-Bucuresti in Romania. He also played for FC Grenoble in the 2002/03 Challenge Cup and European Shield competitions and moved to Biarritz for the 2003/04 season.

Portugal - Pedro Leal
When Portugal first made their mark on the IRB Sevens circuit it was through classy running backs like Leal, who is now also a regular in the Portuguese 15-man side - which will be the only amateur side at the World Cup. He has 20 Test caps for Portugal and plays at full-back for the national side. He is widely considered Portugal's best player on the Sevens circuit, where he has scored over 40 tries on the IRB Sevens circuit.

France - Yannick Jauzion
This 29-year-old French midfielder is a key player behind Toulouse's and France's recent achievements. He was a member of the Toulouse team that reached the Heineken Cup Final in 2003, '04 and '05 - and was named as the Man of the Match in the 2005 Heineken Cup Final as Toulouse defeated Stade Français. He earned his first national cap against South Africa in 2001 and played in France's Grand Slam-
winning team of 2002 and 2004. He missed the 2006 6N, but played all the matches during the '07 Six Nations Championship that France won.

Ireland - Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll is the best outside centre in the world, which was highlighted by the huge fuss surrounding the facial injury he suffered against Bayonne in a warm-up match - the injury coming courtesy of a punch from lock Mikaera Tewhata. While it is indicative of Ireland's strength in depth that several of their squad could be key to their success, the talismanic midfielder, who is known as 'BOD', still remains their key man. It has become a mantra mainly from Irish supporters that without 'BOD', the Irish are three men down.

Argentina - Juan Martin Hernández

Whilst veteran scrum-half and captain Agustín Pichot - set to take part in his fourth World Cup - is Argentina's most recognisable player, pundits are looking to Hernández to make the biggest impact in France. He currently plays for the French club Stade Français and is a utility back - capable of playing fly-half, centre, or full-back, which has seen many clubs throw generous amounts of money at him. Hernández generally prefers fly-half, but he is likely to be utilised mostly at full-back this year.

Georgia - Goderdzi Shvelidze

Georgia might be considered easy-beats at the World Cup, but their set-piece, with Goderdzi Shvelidze at the fore, is a key, and successful, aspect of their game. The 29-year-old Rustavi-born hooker is back for his second World Cup campaign, having been part of his team's 2003 effort in Australia. An experienced front rower, who used to play prop, Shvelidze plays his club rugby for Clermont Auvergne where his powerful scrummaging and ball-in-hand abilities have seen him develop into a key man.

Namibia - Kees Lensing

It says a lot for his ability that he was once rated as a possible Springbok prop - but by the time he reached that level, Lensing had already laid down his marker with Namibia. He now captains them and the 29-year-old prop forward is not only a leadership figure, but his experience - with the Bulls and Sharks in the Super 14 competition - will be crucial for his team at the World Cup. Lensing, who starred for Namibia at the 2003 RWC, has also played for Leeds Tykes in the English Premiership and at 125kg is a serious chunk of African beef at loosehead prop.

England v South Africa
South Africa v Argentina (37-13)
England v France (14-9)

England vs South Africa

England rugby team
World Cup holders England take on South Africa in a crunch Pool A clash at the Stade de France on Friday night.
Andy Farrell will play the biggest game of his Rugby Union career on Friday night when he lines up at fly-half in the World Cup showdown against South Africa.
South Africa rugby team

Remarkably, it will be Farrell's first senior game of Rugby Union in the number 10 shirt since he switched codes to join Saracens. Farrell has been promoted to the starting line-up after Olly Barkley was ruled out because of a hip injury.

With Jonny Wilkinson battling to recover from an ankle ligament sprain, England head coach Brian Ashton has taken the decision to go with Farrell.

Barkley, comfortably England's best player against the United States in Lens last Saturday, underwent a scan yesterday after being injured in training.

The problem is with his left hip, and England plan to issue a further medical update next Tuesday.

With skipper Phil Vickery sidelined because of a two-match suspension, Leicester flanker Martin Corry will take over as captain against the

Matt Stevens moves off the bench to replace Vickery, with Perry Freshwater joining the substitutes.

