Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Munster captain Doug Howlett chops Schalk Brits in two

Round three of the Heineken Cup took place at the weekend, with one of the biggest match-ups being the clash between Munster and Saracens at Thomond Park. It didn't disappoint, and served up this absolute beauty from Doug Howlett.

It wasn't the highest scoring game we'll see but it was a great contest, with Munster taking the spoils 15-9 through five Ronan O'Gara penalties. There was plenty to talk about - including Owen Farrell's four missed penalties - but one of the moments of the match was this sensational tackle from the great former All Black, Doug Howlett.

In the last few weeks, for whatever reason, there have been a number of incidents involving dirty play, citings, and the subsequent suspensions and derision from all sides of the planet.

With that comes a sizeable element of negativity and it feels like almost every day RD posts stories about players getting in trouble (this week is no exception). Williams red card | Hartley citing

Whether the game is becoming dirtier or the laws are making it tough to play, it's taking away from the game we love and in many ways, can also give this website a bit of a bad look.

So when Howlett made this solid, legal, bone-crunching hit on the always dynamic Schalk Brits, it brought with it a strange sense of joy. Not only did a winger absolutely lay into a forward, but the tackle was perfectly legal, and the officials stayed out of it despite Brits landing a bit awkwardly.

The two sides meet again in Round 4 when Saracens host Munster at Vicarage Road on Sunday

Posted by Rugbydump at 8:28 am | View Comments (51)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 51 comments

Fester December 11, 2012 12:50 pm

Hello Rugbydump,

Can you please make a post about an incident with Dylan Hartley and Rory Best during the Northampton - Ulster game this weekend? Thanks alot!

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Vic December 11, 2012 1:18 pm

Bone shaker of tackle!! Dougie loves tree chopping, the bigger the better :-)

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DanKnapp December 11, 2012 1:34 pm

Great hit. That's what we love to see.

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stroudos December 11, 2012 1:37 pm

Bosh. What a beauty. Pretty impressive how Brits adjusts and retains possession too...

@RD - nice write-up! Excellent, in fact. :)

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Guy December 11, 2012 1:39 pm

Seems to get his head in a kind of awkward position, but my goodness I love to see this guy tackle. By now it must be possible to fill a 'Try Savers & Rib Brakers Dougie Special'.

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NicG December 11, 2012 2:12 pm

Poor technique - if he got a knee to the head on the wrong side he would have been out cold. Still a cracking hit though. On of his best was schooling a smart-ar$e Earl Rose before he moved to Munster.

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Ca Chua December 11, 2012 1:45 pm

Fully agree with you RugbyDump on the way our beloved sport is turning at the moment. Game became dirtier or the laws changed it ... well not sure about that. That's mostly because we all have an easier access to that violence. And RD is in a way supporting it.
Old fashion rugby was much more violent and dirty ... but it's over now.
I would rather post less of this and focus more on match highlights or creating compilations of best tries of the week form all over the rugby planet.

Keep moving like that RD, I will support you as before.

Rugbystically yours,

Ca chua playing Rugby in Asia

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stroudos December 11, 2012 5:34 pm

I would rather post less of this and focus more on match highlights or creating compilations of best tries of the week form all over the rugby planet.

Keep moving like that RD, I will support you as before.

I totally disagree with this. Match highlights and tries of the week are welcome additions, but it would be a massive shame, in my opinion, if Rugbydump were to become just another anonymous repository of match highlights.

The big hits are what sets Rugbydump apart from other sites. They are its lifeblood, its DNA, its USP, etc...

Speaking of which, it must be time for a new Trysavers & Rib Breakers compilation, isn't it? I'm sure this is what the real RD fan heartland wants!!

Keep resisting the urge to move towards a generic, homogenous highlights repository RD, and I will support you as before...

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donkeyballs4000 December 11, 2012 11:48 pm

I don't think he was suggesting that RD remove the big hits etc. They could do more to supplement the site with their own, less negative content. Like you said, the Trysavers and Rib Breakers series seems lacking recently and I would love to see RD compile a Top 5 Plays of the Week for example.

