Monday, January 18, 2016

Ruck 'N' Roll Awards 2015: Part Two

We've already handed out awards to Georgia Page, Jonathan Joseph and Dan Carter; as well as plenty of others. Now we continue our presentation of our awards for some of rugby's good, bad and down right hideous.

Blink and You Missed Him Award
Sam Burgess’ rugby union career lasted 27 games - 21 for Bath, 5 for England and a solitary Saxon appearance. Rudy Paige's World Cup was shorter the Richard Cockerill's Christmas Card list. Given just the final three minutes of the playoff game to add to the sixteen he had been given throughout the rest of the tournament

Biggest Heart
Florin Surugiu won plenty of hearts with his proposal to his girlfriend at Wembley after a thumping from Ireland. Sonny Bill had us question whether he his the perfect human when he presented his World Cup winners medal to a fan who was rather heftily grounded by a steward. It's Aussie centre Adam Ashley Cooper who got us right in the feels though. When an old junior rugby teammate, Guy Grinham, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, AAC was on hand to help him love his dream of watch Australia at the World Cup. Then, after the Wallabies beat Wales, Cooper ascended the steps to Mr Grinham's executive box at share the moment with him. Guy sadly past three days later, but his family said they will never forget the smile Cooper brought to his face in that moment.
The Luke Charteris Award for Most Column Inches 
Sam Burgess almost retained his award as every facet of his game went under the microscope (little wonder he couldn’t wait to go back to league), before his switch back gave them more to write about. Concussion was the year’s biggest talking point however. Be it George North or Mike Brown that filled the pages, the concussion discussion was everywhere and even had it’s own documentary. It’s great to finally see the light shone on the issue and huge advances be made in deal with it.

Biggest Dance Craze
The cringe worthy Matt Dawson haka, the funny Air NZ Men in Black video, the awe inspiring double haka of New Zealand and Tonga; all topped by one kick routine. Everybody do The Biggarena

Typo of the Year


Best One Liner
Jonathan “Jiffy” Davies is usually good for a few every match he commentates, Lou Reed asking “hands up who had turkey for Christmas?” mid scrum is close, but Nigel Owens is the king of the one-liner. His missive to Stuart Hogg at St James’ Park – usually a football stadium – the best: “If you want to dive like that again, come back here in two weeks and play, not today.”

Force Field Award for Best Defence
Wales’ defence against Ireland in the Six Nations was staggering. Phase after phase of Irish green repelled in one of the most epic defensive efforts we’ve seen. Then along come Australia like an impenetrable gold brick wall to stop Wales scoring despite being down to 13 men. An incredible performance from the Wallabies.

Day of Rugby
Whilst the WRU's Judgement Day continues to build into an event as big as the Twickenham Double Header, nothing could compare to the Six Nations' Super Saturday. 200 points scored over three games, with three nations chasing the title and tries raining in from every angle. 

Most Influential TMO Decision 
Nikola Matawalu thought he had scored against the hosts on the opening night of the World Cup only to be denied before the kicker took the conversion. Dan Biggar was mid run up against Bordeaux when the TMO was called. His conversion was successful but chalked off for the review, which concluded the try stood and Biggar missed the retake and the Ospreys lost by the narrowest of margins. It wasn’t as important as Nigel Owens signalling for the TMO during the Pro 12 playoffs between Ospreys and Munster. The Ospreys crossed the whitewash after the time was up to book their place in the final. Referee Owens thought he spotted a knock on in backplay and elation to turned to despair as he was proved right, the try was scratched off, the full time whistle blown and Munster progressed.

Prolific Texter of the Year
Mike Phillips. Here's two of his finest.

To Lloyd Williams after Williams was named as third choice scrum half ahead of Phillips:
"You've retired a legend."

To Dan Carter on his arrival at Phillips' club Racing 92:
"Hi Dan. Great news. Finally the world's best nine and 10 are going to play together."

Although Paul O'Connell was close when on the back of Phillips retiring he sent the Welsh scrum half a text saying, "I thought you'd retired two years ago."

Meg Ryan Award for Most Awkward Interview
England fullback Mike Brown for his one word answers, grunts and generally hurling his toys from his push chair after losing to Wales. #Awkward.

Family Feuds
Wales v England saw cousins Toby Faletau and the Vunipola brothers stand on either side of the halfway line twice this year. However, it was the two Princes coming head-to-head at Twickenham that really drew attention. William decked out in the red of Wales, Harry in the white of England. Belting out anthems and cheering tries it a proper sibling rivalry to enjoy.

Excitable Fan
Scott Quinnell is often excitable at the prospect of a Wales game, especially when the staff from Admiral insurance company. The Ireland fans watching Japan's incredible win over The Springboks at Cardiff's fanzone. A Japanese fan meeting Shane Williams in Cardiff made for compulsive viewing. None were as excitable as LA Welsh film star Ioan Gruffudd who screamed around his LA home in nothing but his pants as Wales beat England and set social media alight.

What Happens in Vegas...
The fantastic rock 'n' roll story of James "Cubby" Davies' trip to the Sin City.

Warrior 2015
Springboks backrower Schalk Burger came close to death when meningitis left him battling for his life. So serious was his illness his family were called to say their goodbyes, but Burger is a fighter and within two years was back in the green of the Springboks and competing on the World's biggest stage.

In 2015 we also lost the rock icon Lemmy. Here he is with the rest Motorhead performing their biggest hit, Ace of Spades, on The Young Ones.

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