NEW YORK, NY – It was the calm before the storm this weekend. The only two tournaments going on this week were in Europe and they were the development tournament of the LV= Cup and, thankfully, the premier competition that is the Top 14. Still, it gives us a little more time to cover the weekend’s Transfer Rumors, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news. So, let’s dive into the Weekend Rugby Preview:
We begin with the Aviva Premiership. Sale Sharks announced the signing of a new deal by lock Jonathan Mills and hooker Neil Briggs… Bath have confirmed the signing of Melbourne Rebels prop Max Lahiff.
In the Pro 12, Newport Gwent Dragons announced the signing of South African scrum-half Sarel Pretorius on a long-term deal. Pretorius’ arrival led to the Dragons have announcing that scrum-half Jonathan Evans will leave at the end of this campaign… Munster and the Irish Rugby Football Union have confirmed that center/full-back Denis Hurley has signed a contract extension. Munster also confirmed that backrowers Paddy Butler and Sean Dougall will depart for new shores at the end of the season.
In Super Rugby, New South Wales Rugby Union and the Waratahs have announced an agreement with the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust that will see the NSW Waratahs play all of their regular season, quarter-final and semi-final matches at Allianz Stadium from 2016. In the rumors section, SA sports news network Supersport have sources in Japan apparently confirming that Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee has made a commitment to the Kobe Kobelco Steelers to take over the coaching reins from Gary Gold when the Super Rugby season ends in July.
USA Rugby News and Updates: USA Rugby and North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) announced that the 2015 NACRA Sevens rugby tournament on June 13-14, will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, with the hosting bid going to the Triangle Sports Commission. The event will serve as the regional qualification tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympics… The newly-established USA Rugby Girls High School All-American (GHSAA) team named its inaugural roster for the Las Vegas Invitational (LVI), to be played February 13-15… In news that slipped under the wire, Pacific Rugby Premiership season started this weekend and two keys announcements made earlier this month were that San Fransisco-Golden Gate (SFGG) Rugby has hired Mark Giacheri (formerly of the New South Wales County Eagles of the Australian National Rugby Championship) as new PRP & head coach. Giacheri will coach SFGG alongside long-standing assistant coach Grant Wells and newly appointed team manager Mike Bobis. Also this season Canterbury will be the official jersey supplier to each of the seven teams in the league.
World Rugby News: World Rugby has announced the dates for this year’s Pacific Challenge (formerly known as the Pacific Rugby Cup) in Fiji. The key development tournament will take place at the ANZ Stadium in Suva, Fiji, and will feature hosts Fiji A, neighbors Tonga A and Samoa A, Japan Juniors, Argentina PAMPAS XV and newcomers Canada A. The round-robin competition will run from March 10-23, with match days on 10, 14 and 18 March and the final held on 23 March.
As for the weekend’s fixtures:
Top 14: The #Top14 was the sole saving grace of top-flight action this weekend. It didn’t disappoint as Stade Francias and Clermont suffered shocks and there were plenty of matches where the action was better than a Hollywood script. Our Ligue Nationale de Rugby expert has put together a great review of all the action this weekend in his piece, just click here.
LV=Cup: The LV= Cup held center stage this weekend. This cup is sometimes referred to as the Anglo-Welsh competition. It serves as an important developmental tournament for young players in Wales and England. This weekend saw Harlequins edged out by Bath, Gloucester beat the Ospreys, and Exeter survive a fierce challenge from Newport-Gwent. Northern rivals Newcastle and Sale clashed, with Newcastle winning handily, while Scarlets dispatched London Irish. Leicester vanquished arch-rivals Northampton, Wasps somehow blew a 25-point lead and lost a shootout to the Cardiff Blues and London Welsh are still winless in all competitions as they went down to Saracens.
Here are the weekend’s results:
Sat – 31st Jan 15
Harlequins 21 – 23 Bath
Gloucester 32 – 25 Ospreys
Leicester 17 – 8 Northampton
Scarlets 27 – 18 London Irish
Sun – 1st Feb 15
Wasps 42 – 45 Cardiff Blues
London Welsh 15 – 20 Saracens
Newport Gwent Dragons 32 – 37 Exeter
Newcastle 39 – 19 Sale
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.