Weekend Rugby Preview: USA Rugby News, Final Weekend of the 6N, Women’s 6N, U20s, 6NB and more

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In_Bod_We_Trust_Brian_O_driscoll_the_BiographNEW YORK, NY: The March buffet of rugby continues this weekend. There is the final weekend of 6 Nations (6N) action with all 4versions, Under 20s 6N, the Womens 6N, the Mens 6N and the 6N B still undecided on a winner. The final of the LV=Cup, the first hardware of the new year, will be played. In the Southern Hemisphere we have plenty of Super Rugby action on tap. Finally, as usual we will report the comings and goings in the transfer market, USA Rugby news and more. Let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

As always… Ladies First…

Women’s 6N:  With France taking on Ireland on Friday night, the Sunday matches may all be meaningless scrimmages. If France win, the title is theirs. If Ireland win, then its time to break out those calculators and figure out who the winner will be. If the latter happens expect England to try and put up a cricket score on Italy to give themselves a shot at the title. Scotland will try and salvage some pride against Wales but it doesn’t look likely.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 14th MAR 2014
France – Ireland
SUN – 16th MAR 14
Wales – Scotland
Italy – England

Under 20 6N:  Stop me, if you have heard this before. France is in the drivers seat and all they need to do is win. Yup, like the Women, the boys are on the verge of 6N title. An upset by Ireland will open the door for England, provided they put away Italy as expected. Scotland will face a Wales side licking their wounds after last week implosion against England, making them a dangerous animal. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 14th MAR 2014
Italy – England
Wales – Scotland
France – Ireland

6 Nations: The Men’s division is pretty straight forward. Well kinda, sorta, but not really, sorta. How about you just read  James Harrington‘s great Preview and as usual on a 6N weekend, Nick Hall has the RWU Six Pack’s Picks.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 15th MAR 14
Italy – England
Wales – Scotland
France – Ireland

6N B: The European Nations Cup (ENC), formerly known as the 6N B, is now about to begin in earnest. The beginning is also the end. From the start of this years competition, everyone knew that it was going to be a battle between Georgia and Romania.  So with both side 4-0 having defeated everyone else, they now face each other. It is such a big game the International Rugby Board will show it live stream as part of their RWC 2015 Qualifer coverage. The other 4 sides Belgium, Portugal, Russia and Spain, are battling for for 3rd place and the repechage for a chance to still make the RWC 2015.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 15th MAR 14
Portugal – Spain
Belgium – Russia
Georgia – Romania – 5pm GET/ 1pm GMT/ 9am EST watch live here

LV-Cup-ball-and-trophyLV=Cup: The LV= Cup will have a new owner after Sunday. The final will see Northampton travel to Exeter to take the first step in their attempt for a historic treble. Meanwhile, Exeter will be looking to find a silver lining in a disappointing season.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SUN – 16th MAR 14
Exeter – Northampton

Rabodirect Pro12: As a result of the heavy snow and rainy winter suffered by the British and Irish Isles, there were a few matches rescheduled do to waterlogged pitches. This weekend will see one of those matches take place as Ulster welcome Scarlets. The men from the North of Ireland hope to secure the 4th and final playoff spot in the Pro12 playoffs.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 14th MAR 2014
Ulster – Scarlets

Super Rugby: The man we call the Super Rugby Superman Jamie Walls,  has his preview of the 5th round of action, ready to go. CLICK HERE.

usa_rugby_logoDrop Goal:
USA Rugby News: This week, USA Rugby, revealed the selection process for coaches interested in coaching in the High School All-American (HSAA) Stars v Stripes Camp12 coaches will be selected to lead and develop the 50 girls and 50 boys selected from the 6 Regional All-Star Tournaments (RASTs) as HSAA Stars and Stripes athletes.

The USA Eagles 7s 12 man squad for the next two legs of the HSBC IRB 7s series has been selected.  The two stops will be Tokyo on March 22 and 23 and Hong KongMarch 28-30. It was a tough selection process as the schedule clashes with the Men’s National team 15s side RWCQs  so player availability was thought to be an issue. In the end, according to Head Coach Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins, there were no issues. As we have done all 7s series, we will have a detailed team USA report and tournament prediction next week. For now here is the roster and the date and times of their matches in the Tokyo leg.

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Tokyo Sevens/Cathay Pacific HSBC Hong Kong Sevens Roster 
Danny Barrett 
Garrett Bender 
Andrew Durutalo 
Nick Edwards 
Pono Haitsuka 
Madison Hughes 
Ryan Matyas 
Mike Palefau 
Marcus Satavu 
Mike Te’o 
Zack Test 
Brett Thompson

Men’s Eagles Sevens | Tokyo Sevens 
v Samoa – Friday, March 21 – 9:22 P.M. ET 
v Fiji – Saturday, March 22 – 12:18 A.M. ET 
v France – Saturday, March 22 – 4:30 A.M. ET

The Legendary Trevor Woodman

The Legendary Trevor Woodman

Signings/Player Moves:
In the Aviva Premiership, Newcastle have bolstered their second-row options with the signing of former Saracen Harry Spencer until the end of the season. Gloucester have confirmed that Trevor Woodman has taken over the role of scrum coach from Tony Windo with immediate effect…Meanwhile in the Rabodriect Pro12, Edinburgh‘s Izak van der Westhuizen will return to South Africa to join the Eastern Province Kings at the end of the season. Apparently the 28 year old Second Row has battled injury and now as a new dad, has made the decision to continue his career closer to home. Scotland fly-half Duncan Weir, he of the 80th minute drop goal against Italy, has penned a new 2 year contract extension with Glasgow Warriors. He will stay with the Glaswegian franchise until May 2016…In le Top 14, former France Utility back Damien Traille announced that he will leave Biarritz to return to his first club, Pau, next season. It is not as sentimental as it seems since Biarritz are destined for relegation, Pau will be in the Pro D2 promotion playoffs this season and Traille is out of contract at the end of this season. Clermont pair Julien Bonnaire and Noa Nakaitaci have both signed new contract extensions with the side. Bonnaire signed on for one more season, taking him past his 35th birthday for the former Les Blues flanker.  Nakaitaci signed for 3 more season until 2017, it important to note that the Fiji born winger was capped by France last summer. In a surprising move, Frederic Michalak has re-signed with Toulon for one more year. Considering Michalak’s struggle for first team gametime and other Top 14 pursuers, the smart money was on him moving away.

ODESUR Games: In Santiago, Chile, last weekend the Odesur Games were held. The games are the continent’s premier multi-sport event.  South America‘s finest Rugby Sevens players competed in this years games as for the first time, the rugby on the pitch is doubling as the South American region’s CONSUR Sevens championships. Argentina‘s men and Brazil‘s women were the favorites going into the tournament and they both delivered by winning gold.

Here are the results:
Men’s 
Argentina 29 – 5 Uruguay Gold Medal
Chile 31 – 7 Brazil Bronx Medal

Women’s 
Brazil 40 – 0 Argentina Gold Medal
Uruguay 5 – 0 Colombial Bronx Medal

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@RugbyWrapUp,Junoir BlaberDJ EberleNick HallJames HarringtonCody KuxmannJaime Loyd, Karen Ritter , Jamie Wall and Declan Yeats, respectively.

Speaking of HSBC IRB 7s series, here is Gordon Teitjens, head coach of the AIG New Zealand 7s All Blacks. Teitjens has coached to the 1 of the 14 titles in the series’s history, including last year’s title. Sir Teitjens (yup, he has been knighted) gave our own JWB, a tryout for the NZ side.

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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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