England have also announced that after careful consideration they will not appeal Vickery's suspension, which means he is ruled out of the pool games against South Africa on Friday and Samoa in Nantes next week.

If, as expected, England lose to South Africa, then they will effectively crash out of the World Cup if they follow that performance up with another defeat against Samoa.

Ashton, meanwhile, has finalised the replacements' bench for the South Africa clash, with Peter Richards joining his fellow scrum-half Andy Gomarsall on the bench, together with Newcastle's Mathew Tait, who has recovered from illness.

England's World Cup campaign is in danger of total melt-down, given the injury and disciplinary problems they have encountered just 10 days after arriving in France.

It is a huge ask for Farrell, whose Union career has been stalled by injury problems, to lead their victory bid against a South African side that is ranked among the tournament favourites.

Ashton could have summoned a replacement from his stand-by list to join the squad, but at this stage both Barkley and Wilkinson are being given more time to prove their fitness ahead of further challenges.

Springboks coach Jake White believes his squad can put the Schalk Burger saga to one side and maintain their concentration for Friday night's crucial clash against England.

The Springboks are set to appeal flanker Burger's four-match ban tomorrow morning.
He was suspended after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Samoa scrum-half Junior Polu during last Sunday's Pool A encounter in Paris.

As things stand, Burger will miss remaining pool appointments with England, Tonga and the United States, plus a potential quarter-final against Wales or Australia in Marseille.

White said: ``We are not happy about the decision, we will appeal it.

``Of course I was shocked. You lose a player like Schalk Burger, you get told at one o'clock in the morning after the hearing, and it is not something that you take without being shocked about it.''

Regarding the appeal, White added: ``We will concentrate on the rugby aspects, and the legal team will concentrate on the legal aspects.

``Hopefully, we can get some more clarity before the kick-off on Friday.

``To be fair, I don't think they can (get an appeal result) before Friday. That would be a real blessing, but it is in their hands.

``Schalk is not happy, I mean the guy is still relatively young, and he wants to play as much as he can.

``I want to make it quite clear though, that we are a squad of 30 players.

``The one thing I am totally confident of is that this group of players have been through enough adversity within the last four years to be able to rise to another challenge.''

South Africa have also lost centre Jean de Villiers from their plans after he suffered a tournament-ending bicep injury during the Samoa encounter.

But England are in even more disarray, with captain Phil Vickery banned, while both goalkicking fly-halves Olly Barkley and Jonny Wilkinson are sidelined through injury.

Springboks prop Os du Randt said: ``We have always said this is the one game that we need to win to put us on the right track.

``It is a very important match, so we just have to go out there and play the best we can.

``It is always bad to lose Schalk, but we played without him last year. We have a guy like Wickus (van Heerden) coming into his place that will do really well.

``I don't think you will ever substitute Schalk, but we will just have to cope with that and do the best we can.''

Centre Wynand Olivier added: ``Obviously it was a big shock for us. We didn't think Schalk was going to get four weeks, especially after Jean de Villiers got injured as well, so it was a big blow.

``We are a good squad of 30 guys, and we have been training together for the last two or three years, and I think someone can slot in Schalk's place and maybe do the same job.

``But we are definitely going to miss Schalk because he is a world-class player.''

Blue Bulls flanker Wickus van Heerden will replaced the banned Burger against England in Paris on Friday night, while Francois Steyn takes over at inside
centre instead of de Villiers.

Natal prop BJ Botha starts ahead of CJ van der Linde, who has to be content with a place on the bench, where he is joined by 31-year-old former Springboks skipper Bob Skinstad.

Match Facts:
- The countries have met on 28 occasions - South Africa lead the series 15-12, with one draw.

- England's record win over the Springboks was a 53-3 victory at Twickenham in 2002, while South Africa boast a best of 58-10 in Bloemfontein earlier this year.

- England's last World Cup defeat came during the 1999 tournament - a quarter-final loss to South Africa in Paris.

- England need 15 points on Friday to reach 1,000 in World Cups, a milestone only previously reached by New Zealand and Australia.

