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Monday Mar 10, 2014

Leigh Halfpenny injured making brave try-saving tackle on Luther Burrell

Leigh Halfpenny injured making brave try-saving tackle on Luther Burrell
35
Comments

Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny won’t take any further part in the Six Nations after he injured his shoulder during Wales’ 29-18 loss to England on Sunday. Halfpenny left the field after making a brave try-saving tackle on 6ft3 England centre Luther Burrell.

As if this year’s campaign couldn’t get more disappointing for Wales, Halfpenny is now out for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder. Scrumhalf Rhys Webb also left the field with an injury.

“Leigh has dislocated his shoulder and that is him gone for the rest of the season,” said coach Warren Gatland. “We are not sure about Rhys, but it’s Leigh’s season over anyway.”

Halfpenny kicked all of Wales’ points, but he’ll take no further part in the tournament and will likely be replaced by Liam Williams, who was penalised within minutes of coming on against England.

Burrell, who has had an impressive start to his Test career, nearly crossed again but a foot in touch, due to the strong tackle by Halfpenny, meant he wasn’t able to finish off an exciting bit of play.

It wasn’t a technically sound tackle, but Halfpenny’s commitment is what prevented the try. It also ended his season though, meaning he has played his final match for the Cardiff Blues (in January) ahead of his move to Toulon next season. He will be there for at least two seasons.

Wales play Scotland in Cardiff in this coming weekend. The team will be announced on Tuesday.

35 Comments

  •  drg
    drg
    12:17 AM 15/03/2014

    Don't worry, Dan's a girl and he knows a fair bit :D

    Reply
  •  lucydarmanin
    lucydarmanin
    10:52 PM 14/03/2014

    Agreed - but if Gatland really wants to focus on the WC, you might find some regular faces missing from the squad so the new boys get more experience... God knows they need it.. It's what I would do even if we lost the games, sometimes you learn more by losing than winning....

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp
    10:09 AM 14/03/2014

    Christ Lucy, if you've come here for serious discussions you're going to be mighty disappointed.

    Reply
  •  aj_capote
    aj_capote
    4:17 PM 13/03/2014

    Two points: 1) What people are disregarding here is that this was 70 minutes in, Wales had been run ragged by this point, and Halfpenny probably wasn't thinking 'hmmm let me make sure my tackle technique was right' he was racing back in desperation to stop a try! Full marks for commitment. 2) If he hadn't made such an epic tackle, we could've been looking at one of the tries of the 6N surely?! What awesome handling from Burrell, Nowell, Lawes and 12Ts!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    10:49 PM 12/03/2014

    Not entirely sure how you can compare the two? Both Lewsey and JOC's tackle were made from the rear quarter of the attacking player, 1/2p's tackle was made from the front quarter... The only way they can be comparable is if Lewsey/JOC overtook the tackler and came in from the front. OR if 1/2p let Burrell pass him and tackled from behind. 1/2p is a solid player but my money is going to be on Burrell's power and size. A bit extra, 1/2p dislocated his right shoulder, didn't damage his neck at all.. so I'm not entirely sure how him hitting with his left shoulder would have prevented any injury (unless of course we delve into realms of pre existed shoulder conditions etc) so all in all we're disagreeing on something potentially irrelevant.. 1/2p tackled badly and got injured with his leading shoulder but also prevented the try...

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt
    2:27 PM 12/03/2014

    Being a scrum half would though, they don't know anything about tackling

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt
    2:25 PM 12/03/2014

    I'm fully behind promoting good form. But one of the commentators in the 1/2p tackle said that if you get your head in front (i.e. wrong) it shunts them and jars there progress, if you get your head behind, they lose their legs, but continue to fall. And in 1/2p's situation, he couldn't allow Burrell to fall and reach, he had to try and shunt him off the pitch

    Reply
  •  benji
    benji
    1:13 PM 12/03/2014

    The fact you used inverted commas makes me question whether you are a girl.. :s Agree with you though, injuries do happen. Would we say avoid contact with someone whose bigger and faster than you just because the risks are higher? No, the sport commends bravery and when it pays off it can be as rewarding as scoring. If he had faffed trying to change position and missed the tackle he would have so much weight on his shoulders it would probably dislocate anyway!

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    10:55 AM 12/03/2014

    Very similar tackles that offer easy comparison.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    10:02 AM 12/03/2014

    ...now letting the backs have an opinions is just pushing it too far.. ;)

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    8:08 AM 12/03/2014

    before many of you wonder why a 'girl' is commentingWell seeing as you put it in inverted commas..... I usually play in the backs too, but I've been assured I'm entitled to express an opinion just as much as the fatties.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    10:06 PM 11/03/2014

    I read your comment as if it was written by a fan and/or a player of the sport - I didn't actually notice the name... Don't worry, gender does not make your comment any less or more valid.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    10:02 PM 11/03/2014

    Again, as I said in length above the tackles provided by Stroudos are different as they are from behind... you cannot easily compare...

