Weekend Rugby Preview: June Internationals, Pro12, Top 14, CRC 7s, Aviva Championships

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File Photo: England v Barbarians

File Photo: England v Barbarians

NEW YORK, NY-  The June Internationals are almost here. Well, they technically kickoff this weekend but it is similar to the movie trailer to a huge blockbuster; it just fills you with anticipation for things to go full-tilt. But full-tilt will have to wait because  this weekend is Championship weekend for all three of Europe’s top competitions: the Pro12, Aviva Premeirship and Top14. In addition to those big games, there’s also Super Rugby and Tier 3 action, which has been hold until now in the search for international clashes. Finally, we’ll look at the new Player Transactions and USA Rugby news… Did we mention we’ll be in Philly covering the CRC 7s? No? Well, it’s true… Let’s get to it then, with our Weekend Rugby Preview:

June Internationals – The June Internationals begin with an under-strength Samoa side full of domestic players touring Japan. Japan will be looking for their 3rd ever win over Samoa… Argentina warm-up for the Internationals with a match against the CONSUR (South American Rugby Union) All-star side…  The All-Star side that started it all – The Barbarians  – will face off against the England Saxons, though they will be playing as England. Since the majority of first-choice players either on the plane to New Zealand or in the Aviva Prem Final, this will be England’s second string. However, considering how hard it is for team of all-stars to be hastily thrown together to be competitive in this age of organized defenses and professional set-ups, this will likely be a much more even contest than some – like our man in Auckland, Jamie Wall, would have you believe…. The other matches occurring prior to the Internationals getting into full swing are a Wales trial match, as their probables play their possiblesCanada will be doing their own version of a trail match; a BC select-side full of internationals of their own, face a Canada select side. The match celebrates the 125th anniversary of BC  Rugby.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 30TH MAY 14
TOUR Japan  –  Samoa
SAT – 31ST MAY 14
M INT  Argentina – South America (CONSUR All Stars)
M INT  Wales Probables – Wales Possibles
M INT  British Colombia Selects – Canada Selects
SUN – 1ST JUN 14
TOUR  England – Barbarians

Aviva Premiership – Our English American,  Nick Hall, has put together a wonderful preview of this weekend’s final. CLICK HERE for his preview

Top 14 – Our Top 14 expert, James Harrington has been our go to guy for French news all season, and after the longest season in sport, Mssr. Harrington is back to cover the final game of the season.  CLICK HERE to check it out.

RaboDirect Pro12 The final game for the RaboDirect Pro 12 is here. Next year there will be a new comp with a new sponsor and different/fewer clubs. This year the combatants are from Ireland and Scotland. This season’s surprise package, the Glasgow Warriors travel to the RDS in Dublin to face defending champion’s Leinster.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 31ST MAY 14
Leinster – Glasgow

Super RugbyThe RWU Super Rugby Superman, Jamie Wall, has another quality piece out previewing the weekend’s match-ups as well as his thoughts on the absurd inability for the powers that be to create a global calender. Please CLICK HERE.

Tier 3 – The weekend’s Tier 3 calendar also joins the June Internationals party. We will begin with the European Nations Cup, which consists of 7 divisions, each with 4-6 teams. The matches determine who will get promoted and relegated form groups 1A, 1B, 2A – 2D, and 3A. If  Finland win in Saturday’s fixture against Bosnia & Herzegovina in the only match in ENC 2D will see them avoid their worst ranking ever, while a win for Bosnia & Herzegovina, will not be enough unless it is a bonus-point win as they hope to wrestle the ENC 2D title off Luxembourg.

The Asian5N is short for the Asian 5 Nations, which is similar to the ENC but with 5 divisions and 5 teams in each. The matches this weekend are expected to be even and hotly contested affairs and will double as RWCQs… In the Division 3 East region, Guam handily defeated Laos and China barely escaped Indonesia in the semifinal setting up a interesting final between two nations that geographical opposites. Laos and Indonesia will fight for 3rd place.

The NACRA CHAMPIONSHIP is the same as the three previously mentioned tournaments – except it’s for  North America and the Caribbean. It is not as layered as the other three competitions and has the weaker teams play qualifiers to get to a stage that it would seem fair to bring in the larger unions. USA Rugby competes in this tournament by sending the USA South Regional all-star team, in order to develop talent and make the competition a much fairer one. This weekend will see two tiny but proud nations in Turks & Caicos and The Bahamas face off.

Here are the midweek results:
THU – 29TH MAY 14
ASIA5N D3 East SF Guam 48  – 10 Laos
ASIA5N D3 East SF Indonesia 6 –  10 China

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 31ST MAY 14
ENC Finland – Bosnia & Herzegovina

ASIA5N D3 East  3rd/4th Laos – Indonesia
ASIA5N D3 East Final Guam – China

NACRA CH Turks & Caicos  – Bahamas

Conversion Kick:
Signings/Player Moves: Exeter Chiefs announced that Ireland lock Ryan Caldwell will be  leaving Bath to join them.  Saracens have made the move to replace retiring captain and lock Steve Borthwick (who will move on to become Japan’s forwards coach) with huge Scotland second-row “Big” Jim Hamilton to their squad. Sarries also added England Sevens star Mike Ellery for next season.

Connacht have added Andre Bell as their new Backs and Kicking coach from next season. Munster have confirmed that back-row James Coughlan has been granted a release from his contract (with 1 year remainging) so that he can head abroad to French D2 side Pau.

Newly-promoted from French D2 La Rochelle have have made their first big signing by adding  fly-half Jean-Pascal Barraque from Toulouse. ..Racing Métro have sadly announced that young prop Ebongue Sipamio died on Tuesday just two days after he helped his side win the age grade French national title.

National-Championship-Series-USA-RugbyUSA Rugby News and Updates: USA Womens Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg announced the 50 players that will be wilted down to 30 for the  IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014. Click HERE  to read more.

The finals are set for the national club championships are set. The Finals will take place at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, Wisconsin, for the National Championship Finals, May 31. A historic, 4,000-seat stadium located in the heart of downtown Madison.

Here is the schedule:
2014 USA Rugby Emirates Airline National Club Championships

10:00 AM Men’s Division III Old Blue of New York D3 vs. Life West Gladiators
12:15 PM Women’s Division II Pittsburgh Angels vs. Sacramento Amazons
2:30 PM Men’s Division II Rocky Gorge Rugby vs. Tempe Old Devils
4:45 PM Women’s Division I Chicago North Shore vs. Oregon Sports Union
7:00 PM Men’s Division I Life Running Eagles vs. New Orleans Rugby
CRC

College Rugby Championship 7s
The second most important 7s event in USA Rugby – after the Vegas 7s – kicks off this weekend. The teams competing are:

Pool A: Cal, Drexel, Maryland,Temple
Pool B: Dartmouth, Kutztown, Notre Dame, St. Joseph’s
Pool C: Michigan, Navy, Ohio State, Texas
Pool D: Northeastern, Penn State, South Carolina, UCLA
Pool E: Arizona, Life, Penn, Virginia Tech

RWU will be represented there by Jake Frechette, Matt McCarthy and Johnathan Wicklow Barberie.

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!

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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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