- South Africa have only lost one pool game in their World Cup history - against England in Perth four years ago.

- Wing Jason Robinson's try against the United States in Lens last Saturday was England's 100th World Cup touchdown.

- England have only won four games away from Twickenham since the 2003 World Cup final, succeeding in Rome (twice), Edinburgh and Lens.

- England and South Africa have both lost key players through suspension for Friday's game - England captain Phil Vickery and Springboks flanker Schalk Burger.

- South Africa have won their last three Test matches against England.

- Defeat for England on Friday would effectively leave them needing to beat Samoa next week to stay in the tournament. No Rugby World Cup holder has previously exited at the pool stage.

South Africa: P Montgomery; J P Pietersen, J Fourie, F Steyn, B Habana; B James, F du Preez; O du Randt, J Smit (capt), B J Botha, B Botha, V Matfield, W van Heerden, J Smith, D Rossouw.

Replacements: B du Plessis, C J van der Linde, J Muller, B Skinstad, R Pienaar, A Pretorius, W Olivier.

England: J Robinson (unattached); J Lewsey (Wasps), J Noon (Newcastle), M Catt (London Irish), P Sackey (Wasps); A Farrell (Saracens), S Perry (Bristol); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), M Regan (Bristol), M Stevens (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), B Kay (Leicester), M Corry (Leicester, capt), T Rees (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: G Chuter (Leicester), P Freshwater (Perpignan), S Borthwick (Bath), L Moody (Leicester), A Gomarsall (Harlequins), P Richards (London Irish). M Tait (Newcastle).

A basic overview of the rules of rugby.


Drop kick: A kick made when the player drops the ball and it bounces off the ground prior to being kicked. Worth three points if it travels through the goalposts. Drop kicks are also used to restart play after a score.

Forward pass: A violation that usually results in a scrum to the defending team.

Infringement: A violation of a law.

Knock on: The accidental hitting or dropping of the ball forward. The infringement is the same as that for a forward pass: a scrum to the other team.

Non-Contact Rugby: A Version of rugby designated to introduce the game to first time players (touch rugby). Two hand-tag replaces the tackle.

Penalties: Penalties occur regularly in rugby. Unlike other sports, there typically aren't yardage penalties and only occasionally do teams have to play short handed. Instead, the non-offending team is usually awarded a choice to kick the ball to gain field advantage. Some of the more important penalties are listed below:

Penalty Kick: Awarded after a serious infringement of the law. Offenders are required to retreat 10 yards while the opposing team is given the opportunity to restart play unopposed. Teams will often kick the ball up field and out of bounds to gain field advantage. When they do this, play is restarted as a lineout where the ball goes out of bounds. If in range, they may attempt a kick at the goal posts, worth three points. Finally, they may simply tap the ball with their foot and run with it.

Free Kick: This is awarded after a less serious infringement of the law. The free kick is similar to the penalty kick except a player cannot attempt a kick at goal to try to score three points. A player must restart with a tap kick or attempt to kick the ball out of bounds. If the kick is made from in front of the 22 meters (25 yards) line and goes directly out of bounds, the lineout occurs back where the kick was first kicked. If the ball bounces out of bounds, or if the kick was taken from behind the 22 meter (25 yards) line the resulting lineout is where the ball crossed the touch line.

Sin Bin: On occasion, the referee will send a player to the Sin Bin (behind one of the in goal areas) for a specified period of time, for serious and/or repeated infringements. The team is required to play short-handed until the referee permits the player to return. This penalty is fairly rare, but used by the referees to maintain control of the game.

Send-Offs: In extreme cases a referee may send a player off the field for dangerous or reckless play. A player who has been sent off is banned from that game and is not permitted to return or be replaced.

Put in: Rolling the ball down the center of the scrum tunnel by the Scrum Half.

Sevens: An abbreviated game of rugby that follows the same laws except a 7's team consists of only seven players and each half is seven minutes long. Much like a game of three-on-three full court basketball, it's a wide-open contest. Because of its wide-open style of play, the Seven's version of rugby is a very entertaining game to watch.

