NEW YORK, NY – Welcome to our first Weekend Rugby Wrap-Up of 2013. Monsieur Pyk O’Kallapfer will be handling the French Top 14, so we’ll cover the Aviva, RaboDirect Pro 12, B & I Lions news and the Iberian Cup.
Aviva Premiership: A teams fortune in sports can change very quickly and the Aviva Premiership is proof of that. We based our Pre-season Predictions on a the form shown by the clubs in 2011, but teams are proving us and many other pundits wrong by writing their own destiny.
London Wasps barely escaped being relegated last season as it came down to the final game of the year. This year, the Wasps are flying high after their win at Bath secured them fourth place on the table and a playoff spot, for now. There are still 9 games in the season to go and a lot can happen between now and then.
Sale Sharks fortunes looked very bright but have turned very grim. It appears that despite their high profile signs they are destined to drop as they sit at the bottom of the league table after being thrashed by Saracens.
London Welsh came up short against defending champs and league leaders Harlequins but the Welsh are still higher on the table than London Irish, who had a shock victory against Gloucester. Leicester welcomed Tom Croft back from a long layoff due to neck and shoulder injury with win against Worcester… Here are the results:
Flood Cited: In Friday’s game for Leicester#10 Toby Flood was cited for tip-tackle. He has only been cited and yet to have his day in court. The citing process and the sanctions they place are a gamble, so it is quite possible that he may miss part of the 6 Nations. ESPNScrum.com has a great article on the previous players to be cited for tip tackles and the resulting bans, with links to footage of the tackles. It appears that of the 11 previous players to be cited, only one avoid suspension: All Black Brodie Retallick. (Cue All Blacks conspiracy theorists). The remaining 10 missed anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks. I am sure the England staff and fans will be watching closely and we will keep you informed.
RaboDirect Pro 12: The Cardiff Blues produced the shock of the round with a solid victory over Munster. The Blues defense was at its best and Cardiff fans now hope that this will spark their team on a solid run and into a playoff position… Meanwhile, Ulster found their form again by dismantling an over-matched Llanelli Scarlets side… The Neath-Swansea Ospreys barely escaped with a win against the Zebre and Glasgow got a much needed dominant performance against Treviso. Here are all the scores:
British & Irish Lions news: B & I Lions head coach Warren Gatland has requested that the Australian Rugby Union and head coach Robbie Deans free up the Wallabies to play from their Super 15 sides when the Lions play them in the warm-up matches before tests against Australia. Gatland he wants his side to be battled-ready for the dog-fight of the international arena, and playing against weakened sides and regional President’s IV select sides just won’t do. It remains to be seen if the ARU or Deans will agree to something that doesn’t quite seem to benefit the Wallabies, although fans scheduled to attend and watch from home will be delighted.
Iberian Cup: The Iberian Cup determines the best club on the Iberian Peninsula. This match-up was between Portugal’s top team, CDUL (Sports Centre University of Lisbon) and Spain’s VRAC (Valladolid Rugby Asociación Club) in Valladolid. In a what was described as a good-spirited and hard-fought contest, CDUL came away victorious with a final score of CDUL 24 – VRAC 11. There has been talk of a Portuguese All-Star side being involved in the Amlin Cup but the cost associated with it makes it a hard sell. Time will tell if it truly happens. For now, we congratulate CDUL on their well-earned victory.
That is it 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.