NEW YORK, NY – We may not see a weekend of more entertaining or tense rugby again this year. There were the several title deciding matches in the final weekend of the 6 Nations, the Women’s 6 Nations, the U-20 6 Nations and the 6 Nations “B”. The LV= Cup also had a fantastic final this weekend. In Super Rugby, there was some fantastic action that was more than replay worthy. We have some sad news involving the World Rugby Pacific Challenge and its matches. There are also the NACRA Championships to go over. However, as always, we must first cover of the Transfer Rumors, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news before the fixtures. Now lets not waste time and get into the Global Rugby Recap:
Aviva Premiership: Saracens announced that CEO Edward Griffiths will leave the club at the end of this season to pursue new opportunities. Griffiths had been CEO for seven successful years at the club and worked well with Saracens chairman, Nigel Wray, who extended his best wishes to Griffiths.
Guinness Pro12: Wales prop Adam Jones appears set to leave Cardiff Blues at the end of the season with the region apparently not offering a new deal.
USA Rugby News/Updates: According to our #Top14 Expert , former USA Rugby Boys High School and Junior All-American, Ben Cima will begin a 1 month trial with Toulouse in April as per reports in the French newspaper Mid Olympique… On the World Rugby website, there is a video interview with Zack Test that is worth a look. Click here to view it.
World Rugby News: In incredibly sad news, World Rugby, Oceania Rugby and the rugby world were saddened to learn of the passing of Fiji Warriors tight-head prop Iosefo Bele Tabalala in Suva. According to reports, while competing in the World Rugby Pacific Challenge, Tabalala failed to wake up on Saturday morning and was pronounced dead by the medics. World Rugby released the following statement:
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have made a requests that in the future, in-bound June Test series in non-World Cup years to be rescheduled so that Super Rugby can run without a break.… … Philippe Sella is taking legal action against journalist Pierre Ballester and his publisher for doping allegations in the book ‘Rugby à charges’; which came out last week. Ballester suggests that Sella, and his French teammates, took amphetamines, “in exceptional circumstances”, during their career…
As for the weekend’s fixtures:
Super Rugby: Our resident Kiwi and Super Rugby Expert Jamie Wall has covered an exciting weekend in Super Rugby. There was the sending off of Bismarck Du Plessis, homophobic slurs uttered, questioning of ref calls and they even managed to squeeze in some rugby. His complete review of all the action will be up shortly.
RBS 6 Nations: The final round of matches in the 6 nations left fans shaking their heads. They want to know why the teams can’t play with this kind of excitement and width all the time. Each match was exciting as the three way race between Wales, Ireland and England came down to the final whistle. Our American Brit scholar, Nick Hall will have his review of all the action, later today.
RBS Women’s 6 Nations: Our new women’s rugby correspondent team of Audrey Youn and Akweley Okine had to follow their awesome debut preview women’s 6N. The women’s title race went down to the wire on Super Sunday. Our young team members matched the player’s efforts with a great review of their own that will come out in a matter of moments.
RBS U-20 6 Nations: The future of European rugby, the U-20s 6N, was also decided this weekend. England are the reigning U-20 JWC Champions and were able to become the U-20 Champions of Europe after defeating France, who finished 2nd, in the the Junior Le Crunch to win the title. Italy came agonizing close to winning against Wales and Scotland took down Ireland to finish third.
Here are the results:
Fri – 20th Mar 2015
Italy U20s 21 – 23 Wales U20s
Scotland U20s 17 – 10 Ireland U20s
England U20s 24 – 11 France U20s
European Nations Cup:The ENC, or the 6 Nations “B” , is the premier tournament for the second-tier nations of Europe. Believe it or not, the ENC consists of seven divisions, each featuring between four and six teams. The matches played will determine who will get promoted and relegated from groups 1B, 2A – 2D, and 3A over a two-year cycle. Division 1A aka the 6 Nations B is where the six best teams in the rest of Europe reside and there is no promotion to the Europe’s premier international rugby competition, only relegation back to 1B.
In 1A this weekend, Russia was too much for Portugal while Spain outclassed newly-pormoted Germany. In the most highly-anticipated match of the ENC, Romania hosted Georgia in a match of ENC champions over the last few years. As expected the match was masterclass in 10 man rugby and Georgia emerged victorious.
Here are the results:
SAT – 21st Mar 15
1A: Russia 21-8 Portugal
1A: Spain 48-16 Germany
1A: Romania 6-15 Georgia
LV=Cup: The LV= Cup will be front and center this weekend as it reaches its climax. 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. If one player has developed in this tournament, it has been European class of 2015 member, Maro Itoje of Saracens. Itoje captained Saracens to a victory over the defending champions Exeter Chiefs in a match that wasn’t decided until added extra time..
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sun – 22nd Mar 2015
Exeter Chiefs 20 – 23 Saracens
World Rugby Pacific Challenge: The WRPC, was formerly known as the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup, but to make sure it wasn’t confused with the Pacific Nations Cup, it was re-branded. It has actually been held in an Australasian country since 2006. It features the National ‘A’ representative teams from the Asia-Pacific region, and is run by World Rugby through FORU, the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions. This year’s development teams are from Japan, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji as one would expect. In a move to improve their program, Argentina (Pampas XV) joined last year and this year they are accompanied by Canada. After three round the WRPC will play a final on Monday in Suva, Fiji. In the 5th place match Junior Japan will face Tonga A, while Samoa A challenges Canada A for 3rd place. The championship match will be between Pampas XV and the Fiji Warriors. It would be storybook if the Warriors can bring the title home for Bele.
Here is the schedule:
Monday – 23rd Mar 2015
5th Place Match: Junior Japan – Tonga A
3rd Place Match: Samoa A – Canada A
Championship: Pampas XV – Fiji Warriors
NACRA CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015: Another regional tournament in full swing is the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Championship. The NACRA Championship is for the countries in North America and the Caribbean. NACRA has 2 zones with top level (championship) and a bottom level (cup). Each Championship zone has 3 teams while the Cup Zones have 4 each. The Zones are regionally divided, so there is a North Zone and South Zone. USA Rugby competes in the North Zone Championship division. The USA is represented by the USA South Regional all-star team, in order to develop talent and make the competition a much fairer one…The matches this weekend saw the Cayman Islands beat USA South by the slimmest margin possible, while Bahamas were too much for Bermuda . Powerhouse Trinidad & Tobago ran roughshod over Barbados and finally St Vincent and the Grenadines were too much for St Lucia.
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 21st Mar 15
North Zone Championship League
Cayman Islands 25 – 24 USA South
North Zone Cup League
Bermuda 15 – 21 Bahamas
South Zone Championship League
Trinidad & Tobago 44 – 7 Barbados
South Zone Cup League
St Vincent and the Grenadines 16 – 8 St Lucia
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, James Harrington, Jamie Wall, Nick Hall, DJ Eberle, Jake Frechette, Scheenagh Harrington, Jamie Loyd, Cody Kuxmann, Karen Ritter and Declan Yeats, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.