Scrum Sevens
Not big, not clever
July 1, 2010
Ronan O'Gara walks from the field after being assaulted by Duncan McRae, NSW Waratahs v British and Irish Lions, Sydney Football Stadium, June 23, 2001
Ronan O'Gara trudges from the field after taking a beating from Duncan McRae in 2001 © Getty Images

The quietest weekend of the rugby calendar is almost upon us with the northern hemisphere sides preparing for a bit of sun and sand and their southern rivals gearing up for the all-out warfare of the Tri-Nations.

As much as we would have loved to have brought you some epic clashes between Uganda and Kenya from previous years - we thought you would appreciate a re-visit to an old favourite a little more. Last year we brought you a collection of some of rugby's grubbier moments, in an innocent time before Clapham joke shops took bulk orders from the Stoop, so with a brief lull in proceedings here are a few more punch-ups to make you wince, with a couple of classics thrown in for good measure.

One in, all in

Dinamo Bucaresti and Farul Constata, take a bow. In terms of mindless, witless brawls this dust-up from the Romanian championship takes some beating. Pun absolutely intended. While you're watching the sides scrap their way from the 22 across half-way, keep one thought fresh: why didn't the centre run in and score?

Guard up

Taranaki replacement Tomasi Soqeta introduced himself to former All Black flanker Chris Masoe with a straight right during the quarter-final of the Air New Zealand Cup in 2008. Duck and weave, duck and weave…

Nice try, Mike

The 1996 Bledisloe Cup contest between the All Blacks and Wallabies in Brisbane was decided by a late try to superb centre Frank Bunce. The All Black midfielder had earlier been subjected to a few entirely unprovoked jabs from Aussie No.8 Mike Brial - who got points for effort, but less for execution.

Vintage Cudmore

Here at Scrum we have a great deal of affection for Clermont Auvergne's Canadian forward Jamie Cudmore. A player cut from the 'never a dull moment' mould, his flagrant aggression makes him an often brilliant back-five forward and a favourite for those who enjoy Jim Telfer's 'stoosh'. Here, our Jamie meets Munster's Paul O'Connell in a Heineken Cup tie at Thomond Park, earning one of his favourite red cards.

Johnno in hot water

Martin Johnson's glower has become feature of Twickenham's stands in recent seasons, replacing the time when his glower graced the turf. Back in his playing days the England manager was a confrontational presence, shown here as he takes aim at Saracens hooker Robbie Russell while on duty for Leicester. He apologised but was banned by the RFU for three weeks, appealing on the basis that he couldn't be punished for the same offence twice, having been shown yellow in the game. His ban stood, but inbetween he found time to lead England to defeat against France.

Duncan McRae, meet Ronan O'Gara

One of the most widely referenced bouts of foul play in the modern game saw NSW Waratahs fullback Duncan McRae set upon British and Irish Lions fly-half Ronan O'Gara during a tour match at Sydney Football Stadium in June 2001, raining blows down on a prone O'Gara as play went on.

Once the referee deigned to intervene, McRae was given his marching orders as O'Gara stumbled from the field a bloody mess. McRae was banned for seven weeks after the incident, but as it was during the Australian off-season he escaped without missing a single competitive game.

The pair came face to face again in 2004, when O'Gara's Munster faced McRae's new club, Gloucester, in the Heineken Cup. "I can't see how he will apologise to me at this stage, but if he comes up to me and wants to shake my hand, I'll have no problem," O'Gara told The Independent at the time.

Ackford mauled by a Puma

Now a respected rugby journalist, Paul Ackford previously was a lock for England and the Lions. During a Test against Argentina at Twickenham in 1990 Ackford found himself on the wrong end of a punch from Pumas prop Federico Mendez. Mendez, 18 at the time, was winning only his second cap.

Following a scrap between the respective front rows Mendez took it upon himself to get involved, flattening an unsuspecting Ackford with a haymaker as he waited for the referee to tidy up. The England lock's uncomfortable exit was completed with a spot-on impression of Bambi taking to the ice as he stumbled from the field.

Mendez was duly given his marching orders as the Pumas lost 51-0, but would redeem himself by going on to play at three World Cups and winning 75 caps for his country.


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