DUBLIN, IRELAND – The amount of chaos that happens in 48 rugby hours is crazy. Obviously, much of that has to do with Saturday being Rugby Day, and this weekend was loaded. I’m in Ireland for part of it and Declan Yeats and Kevin Fegan are likely on their way. But let’s get to the Wrap Up…
The Rugby Championship: The inaugural year of The Rugby Championship kicked off this past Saturday. Oddly it was with one of the oldest rivalries in the game; Wallabies v. All Blacks, in a fight for one of the oldest trophies, Lord Bledisloe’s Cup. I had back the Aussies for a surprise victory at home and I was made to eat crow. Never again will I give the Crims the benefit of the doubt. SBW (Sonny Bill Williams) at 12 and Ma’a Nonu at 13 didn’t seem to damage the Kiwi attack with the Blackness winning 27-19. Meanwhile, in The Republic (SA), The Mighty Bokke proved me right. They handled a fired-up (but jet-lagged) Argie team 27-6. The Argies did not seem phased by the loss, though, and truth be told they acquitted themselves quite well. The injury toll to all of the teams after this round is still being counted, but it looks like each team will be missing some star power for Round 2. David Pocock is questionable for Australia and Bismarck Du Plesiss out for the rest of the year for South Africa. That’s a big blow.
The Currie Cup: In Round 2 action, The Currie Cup continued this week with the Cheetahs, Western Province and Sharks winning over The Blue Bulls, Griquas and Lions, respectively.
The College All Americans: The US College AAs finished their tours this week. The 7s team was in San Diego for The National All-Star Sevens, meanwhile The 15s side played Leinster Academy. The 15s side lost a hard fought match 29-14, to finish the tour 1-1. The 7s team did well out west and finished strong to beat the Northeast 38-21 to win the tournament, outright.
Ireland 2023: This is why I’m in Ireland, waiting for fellow RWU contributors Fegan and Yeats to show. It is about Ireland 2023. The IRFU, with what appears to be the support of both the both the Republic and Northern Irish governments, may bid to host RWC 2023. It appears they have even gotten the Gaelic Football Assoc. to agree to matches in their stadiums, including Croke Park for the final. Ireland is expected to be up against Argentina for 2023, with a possible dark horse bid from the USA – hoped for by some in the IRB. More on this story as it develops. If Ireland wins, there won’t be enough craic to go around!
In Case You Missed it: Important news came out of South Africa, Argentina and England:
South Africa S15 – It appears the Southern Kings will be involved in the S15 next year. The SARU have decreed that the Lions will drop for one year to accommodate them. At the end of the 2013 season, there will be a promotion/relegation match between the worst SA team in S15 and the Lions. The Lions can still appeal but likely won’t. This sounds brilliant and best that can happen all things considered.
English RFU: The RFU has announced that Sir Ian McGeechan (Rugby legend) and Peter Keen (UK Sport’s Director of Performance) have been hired as consultants to conduct and independent review of Elite Rugby in England. Rob “Squeaky” Andrew should be worried – his run of miracle escapes may be at an end.
HSBC 7s: The Union de Argentina Rugby (UAR) announced that they would be postponing the Argentina leg of the HSBC 7s Tour. The UAR stated, “… the logistical challenges are too significant to successfully deliver an event this year that is beneficial for all stakeholders and we would like to thank the IRB for their support and understanding in this matter.”