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp
    4:28 PM 11/03/2014

    I think the clear and obvious difference is whose body is being put on the line. Yours, no problem. The person you are tackling, not so much.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    3:46 PM 11/03/2014

    Exactly. People used to rave and cheer in the same way each time Jonny Wilkinson broke himself in the name of heroic tackling. Interestingly enough, from the limited amount I've seen of him since he moved to Toulon, he seems to have adjusted his tackling technique a little - he's still very effective but I believe he's less reckless now.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    3:37 PM 11/03/2014

    Excellent.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    3:36 PM 11/03/2014

    You're quite right and for proof, I (re-)present the following: Exhibit A: http://www.rugbydump.com/2007/04/85/josh-lewseys-try-saving-tackle-on-jean-de-villiers Exhibit B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJqc8JGwWXY

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    3:32 PM 11/03/2014

    Ha, got one! Did you read the first 4-5 words of my comment? Of course I'm not seriously suggesting a citing, it was just a way of making a point. But I do take issue with your comment, among others, which celebrate this tackle for its commitment and passion, where in actual fact his injury was almost inevitable precisely because of the type of tackle he executed. "Putting his body on the line" is admirable up to a point and then it becomes irresponsible and reckless.

    Reply
  •  aero
    aero
    2:22 PM 11/03/2014

    I feel if he's hit with his other shoulder he could have knocked him back from the tryline instead of joining his momentum towards it?

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy
    2:09 PM 11/03/2014

    I just think it was an incrdibly brave tackle. No sense of selve-preservation, just trying to stop your opponent from scoring a try. Huge respect for him, memories of Mad Dog Moody come to mind.

    Reply
  •  roy
    roy
    2:08 PM 11/03/2014

    (IMHO) Ithink you're right. This had a better chance of saving the try, but higher risk of injury. Sad..:-(

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    10:50 AM 11/03/2014

    I really wasn't trying to imply that anyone attempting the last man tackle should forget all basics and throw head/neck/everything in as 1/2p appeared to do but in comparing the two tackles the main points that cropped up in favour of my comment are: 1) As you mentioned, there was no way for Lewsey to GET in front so his options were limited to performing that cracking hit! 2) Lewsey hit JDV at about 5-6 metres out from the try line. 1/2p made the hit at 4-5 metres out from the try line. 3) Just the angles are all different - 1/2p is not steaming across, he is sort of sweeping behind the other defenders, so he ends up in front of Burrell. 4) Just added this one, if you look at both players JDV and Burrell, they both brace for the impact, Burrell however leans forward and into 1/2p with all of himself, whereas JDV appears that all that he can do in that position is lean his upper body in 'sideways' which wouldn't have allowed him to brace quite as hard... Both the tackles above JOC and Lewsey were tackles from behind it is also totally evident that Bowe (was it?) was out of steam, whereas Burrell was like a tank that day. Anyway, you are completely correct in promoting good form so as to limit player injury, it is only my thoughts that on the day I don't feel 1/2p given his field positions etc (which could be at fault?) would have been able to stop Burrell from dotting down on the line had he gone for the legs. Just watching the game I felt Burrell had too much over 1/2p. Oh and last but not least... We are talking about Lewsey here, he is somewhat renowned for his tackling - At least to a certain Aussie fella!

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    10:21 AM 11/03/2014

    Yeah, that was a beauty. Same technique and execution as Lewsey's too. The physical match-up is actually extremely similar, (according to Wikipedia at least): Lewsey 1.80m 87kg v De Villiers 1.90m 103kg Halfpenny 1.78m 85kg v Burrell 1.91m 104kg As you said, Lewsey had to push De Villiers a greater distance to reach the touchline, so had to get a really good nudge on him. The point discussed above was whether you generate more power by getting yourself in front of the attacking player - seems pretty evident from both Lewsey and O'Connor tackles that this is not necessarily the case. Lewsey getting himself in front of De Villiers wasn't an option, but even if it was it would not be a better option.

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt
    10:02 AM 11/03/2014

    That is probably my favourite piece of defence ever (second place goes to JOC in RWC 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJqc8JGwWXY) But, I don't think it compares to what Halfpenny had to do here. For a start Lewsey is considerably larger, and a hell of a lot more physical. He also had a lot more space in which to finish the tackle, granted the touchline was further away as well. And he was approaching from a much narrower angle than Halfpenny, meaning getting himself in front of De Villiers wasn't an option.

    Reply
  •  matt
    matt
    9:56 AM 11/03/2014

    I think you've covered that pretty well

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    8:24 AM 11/03/2014

    Arguably trolling a bit here, but I wonder if there's a case for a citing against Halfpenny here, for risking serious neck/shoulder injury through inappropriate tackling technique. I mean this is precisely the reason why players are picking up bans for tip tackles, is it not?