Set piece: A term for scrums and lineouts because these are the only choreographed plays of the game.

Support players: Players who position themselves to increase the ball transfer options of the ball carrier.
Tap and play kick/ move: A gentle kick to oneself, followed by a pick up, used to restart play after either a penalty or free kick is awarded.

Throw in: Throwing the ball down the middle of a lineout.

Touchline: The side boundary of the field (sideline).

Try line: The end boundary of the field (goal line).

22-Meter line: Is a line 22 meters (25 yards) from the try line. If a kick is made from behind the "22", the opposing team gets a lineout where the ball went out of bounds. If the kick was made in front of the "22", the resulting lineout is from the point of the kick if the ball goes directly out of bounds.

Rugby sport for men
Rugby World Cup 2007 (first week review)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rugby World Cup BBC Radio 5 live

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Rugby World Cup BBC Radio 5 live
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Rugby - Not a Sport for the Weak!
RWC07 Key players

Tonga, Fiji and Italy win - RWC07

In the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Tonga started their campaign with a 15-25 win over the United States. Fiji won their opening match by four points in a close contest against Japan.

Romania, playing their first match of the tournament, led Italy just after half time but eventually fell to a 24-18 defeat.

USA vs Tonga
United States: 15 - Tonga: 25

In Pool A, Tonga raced to an early lead after Finau Maka scored a try in the second minute and Pierre Hola added the conversion. However the United States pinned them back for most of the first half with Pierre Hola scoring just two penalties for Tonga, giving them a 13-0 lead. Shortly before half time Mike Hercus scored a penalty for the United States to take the score to 13-3 at the interval.

The Americans controlled the game for much of the second half. Mike MacDonald scored a try for the Americans to pull the score back to 13-8, but Tonga hit back with a try from Joseph Vaka. Louis Stanfill scored a try to close the gap to three points, but Viliami Vaki scored with ten minutes remaining to claim the victory for Tonga.

The win takes Tonga to third place in Pool A with four points, behind South Africa with five and England on points difference. The United Stated have no points from two defeats.
USA: Wyles, Sika, Emerick, Esikia, Ngwenya, Hercus, Erskine, MacDonald, Lentz, Osentowski, Parker, Mangan, Stanfill, Clever, Bloomfield.
Replacements: Burdette, Moeakiola, Mexted, Basauri, Petri, Malifa, Tuipulotu.

Tonga: V Lilo; T Tu'ifua, S Hufanga, E Taione, J Vaka; P Hola, S Havea; F Maka, N Latu (capt). H T Pole; P Hehea, L Fa'aoso; K Pulu, A Lutui, S Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: E Taukafa, T Toke, V Vaki, L Filipine, 20 S Tu'ipulotu, I Tupou, A Havili.

Japan vs Fiji
Japan: 31 - Fiji: 35

Fiji overcame Japan in a dramatic encounter in Pool B. Nicky Little kicked Fiji to an early lead, but Shotaro Onishi scored two penalties to give Japan a 6-3 lead in the 30th minute. Fiji went ahead with a try from Akapusi Qera, and Japan's Onishi scored a penalty just before half time reducing Fiji's lead to one point.

Onishi scored another penalty after the restart and Japan led once more. Qera scored his second try for Fiji in the 49th minute, but Luke Thompson scored a try for Japan two minutes later. A try from Seru Rabeni once again gave Fiji the advantage, but Japan were kept in the match by a Tomokazu Soma try. Fiji stretched their lead to 11 points after Kele Leawere scored a try, and a last minute Luke Thompson try was not enough to snatch the win for Japan.

Fiji are third in the pool with five points, behind Australia and Wales on points difference. Japan are fourth, taking one point from this defeat.

Japan: Aruga, Loamanu, Imamura, Onishi, Endo, Robins, Yoshida, Nishiura, Matsubara, Soma, H. Ono, Thompson, Makiri, O'Reilly, Miuchi.
Replacements: Inokuchi, Yamamura, Kumagae, Asano, Yatomi, Taira, Onozawa.
Fiji: Ratuvou, Delasau, Rabeni, Bai, Neivua, Little, Rauluni, Dewes, Koto, Qiodravu, Leawere, Lewaravu, Naevo, Qera, Koyamaibole.
Replacements: Sauturaga, Railomo, Talei, Ratuva, Daunivucu, Lovobalavu, Ligairi.

