The Biggest Hits in World Rugby This Week
Thankfully for the global audience, rugby is a sport appreciated on both sides of the equator, coming in numerous styles, formats and incarnations.
What that means for the everyday fan is that not much of our calendar year goes by in which we don’t have at least some form of egg-chasing to keep us entertained.
Right now, rugby league is in its strongest run, but with the Super Rugby final taking place over the weekend, we still have some union to keep us happy if you’re that way inclined.
With another week of action from both hemispheres, the Super League, NRL and Super XV have offered up yet another batch of superb collisions for your spectating pleasure.
Warning: humans were most definitely hurt in the making of this article’s content.
Honourable Mention—Robbie Robinson vs. Augustine Pulu
Fear not, you aren’t confused—Robbie Robinson and Augustine Pulu are indeed both still a part of the same Chiefs side that just won the Super Rugby title against ACT Brumbies..
But just because the teammates are limited by the confines of fighting for the same cause doesn’t mean the pair are restricted from putting a big hit on each other every now and then.
So, to help Robinson celebrate the try that would eventually go on to ensure the Waikato franchise of a second consecutive championship, Pulu thought a friendly post-score takedown was appropriate.
As a small caution, there’s a decent dosage of crotch-to-face action involved in the embrace.
10. Tom Briscoe vs. Widnes Dogpile
The dogpile (or "bundle" as it is known in some regions) is a popular celebration among football teams when sent into a state of sheer delirium.
However, it’s also a fairly useful weapon, utilising the sheer mass of one’s body and the bodies of their teammates to inflict as much pain as possible on the opposition.
Whatever Widnes Vikings were thinking with this manoeuvre, they made sure that Tom Briscoe of Hull FC remembered the try for some time to come.
You average rugby league player might weigh around the 14 stone mark. Now imagine that weight landing on you at top sprinting speeds. Now imagine two.
Heck, Tom, try three.
9. Mark Minichiello vs. Tigers Defence
Another try-scoring contribution, Mark Minichiello’s trucked finish against Wests Tigers was one of the finest he could have hoped for considering the amount of opposition players stacked against him.
The Gold Coast Titan took the usual tack of stepping around the obstacle one might be faced with and simply proceeded to run it over instead.
As a result, the result was wrapped up for the Titans and Minichiello asserted his dominance over an out-of-shape Tigers outfit.
8. Greg Bird vs. Braith Anasta
It’s never very nice to see a player penalised for an illegal move, simply because those types of actions are banned for a reason and the player on the receiving end could be genuinely hurt.
However, Greg Bird’s high challenge on Braith Anasta this weekend was closer to the borderline side of things, thus making it more (but not completely) agreeable to take some entertainment from the clash.
Again picked out of the Titans' triumph over Wests Tigers, the collision was just another example of the physical disadvantage that Benji Marshall’s side seemed to be suffering from, with Anasta on the receiving end this time.
7. Paul Wellens vs. Catalan Dragons
Taking the ball into contact in a head-on fashion is an everyday occurrence in rugby league. The idea of running flat into numerous opponents might seem brutal, but it’s simply part and parcel with the sport.
That being said, even the brave men carrying the ball don’t always come off the best, as Paul Wellens rediscovered this weekend.
In the midst of their victory in Perpignan, St Helen’s could only watch on as Wellens was man-handled by no less than three Dragons players and heaved a decent six or seven yards back towards his own teammates.
Fortunately, the recipient would go on to score two tries in the match and make up for the embarrassment, but Wellens was handed a reminder about running upright all the same.
6. Ben Hannant vs. Newcastle Knights
Taking the ball up from your own try line is never easy, but progress can, has and will be made from that kind of territory again.
Not for Ben Hannant, it won’t, however, after the Brisbane Bronco was taught a small lesson in committing to the contact with incorrect angles.
In short, a wall of Newcastle Knights defended their post all too well and Hannant, the intruder on this occasion, was repelled to that from whence he came for a good couple of minutes.
5. Konrad Hurrell vs. Sosaia Feki
Sometimes, there’s just nothing better than a good fend, something that’s made all the more enjoyable when the manoeuvre, which just reeks of domination, results in a neat score.
Ultimately, Konrad Hurrell’s try would mean little to the New Zealand Warriors’ losing result, but Sosaia Feki certainly won’t be forgetting Hurrell’s mitts in a hurry.
Granted, Feki is still just 22 years of age but, in a way, that’s what makes this almighty palm to the chest just all the more embarrassing for the Cronulla Shark, considering Hurrell’s a year younger.
*Apologies for the sound quality of the video.
4. Ben Tameifuna vs. Tevita Kuridrani
Ben Tameifuna’s first contribution to this week’s list can be pretty much summed up in the commentary that followed it: "Woah…Tameifuna!"
The 21-year-old is somewhat of a genetic marvel, having already established himself as the Waikato Chiefs’ starting tighthead, and Tevita Kuridrani found out exactly why that is in this weekend’s Super Rugby final.
It wasn’t as if the Brumbies' back didn’t have time to think about what was coming either—he saw Tameifuna and seemed genuinely to think there was a chance of getting by.
3. Corey Oates vs. Tyrone Roberts
While not necessarily a "big hit" per se, Tyrone Roberts’ last-ditch tackle on Brisbane Bronco Corey Oates was nonetheless massive in what was possibly the match of the weekend in rugby league circles.
Finishing 18-18, the result would undoubtedly have panned out far differently had Roberts not the shoes to go that extra mile (70 metres or so in this case) and hound down his opposite man.
The Newcastle Knights man of the moment, Roberts not only managed to catch up with Oates on this occasion, but also see the player out into touch, pulling off an all-round impressive piece of defensive skill.
2. Darcy Lussick vs. Brenton Lawrence
The Sea Eagles’ 40-6 win over the Parramatta Eels this weekend was an establishing point as to just who the dominant party is between the two franchises right now.
However, while his side may have lost the war, Darcy Lussick won a very, very entertaining battle in the middle of the action against his former side, putting in a monumental hit on Brenton Lawrence.
Although there was certainly use of an arm—and it looked a little too high for regulation’s sake—Lawrence was knocked for six in this particular encounter in a feat of physical might it’s hard not to admire.
1. Ben Tameifuna vs. Henry Speight
In rugby—a game often decided by the metaphysical attributes one possesses—a common analogy is made between "the unstoppable force and the immovable object."
However, not much is said of the stoppable force and the immovable object. Well, once again thanks to Ben Tameifuna, we have our answer.
The most crushing thing for Henry Speight (no joke intended) is that he was actually very close to pulling off an interception that would have turned the Super Rugby final on its head.
As fate would have it, though, he was just crushed.
In case you were still wondering, the immovable object won.
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