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The Biggest Hits in World Rugby This Week: Referees Take a Battering

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2013

The Biggest Hits in World Rugby This Week: Referees Take a Battering

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Being a rugby referee at the elite level is a dangerous profession, as was found out by the officials overseeing games in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere this weekend.

    The Heineken Cup, Amlin Challenge Cup and Gold Coast Sevens tournament gave spectators a very welcome distraction from the different league campaigns, with individuals other than the players sustaining damage.

    Whether it's with or without the ball, big or small, let's look at the meatiest collisions from the world of rugby from the past seven days—ranked for your viewing pleasure.

    Like many things in life, it's hard to know exactly what makes for that perfect rugby hit, but you certainly know it when you see it. 

Honourable Mention 1: Anthony Moyes Gets Swept at Sevens

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    Two words sum up the tackle that referee Anthony Moyes got involved in at the Gold Coast Sevens this weekend.

    Face. Floor.

    Overseeing a tight encounter between England and France, the Australian native had his world taken to the basement floor in a hurry thanks to some positioning that was far from ideal.

    On his Twitter bio, Moyes describes himself as a part-time poet.

    He's never to forget his fall at the Robina Stadium, where he came tumbling down like a crumbling geranium.

    That works, right? 

Honourable Mention 2: Ref Cam Takes One for the Team

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    Ever wondered what it's like to get tackled by a world-class rugby player? Thanks to ref cam, those desires no longer have to go unfulfilled.

    This week's televised Heineken Cup fixture between Exeter and Cardiff Blues was disappointing for the Welsh visitors, despite an admirable second-half comeback.

    However, one comical moment for the losers to take some comfort in was seeing Jerome Garces get a little too close to the action.

    The Frenchman's pain is felt through the eye of the lens for all those watching at home, too. 

5. Martin Bustos Moyano Dump Tackled by Fabien Gengenbacher

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    Last Thursday's all-French fixture between Bayonne and Grenoble got off to a blistering start thanks in large part to some fine attacking, but some fine defending as well.

    Within 30 seconds, visiting fullback Fabien Gengenbacher had already registered the game's first dump tackle, easing Martin Bustos Moyano out of play in ox-like fashion.

    It mattered little as the hosts would eventually go on to rout their rivals by a 37-6 scoreline, earning a tremendous result to begin their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign.

4. Maama Vaipulu Destroys Scott Eade

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    Counties Manukau asserted their dominance as the Premiership outfit battled against Southland this week, running out a 25-7 victory over their Championship opponents.

    As Maama Vaipulu showed in the 37th minute, this was in no small part down to the good work put in at the breakdown by the Pukekohe hosts.

    Unfortunately for halfback Scott Eade, this was simply a case of brawn over brain, where the Southland player was left exposed at the ruck and swiftly punished for his side's lack of good cover. 

3. Nick Williams Teaches Niall Morris Not to Go Low

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    After a fine 2012/13 season, Nick Williams got his 2013/14 Heineken Cup trials off to a great start, playing a big part in Ulster's 22-16 win over Leicester Tigers.

    The operative word there being "big."

    Williams trucked Niall Morris in textbook fashion to put the Irish home team over the gain line, providing a great morale boost just as things were at their tightest.

    The 29-year-old New Zealander is known for his vast qualities when carrying ball in hand and taught fullback Morris a valuable lesson in the process.

    When Nick Williams has momentum on his side, it's best just to get out of the way.

2. Sean O'Brien Rejects Dan Biggar with Monstrous Palm

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    The stiff arm that's been seen around the world this weekend, Sean O'Brien's hand off to Ospreys' Dan Biggar has made the rounds as a magnificent piece of attacking rugby.

    Called the Tullow Tank for a reason, the British and Irish Lion back-rower fuelled the reputation and gave young Irish farmers everywhere hope of one day becoming as dominant as him.

    In the end, Leinster would run to a memorable Heineken Cup victory at the Liberty Stadium, and it was in no small part thanks to glimpses of magic such as this. 

1. Seremaia Burotu Annihilates Joe Ford

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    Veering on the edge of illegal, Seremaia Burotu left Joe Ford as a heap of wreckage on the floor this weekend, paying little attention to safety in Biarritz's Challenge Cup clash with Sale Sharks.

    Older brother to Bath's George Ford, the 23-year-old fell victim to the towering Fijian, who came up out of his line with precision timing but failed to really wrap his arms in the tackle.

    Unsurprisingly, Ford was knocked for six and the whole crowd was left with mouths agape at the brutality that occurred at the AJ Bell Stadium.

    (Thanks to @JamieDay15 for the find.) 

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