NEW YORK, NY: Happy New Year!!! Welcome to the first Weekend Rugby Preview of 2014. We’ve got news from the the three big European leagues – the Aviva Premiership, Top 14 & RaboDirect Pro 12 – whom dominate the start of the new year. There’s also news in the transfer market in terms of player moves – so that’s lots to look forward to in the new year. That said, let’s get to the Weekend Rugby Preview.
Aviva Premiership: Our East Midlands Machiavellian rugger, Nick Hall, is on top of all of the action, with another great review. As for this weekend’s fixtures, Newcastle will host Sale in a northern derby, while the clash of the weekend will see the surging Harlequins at second place Northampton… In a relegation battle, London Irish welcome the winless Worcester Warriors and struggling Gloucester entertain Saracens… Bath will travel to Leicester in an attempt to boost their credentials as possible champions and Wasps will welcome an always tough Exeter side.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 3RD JAN 14
Newcastle – Sale Sharks
Northampton – Harlequins
SAT – 4TH JAN 14
London Irish – Worcester
Gloucester – Saracens
SUN – 5TH JAN 14
Leicester – Bath
Wasps – Exeter
RaboDirect Pro 12: On Boxing Day weekend the Pro 12 loaded its fixture schedule with derbies. It tries to do the same on New Years Day and the weekend following it. The return leg of the oldest club derby match/series in rugby history, the 1872 Cup match between Glasgow and Edinburgh, was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Scotstoun Stadium. “Waterlogged” is a fancy way of saying the pitch was so soaked with water it was a proper Scottish bog and unplayable even from a Scot’s perspective… Cardiff got revenge for their Boxing Day loss to Newport as Leigh Halfpenny got his radar working again… The fixtures for Friday through Saturday will see Ulster face off against Munster in a huge top-part-of the-table-clash and derby… There will be return legs of the other Welsh derby between Ospreys and Scarlets, as well as the Italian derby between Treviso and Zebre.
Here are the New Years Day results and this weekend’s schedule:
WED – 1ST JAN 14
Cardiff Blues 21 – 13 Newport Gwent Dragons
Glasgow – Edinburgh –Postponed due to waterlogged pitch
FRI – 3RD JAN 14
Ulster – Munster
Ospreys – Scarlets
SAT – 4TH JAN 14
Zebre – Benetton Treviso
Connacht – Leinster
Signings/Player Moves: In transfer news, Sitiveni Sivivatu will join Mssr. Harrington in the lovely city of Castres, next season. To replace him, Clermont have reportedly signed RWC2011 winner, recovering alcoholic/mischief maker and talented S15 Crusaders winger Zac Guildford. As usual, Guildford’s 2-year deal has not been made official but it’s as imminent as taxes… Moves that have been made official are backrower Sam Lewis moving from Newport-Gwent to Neath-Swansea and Gloucester’s Fijian backrower Akapusi Qera coming to terms with Toulouse. He will join the club this week..
RWU Looks ahead to 2014: We wanted to remind you, our faithful followers, of the big year ahead. Since we started, we have gotten bigger and better and 2014 will be more of the same. We will provide you with coverage of the Womens RWC2014, the Junior RWC 2014, the Junior Rugby World Trophy 2014, the HSBC IRB 7s World Series and the Womens 7s World Series… Also look for our Class of 2014 picks, our reviews of the top leagues from around the world and our thought-provoking editorials and videos on all things rugby. So strap in, buckle up and don’t forget to breathe, its going to be one crazy year.
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, Jaime Loyd and Declan Yeats, respectively.
And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.