NEW YORK, NY- To grasp the kind of weekend we just had, wrap your mind around this. We are in the second season, aka the playoffs, for the Pro12, Aviva Premeirship and Top14, Europe’s top leagues. Also, there was the start of the final third, aka the business end, of the season for Super Rugby . This meant every game was a win or go home, so each match was dripping with intensity. Add to that, there was Tier 3 occurring on 3 continents. Plus, the ladies got in on the act as the Amsterdam 7s was the final leg of women’s 7s circuit and there was no runaway champion yet. The Women’s Asia 4 Nations Championship was also kicking off. In short, every aspect of play was of vital importance so let’s get into the most intense Weekend Rugby Recap, to date:
Amsterdam 7s – The Amsterdam 7s was the last stop on the women’s circuit. In surprise to no one, old rivals, New Zealand and Australia, were neck and neck for the series lead. As many expected, the two faced off in the final with New Zealand winning to secure their second straight series title. Australia’s Emilee Cherry was named 7s player of the year, to help ease her, her team and the ARU‘s pain. Meanwhile, the USA secured 7th by winning the plate and Canada finished 3rd after defeating England in the 3rd place match.
Here are the results:
Cup: New Zealand
The 2013/2014 IRB Womens World Series Champions are New Zealand.
The Asian RFU Womens 4 Nations Rugby championship will take place in Hong Kong this year. This is the top Divison, the division II event will take place in a different location date and time. In this weekend’s action, the WRWC qualified Kazakhstan were fortunate to escape their match with a victory against a the fired-up tournament host, Hong Kong. The early match saw powerhouse Japan easily dismantle Singapore.
Here are the results:
SUN – 18TH MAY 14
WARC Japan 37 – 5 Singapore
WARC Hong Kong 10 – 13 Kazakhstan
Aviva Premiership – The East Midlands Machiavellian Rugger Nick Hall will be back his review of both matches later. However, to quickly recap the weekend’s action, a 14 man Northampton over came their handicap to pull off a home victory over rivals Leicester. Saracens remained in clinical form as the dispatched, what had been a in-form Harlequins side.
Rabodirect Pro12 – The Rabodirect Pro12 also had some very intense encounters. In the league’s final year, the Glasgow Warriors will be making their first ever finals appearance after grinding out a victory against perennial powerhouse Munster. In a re-match of last year’s final Ulster traveled to the RDS in Dublin to face defending champion’s Leinster. It was another tight contest but once again the reigning champs emerged victorious.
Tier 3 – The weekend’s Tier 3 calendar has lightened up in Europe but is picking up in other areas of the globe. 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. Saturday’s fixture saw the undefeated (since their inception) Cyprus Moufflons continue their winning streak with a heavy victory over Hungary.
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 doubled as RWCQs. In the first RWCQ Korea were soundly trashed by Japan meanwhile upcoming sides Sri Lanka and The Philippines faced off in a sphincter tight affair that say the Philippines scrap by with a 1 point victory.
The SAMC is the same as the two previously mentioned tournaments but for South America and that has 4 divisions featuring 15 teams. The top division of this tournament is sometimes known as the CONSUR Cup. In the first match of the cup, Argentina showed their game in class by sending out a team full of U-20 players and still easily trouncing Uruguay.
The NACRA Championship is the same as the three previously mentioned tournaments but for North America and the Caribbean. It is not as layered as the other three competitions and rather 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 saw might Jamaica barely survive a fierce challenge from the Turks & Caicos while Guyana had no problems with Barbados. The British Virgin Islands were surprisingly edged out by the St. Vincent & the Grenadines and upcoming program Mexico continued their good form with a solid victory over The Bahamas.
Here are the results:
SAT – 17TH MAY 14
ENC Cyprus 46 – 13 Hungary
ASIA5N/RWCQ Sri Lanka 25 – 26 Philippines
ASIA5N/RWCQ Korea 5 – 62 Japan
SAMC Uruguay 9 – 65 Argentina
NACRA CH Jamaica 10 – 6 Turks & Caicos
NACRA CH British Virgin Islands 22 – 24 St. Vincent & the Grenadines
NACRA CH Barbados 19 – 48 Guyana
NACRA CH Bahamas 18 – 33 Mexico
Signings/Player Moves: Mark Hammett has been confirmed as the new coach of the Blues. Cardiff Blues not the Super Rugby Blues. In other coaching news, Bernard Laporte‘s ban has been lifted so he will be free to coach Toulon once again from the touchline.
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.