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DutchCelt December 11, 2012 2:13 pm

In all seriousness, doesn't Howlett 'take him beyond the horizontal'? At least one of his legs is about 45' skyward and if you pause the video at 0:24 you can see his head is significantly lower than his feet.

Don't get me wrong; my first thought was 'brilliant tackle'. Howlett is a quality player and this didn't seem dangerous at all. But it leaves a sour taste to think that in another situation (eg if Howlett hadn't gone so low, or if there had been a big discrepancy between his weight and Brits' a la Warburton/Clerc) we might have seen an over-zealous ref reach for his pocket because technically it looked 'dangerous'.

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cheyanqui December 11, 2012 5:14 pm

Two mitigating factors support not giving Howlett a card:
1. He is not playing for a French side
2. He is not from Tonga or Samoa

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Benny December 11, 2012 5:26 pm

I think he may actually be half Tongan. Maybe the ref didn't know that though

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stroudos December 11, 2012 5:42 pm

I wish there was a "dislike" button on here for comments like this.

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kadova December 12, 2012 12:08 am

LOL, stop your paranoia, darling...

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stroudos December 11, 2012 5:43 pm

(cheyanqui's, that is)

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brawnybalboa December 11, 2012 8:40 pm


Howlett by no means take, nor attempt to take Brits beyond the horizontal. Not all tackles that result in the player going head first into the ground with the legs going beyond horizontal are spear/tip/dump tackles. In this case Howlett executes a perfect textbook tackle of Brits, hit the larger man low and drive through him. The body position of Brits and his momentum lead him to going 'arse over head'.

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Reality December 12, 2012 11:47 pm

Yeah, I don't think it can be considered a spear-type tackle. I'm not sure of the exact wording, but I think that law states that you're not allowed to lift the player and turn him beyond the horizontal. Here though Howlett doesn't lift him; he just goes into the air from the impact.

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Pretzel December 11, 2012 3:22 pm

Seems a bit sad that the Munster captain is not an Irishman... Unless Howlett is a temporary captain? I'm not saying he doesn't have what it takes, I just thought that Munster was a massive Irish team and huge contributor to the International side, therefore having an Irish captain would be a good thing? no?

Never thought of him as a Dooogy Howlett haha, always been a Duggy, I wonder if the commentator was thinking "Dougie Hall" or something, he is the only player I think I've heard called "Dooogy".

The tackle, very strong from a winger on a hooker, excellent demonstration on why it can be better to go low, it did however, look a little uncomfortable, sort of head on the wrong side type of hit.

AND, not trying to be too pinickity(?) but upper body hit the ground first and legs were all up in the air, only difference was Howlett didn't appear to "lift"... but surely the old "well, if it was a couple inches more, Brits could have landed on his neck and died" brigade could jump onto this?

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Guy December 11, 2012 4:40 pm

+1-ed you on the last sentence, made me smile.

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cheyanqui December 11, 2012 5:13 pm

and tactically, having a winger as your captain is generally a no-no -- too far away to make quick choices (PK, quick tap, scrum, etc.), or to influence the referee.

a few #13s get away with it (i.e. Brian O'Driscoll).

But other than that, your captains should come from the 1-10.

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browner December 11, 2012 11:00 pm

You what ??? ......................

ince when did a captain decide whether to take a quick tap ?
or.... be too far away to say 'posts please sir'
or..... or to say 'when asked scrum or line out] , .... take a scrum lads

this is the daftest post i've seen since Pretzel was a teenager !

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Pretzel December 11, 2012 11:32 pm

Browner you do realise that:
"this is the daftest post i've seen since Pretzel was a teenager !" makes absolutely no sense at all...

Comprehension my dear fellow, did you go to school?

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Pretzel December 11, 2012 11:34 pm

Not that my post made much sense afterwards >.< .....

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browner December 15, 2012 2:02 am

Pret me old mucker....

Yes of course I went to school, it was a legal requirement, and had I not attended then mumsie would've been put imprisoned !

Or maybe you'd intended to ask a more specific question? be specific next time sweetie

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Benny December 11, 2012 5:29 pm

Sounded like he wanted to say Doogie Howser, MD but to his credit, did correct himself later in the clip

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donkeyballs4000 December 11, 2012 11:53 pm

Howlett makes more appearances for Munster each season than his Irish international teammates due to the IRFU's imposed limits. It makes sense to have the captain on the pitch every week.