Italy vs Romanica
Italy: 24 - Romania: 18

In Pool C, Italy led Romania 8-0 at half time through an early try from Santiago Dellapè and a David Bortolussi penalty.

Romania took the lead early in the second half after Alexandru Manta and Marius Tincu scored tries. Italy regained the lead after they were awarded a penalty try due to several fouls from Romania. Ionut Dimofte scored two penalties for Romania to keep them in the game, but Ramiro Pez scored three to keep Italy ahead.

Italy are third in Pool C with four points, behind New Zealand and Scotland with five each. Romania are fourth, earning one point in this match.

Italy: Bortolussi, Robertson, Canale, M. Bergamasco, Masi, Pez, Griffen, Lo Cicero, Festuccia, Castrogiovanni, Dellape, Bortolami, Sole, M. Bergamasco, Parisse.
Replacements: Ghiraldini, Aguero, Bernabo, Vosawai, Troncon, Galon, de Marigny.
Romania: Dumitras, Fercu, Gal, Gontineac, Brezoianu, Dimofte, Sirbu, Toderasc, Tincu, B. Balan, Socol, Petre, Corodeanu, Manta, Tonita.
Replacements: Mavrodin, Popescu, Ratiu, Tudori, Calafeteanu, Tofan, Vlad.

Image from

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rugby World Cup - next games (12.09-13.09)

Wednesday morning 12/09, 6:00am - Argentina v Georgia
Thursday morning 13/09, Midnight - USA v Tonga
Thursday morning 13/09, 4:00am - Japan v Fiji
Thursday morning 13/9, 8:00am - Italy v Romania

All dates and times are NZT.

France coach Bernard Laporte has made 13 changes

France coach Bernard Laporte has made 13 changes, one of them positional, for Sunday's World Cup Pool D match against Namibia after the upset 17-12 loss to Argentina in the tournament opener.

Only prop Pieter de Villiers, inside centre Damien Traille, and Cedric Heymans, who moves from fullback to his favourite position on the wing, have been retained.

Flyhalf Frederic Michalak and lock Sebastien Chabal are included in the starting lineup with the hosts now in danger of an early exit or a clash with favourites New Zealand in the Cardiff quarter-final.

Laporte told a news conference on Wednesday the reshuffle was not intended to punish his players.

"It's not a sanction. I don't like the word sanctions. Our players are not school children," he said.

"We said we would win the World Cup with 30 players. We can't tell the players that there is a competition among the squad and keep the same team."


The French coach said 34-year-old captain Raphael Ibanez, who will be on the bench, remained "the natural leader of the team".

"Raphael is not 25 any more and we have to spare him," he added.

Of the other team leaders, lock Fabien Pelous and centre Yannick Jauzion will also be on the bench while flanker Serge Betsen will watch the game from the stand.

Scrumhalf Jean-Baptiste Elissalde will take over the captaincy, playing alongside Michalak who replaces the injured David Skrela at flyhalf.

Wing Vincent Clerc, centre David Marty and fullback Clement Poitrenaud have been included.

France will field a new backrow comprising Julien Bonnaire at number eight and flankers Yannick Nyanga and Thierry Dusautoir.

Chabal, who came on as a replacement against the Pumas, will start the game in the second row with Lionel Nallet.

"We know we have to win our next three games against, Nambia, Ireland and Georgia and pick up all the bonus points available," Laporte said.

"The game against Namibia will not be an easy one. We have to set the record straight."

New Zealand All Blacks explain the meaning of the Haka

Rugby World Cup 2007. Members of the New Zealand All Blacks explain the meaning of the Haka in a new ad for Adidas. Impossible is Nothing.

The History of the Haka

All Blacks HAKA
All Black Haka words:
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora!
Tenei te tangata puhuru huru
Nana nei i tiki mai
Whakawhiti te ra
A upa … ne! ka upa … ne!
A upane kaupane whiti te ra!

