Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Manu Tuilagi's huge hit on quick hands Dan Bowden

Manu Tuilagi had a solid Six Nations with England and since returning to Leicester Tigers has looked to continue that good run of form. In their recent game against London Irish he timed things perfectly and put in this cracking hit on Dan Bowden.

It's a well known fact that Tuilagi is the youngest in a long line of rugby playing brothers. Despite moving to England as a teen, and now representing them on the international stage, he says that his time as a youngster in Samoa helped mould him into the player he is today.

"It was brutal," he told The Telegraph recently, with a smile as he described the unsupervised Friday afternoon rugby matches at his primary school. "We always played against the boys in the year above, and once we got on the pitch we hated them.

"There were no referees and no shirts, so you had to learn to tackle using your shoulder. And if there was an argument — over a forward pass or something — we had this particular way of settling it, where two guys would run at each other one-on-one.

"First he would get the ball, and try to run you over, and you have to smash him. Then it’s your turn to take the ball and go. And no sidestepping! After that, you shake hands and it’s all good. It’s quite funny when I think about it," he chuckled.

In the Tigers game against London Irish, the same match that Ben Youngs struck Jamie Gibson in, Tuilagi made this huge, much talked about crash tackle on Kiwi flyhalf Dan Bowden.

He lined him up beautifully and despite an incredibly quick offload from Bowden, who no doubt saw the missile coming out of the corner of his eye, Tuilagi smashed him. There's also a powerful charge from winger Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Bowden left the field not too long afterwards, and whether it was from this hit or not, sadly has to undergo surgery on his injured ankle, ruling him out of the rest of the season. Ironically he'll be joining Tuilagi at Leicester Tigers in the summer.

Posted by Rugbydump at 11:08 am | View Comments (26)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 26 comments

granite April 04, 2012 1:41 pm

Awesome hit! I don't think it was perfectly timed, Dan still got the ball away :P
I'm glad when they started talking about wrapping that the commentators cut down pretty quickly the guy who was suggesting there was no wrapping.

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Rugbydump April 04, 2012 2:15 pm

True, good point. It was perfect in the way that he made the hit without it being too late though, keeping it legal. Looked great, and the hands from Bowden, phenomenal.

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Phil April 05, 2012 12:35 am

Harsh! :) The quality of the offload made "perfect" timing pretty near impossible in this case. 99.9% of the time that would be a perfect tackle, but Bowden's hands are sublime

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Lucio April 04, 2012 2:20 pm

No hands! Straight yellow card

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flanker2712 April 04, 2012 3:05 pm

A couple of comments from someone with only basic knowledge of the rules of rugby...

1. For a tackle to be considered late, does the referee have to consider the tackler to have intentionally tackled late? In other words, it would not be a late tackle if the tackler did not know the ball had gone or, even if he saw at the last minute that the ball had gone, he was already committed to the hit.

In this example, Tuilagi clearly tackles Bowden after Bowden has passed, although I imagine Tuilagi did not see that the pass had been made or, even if he did see it, there was no way of pulling out of the tackle.

2. Tackling a player without the ball. The same sort of question arises - where a receiver either catches and very quickly offloads (as in this example) or flicks on a pass, he is often tackled while not in possession of the ball. To give a penalty, does the referee have to consider that the tackler intentionally took out a player knowing that he did or would not have the ball.

To avoid any nasty responses, let me be clear that I am not suggesting there was anything wrong with Tuilagi's tackle!

I appreciate that given the relevant timeframes are in the hundredths of seconds, this is all a bit hypothetical, but just wondered what the rules are. It seems to me to be something like "You can be late, especially if the tackled player has quick hands. But don't be too late or it will be a penalty".

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John April 04, 2012 6:09 pm

It's not like with some offences, such as unintentional offside, or in field hockey if the ball touches a foot, where it doesn't matter whether the player intended to do it (or even if they couldn't do anything about it). For a tackle to be illegally late, there must have been an opportunity to pull out after the ball was out of the possession of the tackled player.

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Pretzel April 04, 2012 6:44 pm

Lol, Oh come on, as someone with a nickname "flanker" you must know all about the "I was committed" tackles :)

I play second row/back row, when I play openside, I love the "committed" tackles on the fly half :) In fact sometimes making the opposition fly half's day a living hell is some of the most fun I have.

Really a lot of it is down to how it looks. If the ball carrier has drawn the man in then he can expect to be tackled even if he offloads before the contact. The player tackling can happily expect to clatter the initial ball carrier without any risk of punishment, and the referee can expect the above to happen....

It is really down to referee discretion though. There is no time limit set by the IRB.

"To give a penalty, does the referee have to consider that the tackler intentionally took out a player knowing that he did or would not have the ball."

That bit just there, I don't think any referee can expect players to play to the "what if's" not in a tackle situation like that. I mean we have seen countless videos of dummies, fallen for them ourselves, and tricked others with them, they are a beautiful part of the game, and really its the "what if's" that make people look silly on a field.

A situation happened to me with a 2 on 1, I was defending and I knew I was never going to stop the try, so I made a decision to hammer the initial ball carrier, that way if he threw a dummy I'd have hit him anyway. Needless to say he gave the offload just before I made contact, I didn't pull out of the tackle so theoretically I "tackled him without the ball" but its just one of those parts of the game which is policed on the individual incident and feelings at the time..

