NEW YORK, NY- This was yet another great weekend of rugby action. There were big global classes as with Tier 3 teams in the European Nations Cup with one even counting as a Rugby World Cup qualifying match. In addition, the second round of pool play occurred in the Junior World Rugby Trophy… The Southern hemisphere Super Rugby had quality action of its own with Europe’s Aviva Premiership, Pro 12 and Top 14 had their share of tense action. Combine all of that plus our regular USA Rugby news , International Announcements and Transactions . That is a whole lot of rugby to get through, so without further adieu, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Recap:
Junior World Rugby Trophy – The Junior (Under-20) World Rugby Trophy is a tournament for the second tier nations of rugby at the U-20 level. The winner gets promoted to the Junior World Cup competition which features the top tier nations in international rugby. It is being held in Hong Kong this year. The USA won the JWRT in 2012 and got promoted to the JWC in 2013. The USA may be on its way back to promotion as they have won 2 from 2. The second win was a very hard fought match against a tenacious Georgia. Namibia achieved a shock win against Japan, Tonga easily handled host Hong Kong and Canada failed to do enough against a feisty Uruguay side as the two teams fought to a standstill.
Aviva Premiership – The East Midlands Machiavelli, Nick Hall, will be back later in the week with the weekend’s talking points. As for the weekend’s action, it was intense and the playoff picture is still far from clear. Harlequins dominated Sale to stay in the hunt, Exeter beat Worcester in a shootout hurting the Warriors chances of escaping relegation. Leicester defeated Wasps as they push to win a home draw in the playoffs, Bath defeated Gloucester in the most controversial game of the season, to hold on to 4th place in the standings. Saracens edged out Northampton in a top of the table clash and London Irish thumped Newcastle.
Here are the results:
Fri – 11th Apr 14
Sale Sharks 12 – 27 Harlequins
Sat – 12th Apr 14
Worcester 33 – 38 Exeter
Leicester 27 – 15 Wasps
Gloucester 17 – 18 Bath
Sun – 13th Apr 14
Saracens 28 – 24 Northampton
London Irish 40 – 12 Newcastle
Rabodirect Pro12 – There were some surprising results this weekend in the Pro 12. Leinster fell to the Ospreys as did Munster to the Glasgow Warriors. With both Munster and Leinster firmly locked in at 1st and 2nd for the playoffs, it appears that the two sides are looking beyond their regular season match-ups. The Glasgow side that defeated Munster with ease was sans Eagles 7s Internationals Folau Niua and Carlin Isles as the duo were playing in the Melrose 7s for the Warriors. The Glaswegians are very much in the hunt for the fourth and final playoff spot as were Ospreys which motivated them in their win against Leinster… Ulster defeated Connacht to hold onto a faint hope of somehow stealing 2nd place but that looks unlikely… Cardiff showed some fight as they pressed by Edinburgh, meanwhile Treviso easily dominated Newport-Gwent, and Scarlets did just enough to beat Zebre and hold on to their slim playoff hopes.
Here are the results:
FRI – 11TH APR 14
Ulster 58 – 12 Connacht
Ospreys 25 – 19 Leinster
Edinburgh 22 – 29 Cardiff Blues
SAT – 12TH APR 14
Benetton Treviso 45 – 27 Newport Gwent Dragons
Scarlets 27 – 20 Zebre
Munster 5 – 22 Glasgow
European Nations Cup – The ENC consists of 7 divisions, each with 4-6 teams. The upcoming matches determine who will get promoted and relegated form groups 1A, 1B, 2A – 2D, and 3A. There were 8 matches this weekend with one doubling as a Rugby World Cup Qualifier. The RWCQ match between Moldova saw them defeat Ukraine and keep their RWC dreams alive. Hungary won their border war against Austria, while Israel maintained their incredible form against Andorra. Netherlands solidified their grip on promotion to division 1B by doing Crotia, Denmark continued their own push to the top of 2B by dismissing Serbia. Slovenia steamrolled Bulgaria while Switzerland were outclassed by Malta.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 12th APR 14
ENC Hungary 23 – 12 Austria
ENC Israel 20 – 16 Andorra
ENC Netherlands 45 – 13 Croatia
ENC Serbia 19 – 33 Denmark
ENC Slovenia 43 – 17 Bulgaria
ENC Switzerland 14 – 29 Malta
ENC/RWCQ Moldova 28 – 8 Ukraine
Signings/Player Moves: After much speculation surrounding his future, Vereniki Goneva has re-signed with the Leicester Tigers, though terms of the agreement have not been released… Connacht have made a big signing for the 2014/15 season by signing the Super Rugby franchise Chiefs midfielder Bundee Aki… Cardiff Blues confirmed the signing of Lock/Backrow Jarrad Hoeata from Super Rugby‘s the Highlanders…Former Wales international winger Chris Czekaj has announced he is moving from Cardiff Blues for ProD2 side Colomiers come the end of the season… The Dragons announced the signing of South African second-row Rynard Landman on a three-year deal. Landman goes by the nickname ‘Ligtoring‘, Afrikaans for lighthouse, due to his immense height as a youth… On a sadder note, veteran Biarritz and France scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili has announced his retirement from rugby at the end of the season.
USA Rugby News and Updates: We, published the USA roster for the Can-Am series between the Canadian and USA women’s rugby teams in the Weekend Preview. The Women’s Eagles’ players will tour Canada from April 11-21. We also want to remind you of the schedule of the matches as they are set to occur this week.
Here is this week’s schedule:
CANADA VS. USA
April 15, 2014
Shawnigan Lake School, Mill Bay, BC
3:30 P.M. PT
CANADA VS. USA
April 19, 2014
Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC
3:30 P.M. PT
USA Rugby also released the video of the Women’s National Team in a short documentary film by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Amanda Micheli.
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, Karen Ritter , Jamie Wall, Jake Frechetteand Declan Yeats, respectively.
And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs!