The all-star rugby team made up of British and Irish players knew their three test matches against reigning world champion South Africa would be tough – and they were right, losing the series 2-1. Yet before Saturday’s decisive defeat inflicted in the closing minutes of the game, Irish rugby star Connor Murray obtained a bit of advance payback: shellacking what a Reddit contributor says was a South African TV drone with a bull’s-eye warm-up kick.
Practice rugby kick scores direct hit on purported TV drone
Murray’s drone-bashing kick came before the bumper match between host South Africa and the British and Irish Lions, a selection of top flight rugby players from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. The squad is typically assembled during the off-season summer months for tours against Southern Hemisphere heavyweights New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Those are usually brutal, hard-fought affairs, and the Lions’ recent bust-up with the Springboks proved no exception (though not the pugilistic jamboree of the 1974 tour and its infamous “Call 99” free-for-all).
The Lions won the first contest on July 24 22-17, with South Africa storming back during the July 31 game 27-9. That set up Saturday’s decisive match, which was preceded by obligatory chirping from both sides via media reports and Twitter feeds. Predictions the battle would be tight proved correct. The lead went back and forth until two minutes out, when the Springboks went ahead for good on a penalty kick by Morne Styne – who did precisely the same thing to secure the series victory during the two nation’s 2009 series.
Irish scrum-half Murray must have been feeling some prescient vibes of that looming frustration when he was warming up. Murray isn’t typically called upon to kick penalties or the two-point conversions taken after tries. Yet game situations do occasionally thrust him into that role, which is why he’s among players who take practice shots before matches.
Perhaps reflective of those relatively limited kicking skills, an aerial video showed Murray focused on booting balls from directly in front of the goal posts while surrounding teammates took shots from a variety of tougher angles and distances. But Murray’s kicking abilities earned some additional respect for accuracy during that warm-up, with one Reddit contributor posting a video cheering his ability to “take out a drone.”
Nice shot, but the “drone” was probably a suspended camera
The resounding whap sent the camera into a spin, and caused no little surprise from on-field commentators providing pre-game color. It also generated a bit of mischievous glee from participants of the Reddit thread, ranging from “This is probably something that Murray tries every time he sees one of those things” to “RIP Drone,” and the less than impressed, “Well at least he did something on the tour.” He may have done even less than thought, however.
Generally speaking, drones are only used by pro or international sports to film practice sessions or for other documentation purposes – not in broadcasts (though there are some exceptions). The National Football League is a prime example of that operational dichotomy. In most cases, deployment of the craft during contests is formally prohibited for safety reasons – a ban so tightly policed that reports of Major League Baseball planning to use them to broadcast this week’s “Field of Dreams” game turned heads.
In reality, Murray’s blast probably took out a spider camera, and even then, only temporarily – as a resuming video feed suggests once the device had stopped spinning. Still, the doomed drone theory is a fun, if improbable yarn – and also more evidence of why all information spread via social media is best not be taken at face value.
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