Global Rugby Recap: Link Resigns, Bledisloe 3, ARC, ECC, Currie, ITM, Player Moves

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Link says goodbye and good riddance
Link says goodbye and good riddance

NEW YORK, NY – When the final whistle blew in the final game of the weekend, the whole RWU staff sighed in relief. There was a lot of rugby! Off the field, there was the shock resignation of Ewen “Link” Mckenzie as head coach the Australian Wallabies. Link resigned after the third Bledisloe Cup match… Speaking of SANZAR news, there were playoffs for two of its domestic leagues and the final match-day for its third league… Meanwhile up north in Europe, there was the first round of the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge – the Heineken Cup 2.0, if you will. There was also the final match-day of the Americas Rugby Championship and Tier 3 and Women’s rugby action. Throw in Player Transactions and USA Rugby News. and we’ve got a bucket-full of stuff to get to, so here’s your Global Rugby Recap:

Ladies First:
Women’s International: In a test between friendly European rivals, Sweden hosted the Netherlands in a very tense match as the Dutch had to struggle for an upper hand before they could emerge victorious.

Here are the results:
Sat – 18th Oct 14
W INT Sweden 3 – 10 Netherlands

Link Resigns: The resignation of Ewen “Link” McKenzie was a shock to all. There were rumors going around as a result of the on-going  scandal involving Kurtley Beale and Di Patston but no one expected this. RWU‘s two Jamie’s are on the case. Look for coverage from Kiwi rugby expert, Jamie Wall in his match recap and our English rugby savant in Cape Town,  Jamie Loyd, points the finger at the culprits. Check it out.

Bledisloe III: The match that occurred before the resignation was a great one. Though Lord Bledisloe’s Cup was staying in New Zealand there was still a tussle with a thrilling finish. Jamie Wall covers all the action from his lair. Please click here.

Americas Rugby Championship: In the brief history of the ARC, the Argentine Jaguars have been in it 4 times and have won it each time. Despite that the ARC is important as developmental tournament for Canada, the USA, Uruguay & Argentina as the teams are combination of capped players and new blood gaining experience.  Though the title was decided there was still a final matchday to be played. Our Eagle-eyed Eagles fan, , has great review of the Eagles v Uruguay match.

European Champions Cup: The revised and rebooted version of the Heineken Cup – known as the European (Rugby) Champions Cup – kicked off this weekend. What a weekend of action it was; As there were tense affairs throughout. Our East Midlands Man Nick Hall will  have a review of all the ECC action shortly, and also expect a review of the Six Pack’s picks later in the week.

European_Rugby_Challenge_Cup_LogoEuropean Challenge Cup: The ugly step-sister of the Heineken Cup used to be the known as the Amlin Challenge Cup. For the Champions Cup, it’s now the European Challenge Cup… On Thursday, Gloucester welcomed Brive in the first match of the new era for both competitions. Gloucester was heavily favored going in and justified that expectation by dominating and shutting out Brive. As for the matches that went on this weekend, Newcastle slaughtered Bucharest, Bordeaux was edged out by EdinburghGrenoble traveled to Cardiff and were dominated by the Blues… Mighty Connacht introduced newly promoted #Top14 side La Rochelle to European competition in a rough manner…  Bayonne managed to blunt a dangerous Exeter side… Stade Francais were shocked at home by Newport-Gwent and London Welsh visited Lyon in search of their first win in all competitions – but came away empty-handed… Oyonnax and London Irish were favorites to win in Italy against Zebre and Rovigo, respectively, and they didn’t disappoint.