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Jwall April 05, 2012 4:08 am

It's at the refs discretion, it's not a hard and fast rule.
It's about intent or recklessness.
Does the player intend to hit late in the refs opinion, or were they reckless in their decision to make the tackle (ie did they have the time to pull out of it and went anyway).
So it's subjective (like alot of calls in rugby unfortunately).

Basically, a guy can get tackled without the ball or after he has passed it, and it's perfectly legal.

For it be legal the player making the tackle has to have made it thinking he was getting the ball.
So in this case there was no way Tuilagi could have pulled out in time, and almost certainly had no idea that the ball had been passed until after the fact.
In rugby, when you go in for a tackle, you put your head to the side and in the impact, your are not really that aware of anything other than the immediate impact, for at least a second or two. You usually have no idea if the guy still has the ball or not when you hit him.

So as long as when you go in for the hit it isn't intentionally late, or just so badly timed that it's ridiculous, reckless and dangerous, you can tackle a guy without the ball, no problem.

And since you aren't 100% familiar with the rules, do yourself a favour and disregard everything the commentators say about 'wrapping the arms'.
It's not in the rules and really only English commentators talk about it.
The rule on a tackle not being a shoulder charge states that a player has to 'attempt to grasp the other player'.

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Adam April 04, 2012 4:33 pm

Smashed! He took it well, though, and got the ball away which was very good play

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number8 April 04, 2012 5:06 pm

tackle wasnt late, it forced the pass. once committed to the tackle i dont think you can be late. there was no way tuilagi culdnt tackle him if that makes sense. also with regards to the wrapping that was a ridiculous call from the commentator. you can clearly see both arms around the guy, it only has to be an attempt to rap.

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stroudos April 04, 2012 7:18 pm

Number8 said...
"has to be an attempt to rap."

*This* is an "attempt to rap".......

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Jwall April 05, 2012 4:16 am

True no 8, except one thing. It's not even an attempt to wrap, it's an "attempt to grasp" the other player.

The arms doesn't have to go round at all. Wrapping is a term hat should never be used when discussing the legality of a tackle, simply because it is not, nor ever has been in the laws of rugby.

The key to all of this being that a player simply has to try not just use the shoulder.
The rule was not about arms or wrapping, it was about stopping league shoulder charges, which don't look anything like this hit, but more like this :

or this:

And in fact, as you can see by these hits, there's not anything particularly dangerous about a shoulder anyway. Certainly it's no more dangerous than any other tackle.

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Hendogo April 04, 2012 5:12 pm

1. Great Tackle.
2. Great off load
3 Great fend off to the guy Daniel passed it too.
All in all great playing by each player. Really shows the high level of skill needed at that level.

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stroudos April 04, 2012 7:32 pm

3 - Sailosi Tagicakibau - awesome player:

Samoan international, but half-Fijian and his brother plays for Fiji.

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Guy April 04, 2012 8:58 pm

Stroudos: you really do know your way around the youtube. Two great finds, although, from a rugby perspective I like the second clip the most.

Seems like a really strong runner and a good ball handler. But the funny thing is: he looks really fast from his style of running but I wonder if he really is. A lot of players seem to be able to catch up with him.

Nevertheless: very good clip, thanks for sharing it!

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stroudos April 05, 2012 10:33 am

Cheers Guy. On Tagicakibau, funnily enough when I've seen him live (a few times at London Irish games) I'd say the opposite - he looks like he's jogging even when he's burning the pitch up. He's got one of those relaxed running styles where it looks really effortless despite the actual speed he's going.

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bref April 04, 2012 5:41 pm

I quite like Austin Healey but when he commentates on Leicester he tends to be quite biased - although he was probably right on the tackle here.

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stroudos April 04, 2012 7:21 pm

Manu Tuilagi = human Exocet missile.

RD- cheers for the snippet of that interview too - illuminating stuff, explains a lot!!!

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mise April 05, 2012 1:01 am

i second that on the interview - insightful - and yes, perfect rugby moment - the tackle and the pass.

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Jwall April 05, 2012 4:01 am

Why do English commentators always talk about getting arms around, or wrapping arms?
Neither of these things are in the rules, anywhere.
The law states that a player must make an attempt to grasp the other player.
Just an attempt, doesn't have to succeed, and only grasp the other player in some way.

Nothing to do with wrapping arms or getting arms around. English commentators need to learn the laws of the game or STFU.

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Pretzel April 05, 2012 12:11 pm

You have made numerous posts on this video about "attempting to grasp" etc... Can you clear up one thing for me? Do you have to attempt to grasp with both arms? or would one arm be considered sufficient...

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Jaded Forward April 05, 2012 10:09 pm

It looks to me as though Tuilagi did indeed wrap, but promptly un-wrapped as soon as his shoulder bounced Bowden to the turf.

It also looks to me as though Tuilagi's it was not really consequential to the play, especially since Tagicakibau steamrolled Tuilagi's teammate and took the ball another 20m. That would seem like the postworthy highlight from this clip to me. Headline: Tuilagi tackles the wrong guy, man with ball makes yards, trampling Leicester defense.

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marpleshark April 13, 2012 11:17 am

This 'wrapping' gubbins is as bad as football commentators saying 'you can't raise your hands'. Wouldn't matter but it trickles down and referees start pinging for legal hits.

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