WEST GHANA/USA – We had another hectic 48 hours in the world of rugby with the Super 15s, Premiership 7s, HSAAs, RWC 7s, England 2015 Qualifiers, Wales Coaches climbing the global rugby ladder… strap in as we go around the world in 8 minutes.
Super 15 Season Playoffs: The vaunted 2nd season of Super 15s rugby – the playoffs – have started. This weekend the Queensland Reds were at home against the Sharks and the Crusaders home to the Bulls. The Crusaders won 28-13 and the Sharks won 30-17. This sets up local Derby Semi-finals. The Sharks will face the Stormers in Cape Town in an all-South Africa affair, while the Crusaders face the Chiefs in Hamilton in the all-New Zealand affair.
JP Morgan 7s – The second round of play for the JP Morgan 7s is over. In a huge upset and maybe signs of things to come in 15s, London Welsh dispatched all their opponents to finish 3-0 with a bonus point in each match. They faced the Sale Sharks, Northampton Saints & Leicester Tigers.
Howley/Gatland and Wales –With it almost a certainty that Warren Gatland will be named the Head Coach of the 2013 Lions tour, the Welsh have made the logical move: Rob Howley will take over as Wales head coach for the Autumn 2012 Tours and the 2013 6 Nations. As Gatland will be doing much player-scouting and assessment for the Lions, this seemed the right call. Howley recently took on the Head Coach role during Wales summer tour of Australia, while Gatland was out do to injuries occurred making home improvements back in NZ.
USA High School All-Americans – The USA HSAAs continued their 5-game tour of South America but had there first adversity in a shocking loss to the Uruguay U-19s, 17-15. One could argue there may have been too much tinkering with the lineup, but all these kids need a chance to play to really see what they can do. The boys are now 2-1 so far with 2 games left. It’s a great experience for all those involved.
Sevens RWC 2013 Qualifying – Portugal beat Spain 7-5 in the Cup bracket of Portugal 7s Tournament to book their place for the 7s RWC next year. Scotland won the Plate and also secured their place. In case you were wondering, RWU pundit Mathew Drew Turner and England, along with Russia (7s RWC hosts) and Wales (defending champions) are guaranteed a place, so they skipped the trip.
As of right now, there are 14 nations have now qualified for the 7s RWC men’s tournament – 9 automatically (based on the HSBC 7s circuit standings) – and 10 places are still available through the remaining regional qualifiers.
Men’s qualifying process for RWC Sevens 2013:
Europe – Portugal, Spain, France, Georgia, Scotland qualified
Oceania – August 25-26, Sydney, Australia
North America/Caribbean – August 25-26, Ottawa, Canada
Africa – September 28-30, Marrakesh, Morocco
Asia – November 2-3, Singapore
South America – February 23-24, Rio de Janeiro
England 2015 qualifying, Africa – Besides perennial powerhouse South Africa, the only other African nations to qualify for the World Cup are Zimbabwe, Namibia and Ivory Coast. Les Elephants were the only country not on the southern half of Africa to qualify back in 1995. Ivory Coast are the favorites to take the CAR (Confederation de African Rugby) 1C championships featuring Botswana,Mauritius, Cameroon, Zambia and Nigeria. The tournament will be held in Botswana, with 2 pools of 3 and the two top teams of each pool facing off for the Championship and the right to move up to 1B. The matches will take place on Sunday (7/22), Wednesday (7/25) and Saturday (7/28).
Please Note: Previously it was stated that Madagascar won CAR 1C, in actuality it was CAR 1B. Sorry for the confusion.