Weekend Wrap-up: The Rugby Championship, Aviva Prem, Top 14, Rabodirect 12, Currie Cup, ITM Cup, RWC 2015 & 2013

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Richie McCaw & The Rugby Championship Trophy
Blaber

LA PLATA – First off, please be sure to see Pyk O’Kallapfer’s Top 14 Review – it’s solid. That said, let’s get to our Weekend Rugby Wrap-Up. We’ll start with The Rugby Championship.

The Rugby Championship:
The All Blacks are the official champions of the inaugural Rugby Championship. New Zealand had been winning without looking dominant, save maybe the shutout in NZ of Australia. However, they found their edge on the road in La Plata. The starting wingers scored 5 tries between the pair of them as part of a 7 try emphatic victory of the hapless hosts Argentina, final score 54-12.

Meanwhile in South Africa, another winger was having a return to form. That winger was Bryan Habana. Although he has always worked hard, he was finally rewarded with a hat-trick as South Africa beat Australia 31-8. It was a complete Man of the Match performance from Habana, who is fighting to remain in the discussion about greatest wingers of the Pro Era. Unfortunately,  Habana will always be remembered by USA rugby fans for getting left for dead by Takudzwa Ngwenya in the Official Try of 2007 RWC. Ngwenya was signed by Biarritz shortly following the RWC because of that try.

Quade Cooper Saga:
The Wallabies defeat on Sunday was compounded by even more injuries. Indeed, going into the match the list of injured players was long enough to make its own team – including subs. The two most significant injuries were to Adam Ashley-Cooper and Berrick Barnes. It appears that Robbie Deans won’t be able to draft in Quade Cooper though as Quade has refused to return to play for the Wallabies while Deans is still there.

Aviva Premiership: Round 5 of The English Domestic Rugby season is complete and the RWU staff team,the London Welsh didn’t win again, but did get a losing bonus point and move up from last place to 11th and above Wasps. I know I picked them to be relegated, but I am very much rooting for them.

Northampton 24 – 6 Wasps
Worcester 35 – 11 London Irish
Leicester 30 – 8 Exeter
Bath 31 – 10 Sale
Harlequins 16 – 18 Saracens
London Welsh 25 – 31 Gloucester

French Top 14: Again, see Pyk’s Top 14 Review… Round 7 of the Top 14 is finished and the biggest news of the round happened long before the first kick-off. Bayonne have suspended Welsh SH Mike Phillips and French Wing Cedric Heymans, indefinitely. It must have sent a positive message as the struggling club won on the weekend. Also winning were table-toppers Clermont, while Toulouse sent Toulon a message with their solid display.

Clermont Auvergne 28 – 25 Stade Francais
Agen 19 – 15 Bordeaux-Begles
Perpignan 15 – 6 Mont de Marsan
Montpellier 19 – 12 Castres
Grenoble 27 – 13 Racing Metro Paris
Toulouse 32 – 9 Toulon
Biarritz 15 – 16 Bayonne

RaboDirect Pro 12: Cardiff had the unenviable task of going to Ravenhill and taking on Ulster in the province’s first match since the Nevin Spence tragedy. After a beautiful tribute before kickoff, the Ulster boys played with the kind of emotion one would expect and won handly 48-19

Newport-Gwent Dragons 32 – 12 Edinburgh
Cardiff Blues 19 – 48 Ulster
Glasgow 22 – 19 Zebre
Connacht 34 – 6 Leinster
Benetton Treviso 22 – 20 Scarlets
Ospreys 30 – 15 Munster

The Currie Cup has reached its business end – Round 8, or as my Saffa friends say “Run for the semi-finals or prepare to die.” In order to make every game count SA Rugby has structured the Currie Cup so the Top 4 teams go into playoffs and the bottom 2 teams battle to avoid relegation – our old friend relegation. The bottom club has to play a promotion/relegation home and away match series against the winner of the Currie cup 1st division. It keeps things interesting.

Sharks 13 – 12 Blue Bulls
Western Province 9 – 22 Lions
Cheetahs 35 – 20 Griquas

The ITM Cup: Canterbury sent out a very strong message to all that had written them off with a strong display and empathic 84-0 win over Southland. Meanwhile Auckland continued its winning ways:

Round 10
25 Sep Bay of Plenty 26-36 Wellington
26 Sep Southland 16-12 Northland
Round 11
27 Sep Waikato 20-19 Tasman
28 Sep Auckland 22-18 Counties Manukau
29 Sep Taranaki 59-18 Manawatu
29 Sep Wellington 34-28 N Harbour
29 Sep Hawke’s Bay 21-15 Otago
29 Sep Canterbury 84-0 Southland
29 Sep Bay of Plenty 31-19 Northland

RWC 2015 Qualifying: Paraguay continued their hot run from the CONSUR B (Association of South American Rugby Unions 2nd division) playoffs, where they went undefeated in all 3 matches. Paraguay defeated NACRA (North American and Caribbean Rugby Association) champions Bermuda 29-14 at home in Asuncion, Paraguay. This now pits Paraguay against the last-place Consur A team, Brazil, as the qualification process continues.

RWC7s 2013 Qualifying: The final two places in qualifying from Africa went to Zimbabwe (as many predicted) and Tunisia. The cup final was a great match but it lost some tension when it was realized that making the final meant both teams had qualified. Zimbabwe did win, though, 33-12. Other scores of note from the Morocco 7s tournament held in Rabat, were Nigeria and Madagascar making the Cup semifinals, before losing to the aforementioned Zimbabwe and Tunisia, respectively. The Women’s Bracket came down to a tense affair between Tunisia and Kenya, with the Women of Tunisia winning 14-10.

Women of Tunisia Rugby

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.

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About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at MeetTheMatts.com.