All Black Haka Translation
I die! I die! I live! I live!
I die! I die! I live! I live!
This is the hairy man
Who fetched the Sun
And caused it to shine again
One upward step! Another upward step!
An upward step, another.. the Sun shines!!

Kia Whakawhenua Au I Ahau
Hi Aue, Hi!!
Ko Aotearoa E Ngunguru Nei!
Au, Au, Aue Ha!
Ka Kapa O Pango E Ngunguru Nei!
Au, Au, Aue Ha!
I Ahaha!
Ka Tu Te Ihihi
Ka Tu Te Wanawana
Ki Runga Ki Te Rangi E Tu Iho Nei, Tu Iho Nei, Hi!
Ponga Ra!
Kapa O Pango, Aue Hi!
Ponga Ra!
Kapa O Pango, Aue Hi, Ha!

English Translation
Let me become one with the land
This is our land that rumbles
And it’s my time! It’s my moment!
This defines us as the All Blacks
It’s my time! It’s my moment!
Our dominance
Our supremacy will triumph
And we will be placed on high
Silver fern!
All Blacks!
Silver fern!
All Blacks!

New Zealand vs Scotland in rugby (whisky ad)

Rugby fights
A basic overview of the rules of rugby.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rugby World Cup 2007 France v Argentina - fans in bar

These 2007 All Blacks are sheer perfection

With Richie McCaw and Dan Carter pulling the strings, New Zealand looked in a different class during the first round of matches - and it's hard to see anyone beating them.
The talk of the Rugby World Cup opener is, of course, that Les Bleus failed to out-enthuse the Pumas. Argentina now look near-certainties for a semi-final berth, while France will struggle at this rate even to qualify for the quarter-finals. A likely battle against Italy or Scotland could be all that stands in the Pumas' way.

Defending champions England looked far from convincing, and patchy wins by Ireland, Scotland and Wales completed a poor weekend for the Six Nations heavyweights. None of these teams showed anything even resembling the ability to win a world championship.

Meanwhile, the Wallabies and Springboks had excellent victories against Japan and Samoa, but their wins, while impressive, were nothing unexpected and rarely was the collision area competitive.

World Cup favourites New Zealand played the script to perfection. This was Italy, probably the top nation just outside the tier-one teams, with arguably the strongest team in their history - and unlucky not to beat Ireland a few weeks ago. The All Blacks had not played since unconvincingly winning the Bledisloe and Tri Nations. They had relaxed in French sun and had not fired a single broadside in anger.

A late reshuffle forced by the withdrawal of Conrad Smith did not weaken the team. Mils Muliana slotted into the troublesome outside-centre role, and Leon Macdonald came in at fullback. The world's finest front eight, with the sparkling combination of Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, saw New Zealand smash the Italians for both personal and media relief.

A 38-point blitz in the first 19 minutes answered all questions. At one point every 30 seconds, there was no talk of rust. The All Black play was reminiscent of their complete style displayed in 2005 and 2006. Italy were not insipid during the game. They were not out of place like Japan and Samoa eventually were. The Azzurri made line breaks and even competed with the vaunted All Black tight five.

But New Zealand looked unbeatable - the absolute perfect game by the planet's finest team to signal intent and purpose at the beginning of a tournament they look like winning easily. No team showed over the weekend - bar the old foes in the Tri Nations - anything that might trouble this impressive New Zealand outfit. Their defence was imposing, and their attack beautiful in its simplicity.

The All Blacks would not be too concerned about meeting France in a likely quarter-final. They scored at nearly a point a minute, and never looked like raising their real menace.

On this performance, this New Zealand team have indeed been tuned to perfection, and look as if they have in fact tapered for an all-conquering assault of the title that has eluded them for 20 years.

Italy were sent reeling, suffering their worst defeat in over three years. This is the most powerful team ever assembled by the All Blacks - and they will be hard to stop over the next seven weeks.

Is winning the Rugby World Cup going to be as easy for the All Blacks as James seems to think? Post your comments below.

