GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA:There was so much rugby on this weekend that at times, we weren’t sure what to watch. But with the help of some fine food and finer libations from LoveScotch.com, we survived to bring you fast and furious updates on: The Heineken Cup, HSBC 7s, Americas Rugby Championship, and Currie, Amlin & ITM Cup action.
Gold Coast 7s: Fiji retained their Gold Coast 7s title from last year. The Flying Fijians, with essentially a brand new team, put in a solid performance over a New Zealand side lead by RWU friend DJ Forbes. Apparently, this was a sub-par performance for the All Black 7s squad, with some questioning not only Forbes as the captain but as even his making the team. Truth be told, New Zealand team is reloading. It has some new talent and will likely find its stride, as it did last year before winning the series.
Spain made everyone take notice as they won the Bowl. They beat the World Champion Wales side with wrecking ball Richie Pugh and then knocked down a less-then-impressive England side featuring RWU teammate, Mathew Drew Turner. Time to practice our Español and get an interview with their captain.
Meanwhile, the return of Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins from his hiatus, could not help Team USA. The team went 1-4 and lost the Shield final to Scotland. The loss of captain Shalom Suniula, brother to RWU friend Andrew, left the Eagles a bit rudderless despite some brilliant individual play.
14 Oct 2012 – 19:04 Fiji 32 – 14 New Zealand… Final Cup
14 Oct 2012 – 18:02 France 7 – 14 Argentina… Final Plate
14 Oct 2012 – 17:32 England 14 – 19 Spain… Final Bowl
14 Oct 2012 – 17:02 Scotland 40 – 5 United States… Final Shield
Heineken Cup: Round 1 of the Heineken Cup had some great rugby and interesting results. Ulster are looking extremely dangerous, as you would expect last year’s runners up to look. They seem to also have been strengthen in their bond since the Nevin Spence tragedy. Champions Leinster were extremely fortunate to escape with a shockingly close home win vs the very capable HEC newcomers, the Exeter Chiefs. Thanks in part to Johnny Sexton’s uncharacteristic misses on penalty kicks, Exeter had a chance at a draw with a match-ending penalty kick. It went wide, however.
Meanwhile the French giants Toulon and Toulouse also had impressive wins and look very strong. Also looking strong were Saracens – featuring Chris Wyles of TEAM USA – who steamed-rolled Edinburgh in Scotland… Racing Metro 92 upended Munster in a brilliant finish, but the tightest match was between Sale and Cardiff, with the Sharks prevailing. More tomorrow with our Expert Panel results.
Here are all the scores in an upset filled weekend:
Fri – 12th Oct 12
Pool 2 Ospreys 38 – 17 Benetton Treviso
Pool 4 Ulster 41 – 17 Castres
Sat – 13th Oct 12
Pool 1 Edinburgh 0 – 45 Saracens
Pool 1 Racing Metro 92 22 – 17 Munster
Pool 3 Zebre 10 – 19 Connacht
Pool 3 Harlequins 40 – 13 Biarritz
Pool 5 Leinster 9 – 6 Exeter
Pool 5 Clermont Auvergne 49 – 16 Scarlets
Sun – 14th Oct 12
Pool 2 Toulouse 23 – 9 Leicester
Pool 4 Northampton 24 – 15 Glasgow
Pool 6 Sale 34 – 33 Cardiff Blues
Pool 6 Toulon 37 – 16 Montpellier
AUSTRALIA: John O’Neill steps down after a combined 15 years (1996-2003, 2006-2012) as CEO of the Australia Rugby Union. O’Neill will step down at the end of the month. His major highlight included bringing the RWC to Australia and helping expand and grow Rugby Union in Australia. O’Neill made some friends and enemies during his time but his achievements have to be respected. The most immediate impact this has on the Wallabies is that O’Neill appointed Robbie Deans as the head coach so things might get even more uncomfortable for Deans.
The Currie Cup has reached its regular season conclusion. Round 10 confirmed the playoff positions and that The Sharks and the Lions would be hosts for the playoffs. Griquas finished 5th and the SA Super 15 franchise the Free State Cheetahs must play in the home-away relegation series against 1st Divison champs the EP Kings. The fact that Lions S15 Franchise was asked to stand down a year from the S15 and not the Cheetahs is looking more dubious. Hopefully Naka Drotske‘s time in Bloemfontein in charge of the Cheetahs will be over soon.
