Sunday Social: Juggling with Finn Russell, heartfelt goodbyes, sevens madness and Wallabies tennis

Jared Wright
It is time for Planet Rugby’s Sunday Social, your quirky recap of the serious and not so serious talking points from the past week’s action. Freddie Burns wallabies finn russell

It is time for Planet Rugby’s Sunday Social, your quirky recap of the serious and not so serious talking points from the past week’s action.

Goodbye, Freddie. It was an emotional week at Welford Road as the Leicester Tigers bid farewell to their 2021/22 Premiership final hero Freddie Burns, who will be joining the Highlanders for Super Rugby. The 32-year-old sat down with BBC Sport Leicester, where he read through some of the supporters’ tributes to him, one of which reduced him to tears.

Burns was given a well-deserved standing ovation on Saturday when he left the pitch in the 68th minute of the Tigers‘ 18-19 defeat to Northampton Saints.

Sticking with the fly-halves, Scotland and Racing 92 playmaker Finn Russell showed off his juggling ability. Russell has flaunted the skill in the past, but took it to another level in a recent interview with the Daily Mail.

From skills off the pitch to skills on them, Ox Nche showed that he is far more than a powerful scrummaging prop by making a wonderful break on the wing against Edinburgh. He fended off the attempted tackle from Ben Vellacott before finding Grant Williams in support. Superb!

The cake-loving prop certainly earned his treat through his performance against the Scottish side as the Sharks secured a narrow 19-22 victory.

Tighthead Jeff Toomaga-Allen was in fine form on Friday evening as Ulster cruised to a 35-5 victory over the Stormers. He scored a try in the win and was named man of the match for his performance. The former All Black is clearly enjoying his time in Belfast and couldn’t stop smiling during the post-match interview.

Staying with the props, Harlequins and Springbok tighthead Wilco Louw impressed the Stoltman brothers, Luke and Tom, dubbed the world’s strongest brothers. Louw shunted the scrum machine backwards with Tom and Luke on top, with the sled weighing 345kgs, according to the Premiership club.

Louw has been in excellent form for Quins recently and showed off his strength in-game with a superb lift on Stephan Lewies, who over-extended when plucking the ball out of the air.


The innovation from tap penalties continues! This time it was Japanese side, the Canon Eagles, who produced a new twist on the move with lock Kobus van Dyk tapping the ball before placing it on the ground for Faf de Klerk to scoop up. The Springbok scrum-half then drew one defender before putting SP Marais through for the try.

The sevens in Sydney this weekend produced two bizarre moments that exposed loopholes in rugby’s laws. The first was a try in South Africa’s match against Ireland. Jaiden Baron was out of the field of play when he kept the ball alive by kicking it before he crossed the line. Because he never had possession of the ball, the try stood as explained by EK rugby below.

The second came from Uruguay’s Guillermo Lijtenstein, who headed the ball forwards in the lead-up to a try against Spain. The try was allowed as the laws around knock-ons only mention the arm and hand as body parts that the ball can be knocked on with.

It was certainly an entertaining weekend in Sydney with a hilarious budgie smuggler race. The contestants had to sprint, down a milkshake, eat dry Weetabix and slot a drop goal, all in sandals!

We stay in Australia, where Nic White and Ned Hanigan caused a bit of a stir while attending the Australian Open tennis. Stan Sport interviewed the Wallabies duo before taking on a challenge where they were tasked with hitting tennis balls at a screen with a cutout of French referee Mathieu Raynal.

The RFU’s decision to lower the tackle height in the community game continued to be hotly debated throughout the week, with former All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams weighing in. Williams shared this clip highlighting the worst concussion he had in his career.

On a lighter note, Williams might consider another code switch after shining in league, union and professional boxing after displaying his basketball skills. He shared a clip of him nailing a long-range shot brilliantly. Nothing but net!

READ MORE: Six Nations preview: Warren Gatland’s return to take Wales to a third-place finish