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    8:14 AM 11/03/2014

    I'll just say that if I had to tackle Burrell's size moving at that speed, I'd be more comfortable using my shoulder than my head to stop him. For any aspiring relatively small fullbacks reading, here's a demonstration / reminder of how to tackle a big rampaging centre (Lewsey on De Villiers, 2006): http://www.rugbydump.com/2007/04/85/josh-lewseys-try-saving-tackle-on-jean-de-villiers I suggest this is pretty conclusive evidence that you can indeed get enough force into the tackle without injuring yourself by getting your head on the wrong side.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    1:08 AM 11/03/2014

    Facepalm, I see your point, but I suppose it's a case of never giving up. It is sad to see 1/2p suffer such an injury for; dare I say it, no reason *ducks from Welsh abuse* - at least from a final whistle point of view. Then again, we've all been fooled by the bounce of the ball, so you never know what that try saver COULD have meant in the next 5 minutes of the game. But of course, looking back, that tackle would be far more suited to the 80th minute of a match in which Wales were leading by 1 point to win every trophy known to the rugby world and 1/2p gets injured but saves the day. As for the technique, I of course wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but I'm glad people have seen what I was getting at.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    12:58 AM 11/03/2014

    Pipo I wouldn't say this tackle is 'better' as such... in fact it's a pretty awful tackle in terms of technique - said the amateur to Halfpenny the professional... But what I was getting at with my initial comment was that in theory if 1/2p used his LEFT shoulder to make the hit (regardless of which is his stronger shoulder) then his body will end up behind Burrell and then I suspect the momentum gained by Burrell would've/could've/should've carried him forward over the try line leaving 1/2p holding onto his legs - which could have possibly still been a try saver if his legs had been dragged out. But, what it looks like 1/2p has done here as best as he can is locked himself tight and driven just in front of Burrell sort of forcing Burrell to go around 1/2p, which in this case seems like a more effective method of getting the player into touch. It's a little hard to describe and perhaps someone else can have a better attempt at describing it.. As I said a little up there, a perfectly good technique might still have resulted in a try saving tackle but this probably had a better chance.

    Reply
  •  pipo
    pipo
    12:24 AM 11/03/2014

    [and just to clarify, of course the injury to Halfpenny is sad; an injury to any player is always sad but more so in this case, with him playing so well recently, he didn't miss a kick during the match! did he? I just want someone to explain why they think a good, technically-correct tackle could not have done the job]

    Reply
  •  pipo
    pipo
    12:15 AM 11/03/2014

    First of all, disclaimer, I've never played at this level, not even close to it, not even far actually, hahaha. Still, from my experience playing rugby, a good (from a technical poitn of view) tackle would have still prevented the try. I actually feel I can resist much heavier weight if I put in the right shoulder 'cause (1) my shoulder is better at that than my head and (2) I have a better body position to drive with my legs if I get in the right shoulder. Can someone explain me how is this kind of tackle better? And even if it is (maybe just for desperate tackles on the line like Halfpenny is making a habit of), is it really worth it to risk a shoulder, or neck or even worse injury?

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm
    10:55 PM 10/03/2014

    Very good point. If you don't get your head on the wrong side you can't get all of your body behind the tackle. As you said the try probably would've been scored otherwise. Although from a Welsh perspective I'm not sure it was really worth it. Halfpenny is a small guy for an international player and he's really making a habit of this technique. I seem to remember when Wales played Australia a few years ago, in the final play of the game Australia scored a winning try and Halfpenny ended up getting pretty much knocked out. Colombes mentioned the almost identical tackle on Strettle 2 years ago leaving him pretty dazed. It's commendable to see someone so willing to put their body on the line for their country, but how long is it before we see something even more serious than a dislocated shoulder.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp
    9:43 PM 10/03/2014

    I'd be interested to know the answer to this from a medical perspective. I would imagine that, unless he has a history of shoulder dislocations (which I'm not aware of) then he would probably be reasonably strong due to his conditioning and 'pre-hab'. He certainly put in a brave tackle. It was a shame to see him leave the field and I'd wish him a speedy and full recovery. He's a quality player. Maybe a bit of a rest before the World Cup will do him some good, he's had a long season!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    9:19 PM 10/03/2014

    Makes you wonder if his body has taken some strain over the relatively short years and whether had he done this exact tackle on Burrell two years ago he'd have been fine? Interesting point, a lot of people might comment on poor technique regarding his head being on the wrong side, but perhaps he wouldn't have stopped that try had his head been on the other side? In other words he put enough of himself between Burrell and the try line to force Burrell out.

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes
    9:07 PM 10/03/2014

    Exemplar player who never fear to put his body on the line 2 years ago, still vs england, i remember he did the same cover tackle on Strettle.

    Reply


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