Sat October 13th
Cheetahs 36 – 15 Western Province
Blue Bulls 50 – 29 Lions
Griquas 3 – 43 Sharks
Semi-Finals: October 20th
Blue Bulls at Sharks
Western Province at Lions
Promotion/Relegation Game 1 of 2: October 20th
Free State Cheetahs v Eastern Province Kings
The ITM Cup: The regular season is over. The two-tiered competition has reached its semi-final rounds. The big surprise is Taranaki making the Premiership semi-final along with Wellington. Both provinces are part of the Super 15 Hurricanes franchise, which made for complaints from ‘Naki fans that their players are often overlooked for Wellington players. It will be interesting when the Super 15 squads and wider training groups are announced. Scores for both rounds:
09 Oct Counties Man 19-28 Tasman
10 Oct Hawke’s Bay 3-44 Canterbury
11 Oct Otago 19-24 Auckland
12 Oct Southland 17-11 Manawatu
13 Oct Northland 31-44 Counties Manukau
13 Oct Waikato 28-3 Hawke’s Bay
13 Oct Tasman 10-42 North Harbour
14 Oct Wellington 33-17 Taranaki
14 Oct Canterbury 63-22 Bay of Plenty
19 Oct Tasman at Otago
20 Oct Southland at Counties Manukau
20 Oct Taranaki at Canterbury
20 Oct Auckland at Wellington
The Americas Rugby Championship: The USA Select XV got off to a rough start to the 2012 edition of the ARC. Argentina proved to be too much for the USA to handle. The team didn’t play badly but the Yaguaretés were clinically strong. Every errant USA kick, missed penalty and dropped ball turned into points for Argentina. In the late game, Canada “A” proved to have more sizzle in the backs than Uruguay. The Teros were ready for a fight but Canada was able to do what Uruguay couldn’t – they couldn’t play an expansive game and win. In case you didn’t know, the ARC is a developmental tournament with each team sending its second team of primarily domestic players. No player can hold more than three caps.
2012 IRB Americas Rugby Championship
1089 Langford Parkway,
Argentina 39 – 3 USA
Canada 28 – 10 Uruguay
Argentina v Uruguay, kick off at 5:30pm PST
Canada v USA, kick off at 7:30pm PST
Amlin Challenge Cup: RWU favorites London Welsh got a rough introduction to European rugby by Stade Francias. Apparently, nobody told the French that the Welsh were the feel-good story in rugby. It was ugly… The most exciting match of the round was between the Italian side Calvisano and Agen; a very tight match that eventually went to Agen.
Complete score round-up goes as follows:
Thu – 11th Oct 12
Pool 1 Mont de Marsan 6 – 11 Gloucester
Fri – 12th Oct 12
Pool 3 Bayonne 71 – 7 Mogliano Rugby
Pool 5 Grenoble 59 – 3 Cavalieri Prato
Sat – 13th Oct 12
Pool 1 Bordeaux-Begles 16 – 43 London Irish
Pool 2 Rovigo 12 – 79 Perpignan
Pool 2 Bizkaia Gernika RT 5 – 85 Worcester
Pool 3 Wasps 38 – 25 Newport-Gwent D’gons
Pool 4 Bucuresti 17 – 40 Bath
Pool 4 Calvisano 31 – 36 Agen
Pool 5 London Welsh 19 – 68 Stade Francais
RWC 2015 Qualifying: Denmark played Andorra to a standstill, while Israel imposed itself on scrappy Serbian team. The Maccabees seem to be favorites to win 2B and get promoted.
2014 European Nations Cup – Pool Division 2B
13 Oct 2012 Denmark 6 – 6 Andorra
13 Oct 2012 Israel 48 – 22 Serbia
Before ending, we’d like to remind all our readers to see the Counter-Rucking Cancer fundraiser. It only takes a moment and anything you have to give is appreciated.
That is it for me for now. Please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats and @Mathew Drew Turner, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.