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wow-jiffy-lube December 11, 2012 6:42 pm

Dougie was made captain because the management wanted somebody who (a) wouldn't be called up for international duty and (b) wouldn't transfer to another club next season or so. Howlett has obviously retired from the All Blacks and more importantly has committed to Munster for the rest of his playing career. This means that unlike is previous years, Munster now has a year-round captain. There is also possibly the consideration that the coach is a kiwi.

As for "Duggy" vs "Doogy" most people do pronounce it as "duggy" but this particular commentator is Northern Irish so it's just his accent makes it sound weird.

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Pretzel December 11, 2012 8:00 pm

w-j-l, thanks for the reply regarding the reasons behind Howletts captaincy. Actually makes a lot of sense when viewed that way. Out of interest how has he "committed to Munster"? Is this just a word of mouth thing or has he actually signed a ridiculously long contract? He seems very happy committed from what I see on RD and he has been producing scorching performances (again from what I see) so it is understandable that he'd stay with them, I was just wondering if there was something else...

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wow-jiffy-lube December 17, 2012 5:42 pm

He has moved his family to Cork, bought a house, his kids are in school here, he has stakes in several local businesses and he's stated that he wants to retire once he stops playing for Munster. Obviously it's not quite a contract, but it's pretty close and I don't see the management getting rid of him any time soon.

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cheyanqui December 11, 2012 8:20 pm

Howlett is clearly the best leader on that squad that will not get called away or poached.

Thanks for the clarification. Makes sense in that context.

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katman December 11, 2012 4:39 pm

Great tackle. And no different to the Hala'ufia tackle that got carded, banned (and successfully appealed) a week ago.

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UpandAway December 11, 2012 4:56 pm

"Whether the game is becoming dirtier or the laws are making it tough to play, it's taking away from the game we love and in many ways, can also give this website a bit of a bad look." - RD

Then post more bloody tries!! Tons of great attacking play and legal hits, and amusing things that happen in matches. Why the hell post every pointless citing instead and drown us in negativity. We had a whole round of European rugby and I've barely seen one highlight of good play............

............ I'm waiting.

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stroudos December 11, 2012 5:13 pm

I don't like the tone of this post. How much do you pay for this awesome repository of rugby moments? Nothing? That's right. "I'm waiting......." - well don't wait, go and search the internet for something better.

Come to think of it I don't like the content of this post either! Rugbydump's awesome reputation was built on bringing real rugby fans the big hits and tackles. The match highlights have been a welcome recent addition but I'd be saddened if RD moved too far from its traditional big hits roots...

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UpandAway December 12, 2012 7:33 am

"go and search the internet for something better."

Don't worry, I don't limit myself to one website :-)


You might even notice some big tackles in there.

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Rugbydump December 11, 2012 10:32 pm

@ UpandAway, Thanks for the feedback.

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UpandAway December 12, 2012 3:11 am

Well it seems my blunt comments weren't appreciated by everyone! I have enjoyed your website over several years and I agree that the governance of the game has led to a lot more illegal play....... especially the new initiative that all strikes to the face result in a red card. Lucky they don't introduce that to rugby league as there wouldn't be anyone left on the field.

My simple point is that a balance has to be reached as the majority of uploads seem to revolve around interpretations of the tackle law and foul play, and the posters seem to be evolving into amateur citing commissioners! I know this is important to the fundamental purpose of this website but there also has to be an entertainment factor too. and lets still enjoy the many exciting aspects to the game that remain.......... off the top of my head I can remember several incidents from Manu Tuilagi that could of made it here. Vs South Africa in the summer tour he stopped the momentum of the Saffas, first picking up and dumping Alberts (who was murdering the rest of the team), and nailing Bismark and leaving winded for 2 minutes. More recently he hit Conrad Smith and drove him back about 5 meters. Also in the same match the goal line hit that Read put on Corbisiero......... massive and left him gasping.


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stroudos December 12, 2012 9:50 am

+1 from me sir. Seems I misunderstood your earlier post a bit, (think I've got some previous for this too). I thought you were saying you didn't want the big hits.....