Here are the results:
Thu – 16th Oct 14
Pool 5 Gloucester 55 – 0 Brive
Fri – 17th Oct 14
Pool 3 Newcastle 43 – 19 Bucuresti
Pool 4 Bordeaux-Begles 13 – 15 Edinburgh
Sat – 18th Oct 14
Pool 1 Cardiff Blues 37 – 14 Grenoble
Pool 2 Connacht 48 – 12 La Rochelle
Pool 2 Bayonne 30 – 24 Exeter
Pool 3 Stade Francais 22 – 38 Newport-Gwent Dragons
Pool 4 LOU Rugby 28 – 18 London Welsh
Pool 5 Zebre 24 – 33 Oyonnax
Sun – 19th Oct 14
Pool 1 London Irish 70 – 14 Rovigo

Currie Cup: And then there were two. The 2014 Currie Cup semi-final round is over. On Saturday, the Lions absolutely crushed the Sharks in Jo’burg… and the best regular season side, Western Province, emerged victorious against the Blue Bulls.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 18th Oct 14
Lions 50 – 20 Sharks
Western Province 31 – 23 Blue Bulls

ITM Cup: The 2014 ITM Cup is also in its playoff rounds. As a two-tier competition, the ITM Cup has two groups of four competing for their own titles. The second tier, aka Championship, saw Ranfurly Shield holders Hawkes’ Bay survive a huge fight from Northland to make the final, while Southland fell short against mighty Manawatu….

In the senior circuit, aka the Premiership, a new reign will begin. 7-time consecutive Champion Canterbury fell to Tasman! Legendary powerhouse Auckland were defeated by three tries in extra time, courtesy of Taranaki. This means that for the first time since 1998, the ITM Cup (or Air NZ Cup, NPC) final will not feature Canterbury, Waikato, Wellington or Auckland. That’s something.

Here are the results:
Fri – 17th Oct 14
Championship semifinal: Hawkes’ Bay 26 – 21 Northland
Sat – 18th Oct 14
Championship semifinal: Manawatu 23 -18 Southland
Premiership semifinal: Taranaki 49 -30 Auckland
Premiership semifinal: Tasman 26 – 6 Canterbury

the-australian-rugby-championship-trophyAustralia NRC: The inaugural NRC entered its ultimate round, this weekend. In the Thursday night game, Sydney Stars won a shootout against cross-town rivals the North Harbour Rays.
As for the matches going on this weekend:
The NSW Country Eagles outlasted a strong challenge from Perth Spirt… The Melbourne Rising easily handled Queensland CountryBrisbane City had no problems against the UC Vikings.

Here are the results:
Thurs – 16th Oct 14
Sydney Stars 49 – 40  North Harbour Rays
Sat – 18th Oct 14
NSW Country Eagles 40 – 34 Perth Spirit
Melbourne Rising 47 – 26 Queensland Country
Brisbane City 37 – 16 UC Vikings

Tier 3 All action this week was from 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. On Saturday, Scandinavian rivals Norway and Finland faced off and the Norwegians were able to ride the home field advantage to victory.

Here are the results:
Sat – 18th Oct 14
ENC Norway 20 – 12 Finland

Conversion Kick:
Transactions: It appears that the Steffon Armitage playing for England story will not go away. Toulon head coach Bernard Laporte has told England coach Stuart Lancaster that Steffon Armitage will be released for all England’s training camps – according to the French rumor mill… Montpellier have announced the signing of Australian Ben Lucas as medical joker for injured France international fly-half François Trinh-Duc.  Lucas can play scrum-half, fly-half and full-back, but he is expected to be a FH during his time in France.

This season will see major changes to the way the risk of concussion is managed across the professional game in England. The RFU, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players Association have worked together to focus specifically on concussion awareness and education, game day management and the graduated return to play for those players who have suffered a concussion. Click here for more info.

Eagles with Evans
Eagles with Evans

USA Rugby News and Updates: The entire Eagles Select XV roster and coaching staff visited Esquimalt High School in Victoria, British Columbia, Wednesday before the second match of the 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship to present a special gift to a local student.

Esquimalt rugby player Mikayla Evans received a round-trip package to the USA Eagles’ match against the New Zealand All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 1. The senior was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma about a year ago and has continued to volunteer her time with organizations like Gold for Kids Charity.

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 as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.

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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.