Weekend Rugby Preview: USA Rugby News, Women’s 6N, Player Moves, U20s, 6NB and more

Sam Warburton scores against France in their Six Nations' encounter
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NEW YORK, NY: The February feast of rugby matches has now rolled over into March. March is no slouch as this first weekend will feature International fixtures, the  Under 20s 6N, the Womens 6N, the Mens 6N and the 6N B. In addition to those matches there will be the semi-finals of the LV=Cup. And all of this is just in the Northern Hemisphere – the Southern Hemisphere will have loads of Super Rugby action on tap. 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 gentlemen we insist on… Ladies First…

Women’s 6N:  It remains a 3-horse race as England, France and Ireland are neck and neck. Each team is favored to win their match-up this weekend meaning that it will come down to the final week and point spread so expect to see some lopsided scores.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 7th MAR 14
Ireland-Italy
Scotland – France
England – Wales

Under 20 6N:  The young lads are matching their seniors. Wales, France, England and Ireland are all in with a shout. The Junior World Champion English would love to topple the runners-up in last year’s Junior World Cup, Wales. The Welsh will likely have revenge on their mind so it will be a big clash, as big as the full men’s fixture. The winner of that will stand a good chance as both France and Ireland are up against inferior competition.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 7th MAR 14
Ireland-Italy
Scotland – France
SUN – 9th MAR 14
England – Wales

6 Nations: The Men’s division is essentially the spitting image of the U-20s. Though  Wales vs England is clearly the big game of the weekend.  James Harrington has a great Preview and as usual on 6N weekend, Nick Hall has the RWU Six Pack’s Picks.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 8th MAR 14
Ireland-Italy
Scotland – France
SUN – 9th MAR 14
England – Wales

6N B: The European Nations Cup (ENC), formerly known as the 6N B, is essentially decided. The top two spots and Rugby World Cup places have gone to the tournament heavyweights Georgia and Romania. It is now down to Belgium, Portugal, Russia and Spain, to fight for 3rd place and the repechage for a chance to still make the RWC 2015.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 08 FEB 14
Russia – Portugal
Spain – Georgia
Romania – Belgium

LV=Cup: It will be all an English semi-finals in the LV= Cup. In a unique twist, 3 of the 4 sides stand on the verge of a treble. Northampton, Saracens and Bath are currently 1,2 and 3 in the Aviva Premiership so they have a chance at playoffs and winning that. By being in the LV= Cup semis, they stand another chance for hardware. Fnally, both Bath and Northampton are in the Amlin cup quarterfinals, while Saracens are in the Heineken Cup quarters. To even get as far as they have, fighting a war on 3 fronts is a credit to their Director’s of Rugby, their coaching staffs, their entire roster of players and Academy. However, beware of the team with nothing to lose and all to gain in Exeter.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 8th MAR 14
Northampton – Saracens
SUN – 9th MAR 14
Bath – Exeter

Super Rugby: None other than our  Super Rugby Superman Jamie Walls,  has preview of the fourth round of action, as the action starts heating up. CLICK HERE.

Converted Try:
USA Rugby News:  Earlier this week, The USA Rugby Trust, the philanthropic arm of USA Rugby announced two new parts. USA Rugby Trust is pleased to announce a new corporate donor, Mountain Dew, in conjunction with a new partnership with Plus 3 Network, a GPS-enhanced social network that actively manages, motivates, validates, and rewards members for participating in fitness activities. For every activity logged on the Plus 3 Network website, Mountain Dew will make a donation to USA Rugby Trust to help support rugby youth initiatives, coaching and refereeing development, and build world-class athletes through the USA Rugby national teams.

USA Rugby announced Thursday a new All-Star Rugby Sevens Tournament to be held during the build-up of the Men’s Eagles international test against Scotland in Houston, Texas, June 6th and 7th. 12 teams from around the country will compete in the tournament to decide who will represent the United States at Premiership Rugby’s World Club 7s, alongside New York City Sevens. Click this Link to find out which cities the 12 teams will be coming and how they will work with newly-appointed 7s Development Director Alex Magleby and USA 7s coach Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins to make the right players from all levels are identified.

