NEW YORK, NY – After last week’s rugby across 5 continents and the same occurring this weekend has the RWU staff excited to tackle all the action. There is the final weekend of the regular season for the Top 14 and the penultimate weekend of the regular season for the Aviva Premiership and the Pro12 … Not to be forgotten is that Super Rugby is hitting its 12 week of action and is firmly past the midway point… The will also be another array of Tier 3 action, ranging from South America, Asia and Europe plus we have all the weeks transactions… and USA Rugby! Enough talking for now, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview:
Glasgow 7s 7s: The Glasgow 7s kickoff when tomorrow morning. A win by the AIG New Zealand All Black 7s side will seal their bid for a 12th title, while a win by The South African 7s Blitzbokke will continue to make it a two-horse race. From the Team USA prespective can they continue their quality performances of the last two tournaments. For more information, check out our tournament preview.
Aviva Premiership – The East Midlands Machiavellian, Nick Hall, has you covered. There is a fight to make the Top 4 for playoffs and the relegation battle is not quite over. Plus who will be getting promoted into next season’s Aviva Premiership. Please CLICK HERE for another fantastic preview.
Top 14 – Our Top14 expert du-jour, James Harrington has all the news and of the field transactions in Top 14 and the incredibly tight relegation battle going into the final weekend of action. Please CLICK HERE, to check him out.
Rabodirect Pro12 – The penultimate weekend of action saw the Ospreys shockingly lose on the road to Zebre and all but kill their playoff ambitions, barring two heavy defeats by Ulster. Ulster face the league leaders, Leinster but have the benefit of being at home. Glasgow look to lock up 2nd place and a home playoff match when they travel to Treviso. Scarlets and Newport-Gwent play for pride in a Welsh regional derby match. Munster will try to reclaim 2nd place when they travel to take on Edinburgh. In the final match of the weekend, Connacht welcome Cardiff.
Here is the midweek result and this weekend’s schedule:
THU – 1ST MAY 14
Zebre 30 – 27 Ospreys
FRI – 2ND MAY 14
Benetton Treviso – Glasgow
Scarlets – Newport Gwent Dragons
Ulster – Leinster
SAT – 3RD MAY 14
Edinburgh – Munster
Connacht – Cardiff Blues
Tier 3 – This weekends Tier 3 calendar is not as congested as last weekend’s but there is more than enough to go around. The European Nations Cup 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. Austria will host Slovenia and Latvia will travel to Denmark according to the fixture list.
The Asian5N is short for the Asian 5 Nations, which is similar to the ENC but with 5 divisions and 5 teams in each. Both matches this weekend will be doubling as RWC Qualifiers (RWCQs). This heightens the stakes when The Philippines host Japan and Hong Kong travel to Sri Lanka.
The SAMC is the same as the two previously mentioned tournaments but for South America and that has 4 divisions featuring 15 teams. In that competition, we will witness Uruguay‘s B side take on Brazil in Brazil and Chile welcome Paraguay.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT– 3rd MAY 14
ENC Austria – Slovenia
ENC Denmark – Latvia
SAMC Brazil – Uruguay
SAMC Chile – Paraguay
ASIA5N/RWCQ Philippines – Japan
ASIA5N/RWCQ Sri Lanka – Hong Kong
Signings/Player Moves: The Ospreys had a busy week. The announced the signing of South African second-row Rynier Bernardo, to a three-year deal. Handed out a first professional contract to promising home-grown 20-year-old loosehead prop Nicky Smith . Then they renewed the contracts of in-form back-row forward Dan Baker (three-year contract) and promising tighthead prop Daniel Suter… Edinburgh‘s elite development players Hamish Watson (back-row), George Turner (hooker) and Jamie Farndale (wing) have all been awarded senior contracts at the club. They form a youthful core of summer re-signing and recruits with young Scottish centres Michael Tait, Chris Dean and wing Damien Hoyland. Edinburgh’s young guns made it a bit easier for them to confirm that highly-rated openside Ross Rennie is to make his loan move to Bristol permanent next season as he secured a two year contract with the Greene King IPA Championship side (division below Aviva Prem)... Also leaving Edinburgh is prop Alex Allan after signing n a two-year contract with Scotland rivals Glasgow. The Warriors will be losing versatile back, Scotland qualified Byron McGuigan as he has decided to leave the club at the end of the season.
