NEW YORK, NY – Happy Boxing Day to our readers around the world. And Happy Friday/the day after Christmas, to our American readers. But enough with the niceties for now, with Transfer Rumors, Player Transactions, USA Rugby & World Rugby news, weekend fixtures as the three leagues in Europe all playing, we’ve got a lot to cover in short order; Let’s it kick it thorough the posts and get to this week’s Weekend Rugby Preview:
Transactions: The January silly season is almost upon us, so expect all kinds of shocking reports and rumors. They will usually involve big name players and big name clubs.
We begin with the rumor mill of the Top 14… According to French Newspaper, Midi Olympique, Danny Cipriani is a shock target for European champions Toulon if he can’t get back into England contention. Another French News outlet, L’Equipe, is reporting that Montpellier will sack Fabien Galthie and replace him with Jake White… Bordeaux-Begles have captured the signature of France international full-back Jean-Marcellin Buttin, who will join the club from Clermont…Grenoble announced that 29-year-old prop Dayna Edwards has re-signed with the club through 2017, becoming the ninth player to decide to stay in the French Alps. Our Top 14 expert will follow up on these rumors in his preview.
In the Aviva Premiership, Wasps head coach Dai Young has reportedly admitted the club are interested in Leinster fly-half Jimmy Gopperth, while questioning current fly-half Andy Goode‘s future… Sale were pleased to announce that Josh Beaumont and Mike Haley have both agreed to new two-year contracts with the club. Northampton Saints fans were excited with the news that fly-half Stephen Myler, center George Pisi, center Tom Stephenson and fullback James Wilson have all re-signed with the club. The four make up a huge chunk of Saints’ first-choice backline. Unfortunately, the future of England fullback Ben Foden is still uncertain and utility back Glen Dickson will be leaving the club with immediate effect… Amid allegations and the start of an inquiry into violation of the salary cap, Bath and Saracens have made some interesting moves. Sarries have agreed to the immediate release and signing of Kiwi wing Jack Wilson by the Super Rugby Sharks. It is an interesting because a team with deep South African ties like Saracens unloads a player to a South African team, who they are well connected with, not to mention there is already incredible amount of depth at wing in South Africa and Wilson is a foreign national, white and from a non-African nation which goes against most of the SARU‘s racial transformation policy… Bath on the other hand have added Glasgow‘s Fijian scrumhalf Nikola Matawalu after next year’s Rugby World Cup. Bath had been rumored as chasing the signature of Wallaby scrumhalf Will Genia but maybe this move has salary cap implications.
In the Pro 12, Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac says he is waiting for Rhys Priestland to make up his mind on whether he signs a new contract with the region. On the bright side for Scarlets prop and team captain Ken Owens and full-back Liam Williams have signed new deals with the club… The Neath-Swansea Ospreys were enthusiastic at the re-signing of Wales international flanker Justin Tipuric, through to the end of 2018 season. They also announced the signing of 27-year-old Fijian international lock Tevita Cavubati until the end of the season from the ITM side, Tasman Makos… Leinster and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) announced that second-rower Devin Toner has signed a two-year contract extension through at least June 2017… Treviso have announced the loan signing of young Scottish and Glasgow prop D’arcy Rae. until the end of January.
In big Super Rugby news, Nick “The Honey Badger” Cummins will rejoin the Western Force for next season’s Super Rugby competition on a loan deal which will make him eligible for Australia for the 2015 World Cup. Cummins left the Force for a lucrative two-year-deal with the Coca Cola Red Sparks of Japan, as the increased income would allow him to provide financial support for his father Mark – who has cancer – and two family members who suffer from cystic fibrosis. The draw of playing a World Cup appears to be of huge importance and kudos to the Red Sparks for being incredibly accommodating.
USA Rugby News and Updates: According to Goff rugby report, the University of Oklahoma men’s collegiate rugby program has announced the appointment of Doug Neubauer as its new head coach and John Lynd as assistant forwards coach to Corey Ringhisen… According to TIAR, The men’s High School All-Americans are set to assemble in the upcoming week with well over 100 players set to attend – many of whom were there last year. The men’s U-20s were originally scheduled to hold a camp at the same time but that camp has been cancelled due to budgetary concerns. In addition, there is a belief that with many returning players from last year the selection process won’t be as long and the time and money spent on having a camp would be better spent in the lead-up to their qualifying series against Canada… Also The Leicester Mercury confirmed recently USA-capped Australian born lock Greg Peterson that he has a contract that runs through the end of the season.
World Rugby News: The Confederaçao Brasilera de Rugby, World Rugby and Rio 2016 had a purpose-built stadium on the sand of Ipanema Beach as the crown jewel in massive rugby event that was held on December 20th. It featured a coaching clinic for children, an international and a local section, a men’s tournament featuring Argentina, Brazil, Italy and a Barbarian-type invitational type side. It also included two international women’s teams – Brazil and Argentina – and attracted a crowd well up over 1,500 for a full day’s entertainment.
WEEKEND FIXTURE LIST:
Top 14: As we touched upon in the Transactions section, the on-goings in Top 14 filled the sports sections of French newspapers. On top of all of this there is another fantastic round of action to look forward to. Our Ligue Nationale de Rugby expert covers it all . For his exceptional preview, click here.
Aviva Premiership: Round 11 of the AP will kickoff this weekend. It will feature the annual “Big Game” event at Twickenham . In addition, there are other key match-ups that demand time in the limelight. Our East Midlands man, , has put together a great preview of the round, please click here to read it.
Guinness Pro 12: In the Pro 12, the Boxing Day weekend fixtures can be considered the derby round. Each match will feature inter-country rivals fighting for bragging rights. It cannot be considered derby weekend without the O’Classico match. The O’Classico will feature Leinster traveling to Thomond Park to face the mighty men of Munster. Also on Boxing Day, Cardiff will host Welsh regional rival Newport-Gwent and in the other Irish derby Ulster host Connacht. Saturday will see the first match in the 1872 Cup and is played between Glasgow and Edinburgh, as the two cities have been rugby rivals that long. Ospreys will take on Scarlets in the other Welsh derby match. Sunday will have the rather anti-climactic finish of hosting the shortest and least intense rivalry game when Italian sides Zebre and Treviso clash.
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 26th Dec 14
Cardiff Blues – Newport Gwent Dragons
Munster – Leinster
Ulster – Connacht
Sat – 27th Dec 14
Glasgow Warriors – Edinburgh
Ospreys – Scarlets
Sun – 28th Dec 14
Zebre – Benetton Treviso
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.