Adam Jones
Adam Jones

Signings/Player Moves:   The Greene King IPA Championship leaders (and favorites for promotion to the Aviva Premeirship) Bristol have announced seven signings for next season, all on two-year contracts. The two big names of note are Samoa back-rower Jack Lam from the Super Rugby side Hurricanes and the 21-year-old Ospreys fly-half Matthew Morgan. There is also 25-year-old Bath flanker Nick Koster as well as Prop Jack O’Connell and winger Darren Hudson from Leinster, with hooker Max Crumpton from Harlequins as the 7th and final player… Another Samoan international, Daniel Leo has announced that he will leave Perpignan at the end of the season to return to the UK, where specifically is unknown as of now… Gloucester have proudly announced the signing of Scotland international scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, who will see time at both 9 and 10 next season for the Cherry and Whites… Staying in Scotland will be highly-rated Scotland centre Matt Scott, as he penned a contract extension with Edinburgh – tying him to Murrayfield until 2016. Joining Scott at Edinburgh will the former top level prospect and ex-Scotland U20 centre Michael Tait from Newcastle Falcons until 2015… It appears London Irish’s Tongan  eightman Chris Hala’ufia will cross the border to Wales and join the Scarlets next season… Meanwhile veteran Ospreys and Wales tighthead Adam Jones is reportedly considering a move to the Dragons at the end of the season. Staying at Ospreys will be prop Ryan Bevington as he put pen to paper on a new Ospreys deal that will tie him to the region til 2016. The Ospreys weren’t done this week as they also re-signed Moldovan front-row forward Dmitri Arhip on a new two-year deal… Biarritz prop Alexandre Menini has confirmed that he will join Toulon on a medical joker for the injuried Andrew Sheridan.

Two Italian teams to stay in PRO12: It appears the RaboDirect PRO12 will continue to include two Italian teams following positive talks that were held in London on Tuesday. In a statement released by the Pro12 stated:
“The meeting was successful and an agreement was reached for FIR to join Celtic Rugby as an equal partner from July 1st, 2014. The terms of participation of two Italian teams were agreed upon. Under the new agreement, FIR will ensure the participation of two Italian teams for the next four years in the competition which is currently known as the RaboDirect PRO12.

Cardiff Blues lose Davies, Consult Gatland: The Cardiff Blues have announced that they will consult with Wales boss Warren Gatland before appointing Phil Davies’ Director of Rugby successor. Davies stepped down on Monday after his side fell, for the second time this season to PRO12 league minnows Zebre, 15-10. In the interim, defence coach Dale McIntosh and recently appointed backs coach (and former Wales 7s team head coach) Paul John will the regional outfit until Blues’ management identify Davies’ replacement.

NZ 7s do Haka after winning London 7s and 2012/2013 IRB 7s
NZ 7s do Haka after winning London 7s and 2012/2013 IRB 7s

25 Unions want 7s series leg: The International Rugby Board has confirmed an unprecedented level of interest in hosting elite international Rugby Sevens events, underscoring the enormous global appeal of the newest Olympic sport. As the expression of interest deadline closed on February 28, 25 Unions formally confirmed to the IRB their interest in hosting a round of the popular HSBC Sevens World Series from the 2015/16 season. Fourteen of the Unions are also interested in hosting the showcase men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.

  • 25 Unions interested in hosting IRB Sevens World Series
  • 14 Unions interested in hosting Rugby World Cup Sevens
  • Record interest underscores Sevens prestige ahead of Rio 2016
  • All continents represented in the submissions

Olympic Qualifying and the 2014/15 7s series: The (IRB) announced the dates for the HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15, which has gained in significance with the recent announcement that the top four-ranked nations will qualify from it directly for the Olympic Games in 2016. The 16th edition of the record-breaking Series will visit the same nine countries as the current 2013/14 season with two changes to the order of rounds. The event in the USA will be played the weekend after New Zealand’s, and Japan’s tournament will follow on from Hong Kong.

HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15
Round 1 Australia (Gold Coast) 11-12 Oct 2014
Round 2 Dubai 5-6 Dec 2014
Round 3 South Africa (Port Elizabeth) 13-14 Dec 2014
Round 4 New Zealand (Wellington) 6-7 Feb 2015
Round 5 USA (Las Vegas) 13-15 Feb 2015
Round 6 Hong Kong 27-29 Mar 2015
Round 7 Japan (Tokyo) 4-5 Apr 2015
Round 8 Scotland (Glasgow) 9-10 May 2015
Round 9 England (London) 16-17 May 2015

Sky Sports to broadcast WRWC and JWC 2014: The IRB has announced that Sky Sports will be the UK rights-holding broadcaster for this year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup and IRB Junior World Championship.

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

Speaking of Alex Magleby, here he was last year, explaining why he stepped down as coach.

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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.