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UpandAway December 12, 2012 2:18 pm

:-) yeah we have some history. I'm not always the easiest to understand, it just depends on the amount of beer I've consumed before I sit down in front of the keyboard........

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stroudos December 12, 2012 6:57 pm

Ha ha, nice one, I know the feeling...

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yupyupgup December 11, 2012 5:38 pm

surprised he wasn't given a red card and a nice ban with the way the game's going...

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logophile December 11, 2012 8:17 pm

Did anyone see Kahn Fotuali'i bone crunching tackle in the Osprey's game? Not bad for a number 9. Currently my favorite 9 in the game....

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suntzu December 11, 2012 9:51 pm

Are you guys watching the video or listening to the commentators?
It's an impressive collision but not a great tackle... Brits just goes over the shoulder which creates the impression of a big hit with Howlett accompanying him as best he can. The tackler does not stop the forward motion of the attacking player merely trips him with his body and tries to lift him and hold on to his legs.
It's fun to watch but I'm not impressed despite being a fan of good hard hits and an admirer Howlett for all his accomplishments and his physical presence.

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browner December 11, 2012 11:14 pm

1] Nice pressure, definately stopped the move, but poor tackle coz lacked a contest for possession

2] PK. Penalty should have gone to Reds, tackled player tucked ball under his body to prevent x2 on feet jackalers from winning possession.

3] Quicker releases by Ball Carriers create more turnovers = disorganised defences = broken play running = more exciting game.

comments chaps ?

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stroudos December 12, 2012 7:10 pm

Decent points there Browner. I differ slightly on 2 and 3 though.

2 - You're allowed a reasonable amount of time to present the ball before being pinged for holding on. I think Brits got the ball back quickly enough, no way is that a penalty. Sensible play and good technique to squeezeball it under the belly, specifically to prevent the jackals getting to the ball. Certainly I try to do this every time I find myself isolated at all, for example after making a searing break with my team-mates unable to keep up with the sheer pace...... ah, sorry, daydreaming....

3) Yes, I agree. But the flipside is breakdowns without at least a couple of guys from each team contesting result in big lumps clogging up the backline and filling the space where that broken play running is meant to be happening.

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browner December 15, 2012 2:20 am


2] ......Nah.....whilst buying time & delayed presentation are coached and are both 'cute practices ' if you can get away with it

However LAW is crystal clear
(a) A tackled player must not lie on, over, or near the ball to prevent opponents from gaining
possession of it, and must try to make the ball available immediately so that play can continue.
Sanction: Penalty kick

........with x2 RED Jackallers on feet contesting for possession then it's a clear PK in my mind, A pint says YC if the player was near his own try line !

ALL Elite referees are encouraged to allow a fair contest for possession..... presentation procrastination when isolated should've been ping'd

ps... I'd do it also, but be praying for a indecisive ref !

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Mr Lif December 12, 2012 12:22 am

I've no idea what a 'hit' is. I know what a tackle is but the language of the hit is pretty modern and suggests a change in attitude.

I think that the amateur game had an informal balance in the 'dark arts'.

That kind of thing is not tenable when people's wages are on the line.

I think the real problem is that the authorities are so soft. If you're at a major club you can do anything you want and not get more than a few months (and that is rare).

The Saints player who tried to break an arm should, in my view, have got a life ban from even attending a rugby ground. Beyond horrific.

I also think that incidents like that, and Hore's attack in the AIs, should be referred to the police.

If it isn't in the laws of the game, and you do it, they should throw the book at you. End of.

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Chris_Jones December 12, 2012 1:15 am

Doug Howlett is nothing short of an absolute legend. He'd still be starting for most countries had he not run amok as an AB

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Andy December 12, 2012 11:14 am

This is similar to the Lloyd Williams red card.

Both good hits in my opinion.

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anon December 13, 2012 3:06 am

Doug Howlett has given an incredible amount to Munster rugby over the years - I think it's credit to Munster that they base their analysis of captaincy qualities on the drive, commitment and leadership of the players rather than any born right to the captaincy. Take a look at the Munster haka from that game against the All Blacks if you want to see the crowd get behind him and the other kiwis on the side!

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