Weekend Rugby Preview: Six Nations Women, U20s, 6NB plus Pro Player Moves

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brian_o'driscoll joe_schmidt Rugby_Wrap_UpNEW YORK, NY – This weekend the world of rugby comes to a standstill. All eyes will be focused on Europe as the oldest rugby tournament in the world, the Six Nations (6N), kicks off. The best part is that the tournament has grown into a larger spectacle, with both the Women’s 6N and the U20 6N also kicking off. In addition to all this action, the 6N B, aka the European Nations Cup, will be taking place and as always, we have the latest news and transfers. There’s to cover, so let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

And of course, Ladies First…
Womens: For a long time the Women’s 6N  was the English Rose Invitational. That has changed, however, and after the shocking, title-winning, Grand Slam run of Ireland last year, this year’s tourney is effectively a two-horse race… Third through last will be France, Scotland, Wales and Italy. Predictions are great but that’s why they play the game.

WomensLaunchTrophyHere’s this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 31 JAN 14
Ireland – Scotland
SAT – 01 FEB 14
France – England
SUN – 02 FEB 14
Wales – Italy

U20: The Under 20 6N is always a great opportunity to watch for the next generation of future stars for each country. You occasionally get to see a player like Tommaso Allan and Tom Heathcote making names for themselves… Considering that the reigning Junior (U20) World Cup Champion and Runner-up were England and Wales, respectively, the two nations would have to be the favorites.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 31 JAN 14
Ireland – Scotland
France – England
Wales – Italy

wales win 6 nations Rugby_Wrap_Up6 Nations: This is where the big games of the weekend are. Le Crunch (when Frogs battle Roast-beef) between France and England is such a mouth-watering affair. The RWU writing machine James Harrington has his full tournament preview as well as this weekend’s match-ups. Nick Hall has the Six-Pack’s picks for each match.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 01 FEB 14
Wales – Italy
France – England
SUN – 02 FEB 14
Ireland – Scotland

6N B: The European Nations Cup (ENC), formerly known as the 6N B will take place simultaneously as the 6N. The ENC is fought to find out the best teams in Europ’s Tier 2 and Tier 3. You may laugh but many North American rugby fans wish the USA and Canada could get an extra 5 meaningful internationals worked into their rugby calendar. This year every match will double as Rugby World Cup Qualifier. Last year Georgia and Romania split the crown and this year, the smart money is on one of those two sides winning.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 01 FEB 14
Georgia – Belgium
Romania – Portugal
Spain – Russia

Marland Yarde

Marland Yarde

Conversion Kick:
Signings/Player Moves: Last week, we presented this news as an unconfirmed report. This week it was officially confirmed that Marland Yarde, of England and London Irish will move across town and play for the Harlequins, next season… In another key deal for Saracens, they have extended the contract of Director Of Rugby Mark McCall and 6 members of the backroom staff until June 2017… The Neath-Swansea Ospreys have come to terms on loan deal for Welsh qualified second-row Perry Parker from fellow RaboDirect PRO12 outfit Edinburgh… Meanwhile, news from Munster confirms Duncan Casey and CJ Stander have signed two-year extensions, allowing them to stay with Munster and the IRFU until June 2016.

RRW vs WRU: Nick Hall did a splendid job on debriefing uninitiated on the whole Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) vs Wales Rugby Union (WRU) drama early this week. It’s recommended you read that first so the next few sentences makes some sense… Sam Warburton claims he will play for Cardiff Blues on a central contract next season, despite the regions insisting no agreement exists. Apparently, the first-ever centrally contracting of a Welsh player by the WRU was made without full commitment from the RRW. There is no agreement between the two sides and if this sounds farcical, then remember the WRU has refused to increase funding to the RRW and previously rejected the central contracting idea. The WRU amazingly now has £1 million pounds inventory it can use to sign marquee national team players and loan them back to the regions. Unfortunately, this may be only enough money for 4 players. The Warburton deal makes the RRW look bad but central contracting was still being negotiated. Now the RRW has brought in the lawyers, so the matter will be heard in LondonPuddles of Tears/Lawyers Rich for Years… that is how this drama will end. Stay tuned!

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.

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About the Author ()

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.

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