Centre Dafydd Hewitt will continue being a long standing 10 season servant of Cardiff Blues rugby after agreeing a new deal. The Scarlets have announced that captain Rob McCusker and winger Kristian Phillips have agreed to deal extensions ahead of next season. Munster have come to terms on a one-year deal with experienced midfielder Andrew Smith from the Brumbies SR franchise…Connacht have added young backline duo Ian Porter and Shane O’Leary to their squad for next season. Joining them will be veteran lock Michael Swift and flanker Mata Fifita on year-long extensions of their own. Space was created for these signing upon confirmation of the with the departures of the following players at the end of the current season: Gavin Duffy, Frank Murphy, Dan Parks, Paul O’Donohoe, Aaron Conneely, Brian Murphy, Dave Nolan and James Rael.
London Irish have announced the signing of SR Blues franchise fly-half Chris Noakes on a two-year deal. Sale Sharks confirmed the addition of loosehead prop Darren Fearn for next season. London Wasps were thrilled to announce that they have signed Samoan international back Alapati Leiua from the SR Hurricanes. Worcester Warriors seemed un-phased by their expected relegation as they confirmed the signings of Leicester Tigers prop Dan Bower and Gloucester hooker Dan George on Tuesday.
USA Rugby News and Updates:
College Playoffs – In Women’s DII National Championship playoffs, Indiana (PA) will take on Cal State Northridge on one side of the National Semifinal, while Appalachian State will meet Florida International on May 10 at Stanford University. The winning teams will face each other on May 11 to determine the National Champion.
In the Men’s DI-AA National Championship, Central Florida (the defending champs, will face San Diego in the National Semifinal and on the other side of the bracket, Arizona will take on Bowling Green. Like the Women’s DII each Semifinal match will be played at Stanford University’s Steuber Rugby Stadium May 10, and the National Championship match will be May 11. An overview of the entire Men’s DI-AA field can be viewed at www.USARugby.org.
In the battle to become Women’s DI College National Champion, Penn State will play West Chester and Stanford will be up against American International in the National Semifinal May 9. The winners from the round of four will meet the following day to decide the new National Champion.
All three National Championship Semi-Finals and Finals will be streamed live on USA Rugby TV.
One National Championship that has been decided was the 2014 Men’s NSCRO National Champion. The last 13 minutes of the Championship final belonged to St. John’s University(MN) and at the final whistle…they stood on top as the with a 37-25 win over New England College. In the 3rd place match, the University of Denver pulled away late to secure a 45-31 win over Mount St. Mary’s University. In Saturday’s semifinals, St. John’s came from behind to beat Denver 42-33, while New England College held off a strong second half comeback by Mount St. Mary’s to win 54-36.
The Coach selection procedures announced for Youth Olympic Games. The application deadline closes May 15. Find the full Games Staff Selection Procedures on the USA Rugby Careers page. Send signed selection procedures and a résumé/CV to Janna Doyscher at USA Rugby.
Brian O’Driscoll Set To Buy American Rugby Side L.A. Hustle – In a bit of odd news, it appears that Irish Rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll is set to buy the Los Angeles Hustle, a lower division rugby club in Los Angeles. We are not sure how someone buys an amateur rugby club. The deal is not done and it appears BOD is unhappy about the information getting out before the deal is done. The rumor mill also claims that the move is precipitated by his wife, actress Amy Huberman’s desire to carve out a career in Hollywood . Watch this space for more information.
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 Frechette and Declan Yeats, respectively.
And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs!