Rugby Championship, USA Rugby update, Aviva Prem, Pro 12, Currie, ITM Cup, Celts & Italians

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Pumas fan await upset.
Pumas fan await upset.
Junoir Blaber
Blaber

NEW YORK, NY – Talk about a packed rugby calendar. This weekend we have The Rugby Championship to provide international action.  There will be domestic action in the form of  the Aviva Premiership, Rabodirect Pro 12 , ITM Cup and the Currie Cup. Plus loads of news about the Heineken Cup, Americas Rugby Championship and Gold Coast 7s of the IRB 7s Series. So, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

The Rugby Championship:  New Zealand is still undefeated, if only just, and will face an intense challenge as they take on a fired-up and hungry Argentina in Argentina. Considering how close Argentina were in their last two matches, Argentine fans have the right to want and expect an upset… South Africa will be at home and waiting to unleash their frustrations from the controversial loss to New Zealand two weeks ago, on poor Australia . The Aussies are trying to gain momentum after a 1-point win over the Argies, but the smart money is on the Springboks.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
South Africa – Australia
Argentina – New Zealand

usa_rugby_logo
The Americas Rugby Championship: The second year of this 4-team tournament between Canada, Argentina, Uruguay and the USA will begin on Oct 11th and run though October 19th, 2013 in Langford, BC, Canada. Click on the aforementioned teams to see their squads. All the teams except Uruguay will be sending out their second teams as the matches will be non-cap so the sides will be filled with domestic players hungry to make a name in the international scene. We will have a detailed preview next week, however for our US fans, here is the Team USA squad, courtesy of Rugbymag.com:

USA Selects for 2013 ARC
Forwards
Titi Lamositele – Prop – Saracens (on trial)
Chris Sullivan – Prop – Life University
Nick Wallace – Prop – Olympic Club
Shawn Pittman – Prop – Seattle-OPSB
Phil Thiel – Hooker/Prop – Life University
Cam Falcon – Hooker – LSU/Dublin University
Danny Barrett – Flanker/Lock – SFGG
Will Haydock – Lock – Seattle-OPSB
Graham Harriman – Lock – Metropolis
Trevor Cassidy – Lock/Flanker – Old Blue
Derek Asbun – Flanker/Hooker – University of Cape Town
Tai Tuisamoa – Loose Forward – OMBAC
Liam Og Murphy – Loose Forward – Boston
Cam Dolan – Loose Forward – Life University
Backs
Shaun Davies – Scrumhalf – Previously Glendale Raptors
Chris Saint – Scrumhalf – HARC
Max D’Achaval – Flyhalf – Denver Barbarians
Adam Siddall – Flyhalf/Center/Fullback – Old Blue
Chris Chapman – Center/Fullback – NYAC
Peter Moala – Center – E. Palo Alto
Mile Pulu – Center – SFGG
Toby L’Estrange – Flyhalf/Center – NYAC
Tim Maupin – Wing – SFGG
Mark Roberts – Wing – Chicago Lions
Joe Cowley – Fullback – Life University
Ed Mills – Fullback – KC Blues

Players who played high school rugby in the USA: 15
USA age-grade players: 9
Players who played college rugby in the USA: 13
College All Americans: 11
Players who learned their rugby mostly overseas: 6
Players from USA who got experience overseas: 6
Players with full USA caps: 11
Players with USA 7s caps: 3

The Gold Coast 7s: RWU Friend, and USA Rugby 7s head coach, Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins has named his squad, for the first leg of the IRB 7s world series the Gold Coast 7s being held in Gold Coast, Australia. Hawkins appears to be playing the role of player/coach, which all will watch with interest. Here is the squad:

USA Sevens squad: Pat Blair, Miles Craigwell, Nick Edwards, Tai Enosa, Jack Halalilo, Matt Hawkins, Carlin Isles, Ryan Matyas, Folau Niua, Zack Test, Brett Thompson, Stephen Tomasin

Aviva Premeirship: It may only be going into its fourth week of action but the AP is already seeing teams separate from the top half and bottom half. However, it is a long season and where teams stand after Christmas will be the key, but keep your eyes on Saracens, Bath, Leicester and Harlequins as they fight for the top 4.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 27th Sep 13
Northampton – Sale
Sat – 28th Sep 13
Wasps – Worcester
Bath – London Irish
Harlequins – Saracens
Sun – 29th Sep 13
Exeter – Leicester
Newcastle – Gloucester

Rabodirect Pro 12: Each Celtic nations seems to have a team pushing for the top. In Scotland, its the table topping Glasgow Warriors, In Wales, its Ospreys while Leinster lead the Irish pack.  How these teams preform  going into Heineken cup  action and the week following will indict what are the clubs priorities. Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 27th Sep 13
Zebre – Glasgow
Ulster – Benetton Treviso
Leinster – Cardiff Blues
Edinburgh – Scarlets
Sat – 28th Sep 13
Connacht – Ospreys
Munster – Newport Gwent Dragons

Currie CupThe Currie Cup: The Griquas and the Blue Bulls match will determine who gets stuck at the bottom of the log and faces relegation. The other two matches will shape the battle for home field advantage during playoffs.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 27th Sep 13
Cheetahs – Western Province
Lions – Sharks
Sat – 28th Sep 13
Griquas – Blue Bulls

The ITM Cup: In the ITM Premiership, Wellington is pulling away from Canterbury and Auckland. Despite thrashing Manawatu, Canterbury are 3rd, In the ITM Championship it looks like Tasman will be getting promoted with Bay of Plenty being relegated from the premiership. In other news, our mate and someone you need to watch and hear, Jed Thian, will be rooting for his Otago squad.

Here are the midweek results and this weekend’s schedule:
Wed – 25th Sep 13 
Canterbury 72 – 7 Manawatu
Thu – 26th Sep 13
Northland 13 – 28 Tasman

Fri – 27th Sep 13
Waikato – Wellington
Sat – 28th Sep 13
Otago – Southland
Manawatu – Taranaki
Auckland – Canterbury
Sun – 29th Sep 13
Hawkes Bay – North Harbour
Cup Bay Of Plenty – Counties Manukau

News and Events:

Heineken cupCeltic Unions & Italy on H-Cup: News came out of Europe on Thursday that the Celtic Unions, (Ireland, Scotland and Wales) along with Italy, all released separate  -but eerily similar – statements regarding their Heineken Cup future. All 4 unions stated that they will not take part in any future cup competition that does not have the support of the IRB and relevant national Unions. The chess game continues as we wait for France’s Ligue de National Rugby and England‘s Aviva Premiership to respond.

That’s it for now… feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann and Declan Yeats, respectively.

And until the next time… 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.