Monday, September 10, 2007

final seconds of match England v USA - Rugby World Cup 2007

Rugby World Cup 2007 - Pool A
Olly Barkley stood out for England in what was an otherwise dismal performance. The United States are hardly a rugby super-power but managed to at least look competitive against the World Champions, England.

Here, in the final seconds of match, we see an unfortunate incident. Olly Barkley is upended by an American centre. Surely there was little malice, but it was still very dangerous.

As the tournament wears on, the games will get bigger. Which means the hits will get bigger.

All Blacks vs Italy - HAKA

The haka performed by the All Blacks before the match against Italy, in the Rugby World Cup 2007.

Rugby World Cup 2007 Preview

Rugby World Cup 2007 fixtures

The Rugby World Cup match schedule for 2007 is as follows:


7 Sep21:00France vs Argentina Stade de France, Paris
8 Sep13:45New Zealand vs Italy Stade Vélodrome, Marseilles
8 Sep15:45Australia vs Japan Stade de Gerland, Lyon
8 Sep18:00England vs United States Stade Félix Bollaert, Lens
9 Sep14:00Wales vs Canada Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
9 Sep16:00South Africa vs Samoa Parc des Princes, Paris
9 Sep18:00Scotland vs Portugal Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne
9 Sep20:00Ireland vs Namibia Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux
11 Sep20:00Argentina vs Georgia Stade de Gerland, Lyon
12 Sep14:00United States vs Tonga Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
12 Sep18:00Japan vs Fiji Stade Toulouse, Toulouse
12 Sep20:00Italy vs Romania Stade Vélodrome, Marseilles
14 Sep21:00England vs South Africa Stade de France, Paris
15 Sep13:00New Zealand vs Portugal Stade de Gerland, Lyon
15 Sep14:00Wales vs Australia Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
15 Sep21:00Ireland vs Georgia Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux
16 Sep13:00Fiji vs Canada Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
16 Sep16:00Samoa vs Tonga Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
16 Sep21:00France vs Namibia Stade Toulouse, Toulouse
18 Sep20:00Scotland vs Romania Murrayfield, Edinburgh
19 Sep20:00Italy vs Portugal Parc des Princes, Paris
20 Sep20:00Wales vs Japan Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
21 Sep21:00France vs Ireland Stade de France, Paris
22 Sep14:00South Africa vs Tonga Stade Félix Bollaert, Lens
22 Sep16:00England vs Samoa Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
22 Sep21:00Argentina vs Namibia Stade Vélodrome, Marseilles
23 Sep14:30Australia vs Fiji Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier
23 Sep16:00Scotland vs New Zealand Murrayfield, Edinburgh
25 Sep18:00Canada vs Japan Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux
25 Sep20:00Romania vs Portugal Stade Toulouse, Toulouse
26 Sep18:00Georgia vs Namibia Stade Félix Bollaert, Lens
26 Sep20:00Samoa vs United States Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne
28 Sep21:00England vs Tonga Parc des Princes, Paris
29 Sep13:00New Zealand vs Romania Stade Toulouse, Toulouse
29 Sep15:00Australia vs Canada Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux
29 Sep17:00Wales vs Fiji Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
29 Sep21:00Scotland vs Italy Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne
30 Sep15:00France vs Georgia Stade Vélodrome, Marseilles
30 Sep17:00Ireland vs Argentina Parc des Princes, Paris
30 Sep20:00South Africa vs United States Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier


6 Oct15:00W Pool B vs RU Pool A Stade Vélodrome, Marseilles
6 Oct20:00W Pool C vs RU Pool D Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
7 Oct15:00W Pool A vs RU Pool B Stade Vélodrome, Marseilles
7 Oct21:00W Pool D vs RU Pool C Stade de France, Paris
13 Oct21:00W QF1 vs W QF2 Stade de France, Paris
14 Oct21:00W QF3 vs W QF4 Stade de France, Paris
19 Oct21:00Loser Semi Final 1 vs Loser Semi Final 2 Parc des Princes, Paris
20 Oct21:00Winner Semi Final 1 vs Winner Semi Final 1 Stade de France, Paris