America loses it over NRL savagery
Cameron Munster was hit so hard on the weekend even America felt his pain.
The NRL star became an unwitting internet sensation when he was absolutely poleaxed by Manly's Jorge Taufua in Melbourne's 36-6 win over the Sea Eagles at Lottoland and it's got sports fans Stateside wondering what the deal is with this thing called rugby league.
Munster received an inside ball on a break 20m out from Manly's line but was stopped in his tracks and buried into the turf by Taufua's pile-driver, which has now gone viral in the US.
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American sports website Bleacher Report posted a video of the bone-jarring hit on its Twitter account on Wednesday morning (AEST) and it quickly racked up nearly 200,000 views as intrigued social media users from the northern hemisphere wondered what sport permits that type of savagery without any padded protection like they have in the NFL.
"Couple million Americans just found another existing sport," one wrote.
Another said: "WTF is this sport?"
"With no pads omg that's an assault charge," someone else added.
Bleacher Report's post came after Taufua's monstrous hit found its way onto the Instagram account of House of Highlights, which shares clips of predominantly American sports to its 14 million followers.
The tackle attracted the attention of NBA stars Bradley Beal and JR Smith. Beal wrote "NOOOOOO" while Smith simply said: "Damn."
Munster noticed the global hype and responded to Beal, saying: "@bradbeal3 That moment I realised I f***ed up."
The Instagram clip received more than two million views and the comments left behind by stunned Americans were in the same vein as those that appeared on Bleacher Report's Twitter thread.
"That's a ban for life in the NFL," one person wrote.
Taufua sent the local fans wild when he landed the blow and who knows, maybe his new-found fame on the other side of the world could lead to him becoming the next NRL star to cross codes to the NFL.
"The crowd was roaring, they were going crazy," Taufua said. "I feel it can pick up our team. I hope it can change the game.
"I was trying to keep cool. It's good to have that defensive mentality - I just go off instinct. I just did my best and gave it my all.
"As he played the ball, I kind of tapped his head and said: 'Are you good?' He said, 'Yeah man, I'm sweet'.
"I'm not a grubby player after those kinds of hits. I am always wary about the welfare of the player. Some come up and shake my hand and say: 'You got me, man'. There is a lot of mutual respect out there.
"It's good to be that solid defender on the wing. If I can pull it off, I hope he (Manly coach Des Hasler) is happy."