HK7s, Boudjellal, Tuilagi, Aviva, Player Moves, Pro12, USA Rugby, World Rugby News

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Fiji embrace HK7s
Fijian players celebrate the HK7s victory

NEW YORK, NY –  The end of the 6 Nations was not the end of international action this month as the Hong Kong 7s  took place over the weekend. In key non-international action, each of Europe’s three top leagues, the #Top14, the Aviva Premiership and the Guinness Pro 12 reconvened their playoff races and there was also be the latest round of Super Rugby action to behold. So we’ve got plenty to touch upon. But first, let’s first look at the Transfers, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news before we get to the fixtures.

Hong Kong 7s: What a tournament in Hong Kong! Usually there are a lot of metaphors used to describe how tight a title race is. No metaphors needed this time as it’s a mere 3 points that separate first from third. There is also a huge race for the fourth spot and finding out the team that will be promoted to core status as the relegation race tightens. To read all about it, click here.

Player Transactions:
#Top14: Former France lock Julien Bonnaire will leave Clermont at the end of the season to join Top 14 cellar-dwellers Lyon. Originally from the Lyon area, Bonnaire has agreed to join the club regardless of relegation, as he hopes to wind down his career closer to home… The always-entertaining megalomaniac and Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal will return the Bouclier de Brennus (the league trophy) to the league as he overreacts to his side’s home loss to Toulouse.

Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi

Aviva Premiership: In sad news, it appears Manu Tuilagi probably won’t play again this season – according to his Leicester coach Richard Cockerill… Also George North will face an extended period on the sidelines as he looks to recover from the latest in a series of concussions. North was knocked out cold in the game between Northampton and Wasps… London Irish center Eamonn Sheridan has signed for Top 14 club Oyonnax on a two-year contract… Harlequins announced the signing of Edinburgh and Scotland winger Tim Visser for next season.

Guinness Pro12: Connacht and the Ireland RFU have announced the re-signing of  lock Andrew Browne and hooker Jason Harris-Wright Scarlets confirmed that South African lock George Earle has extended his contract with the Welsh region.

USA Rugby News/Updates: In huge blow to the Men’s 15s national team, young prop Ben Tarr has blown out his knee while playing for the Glendale Raptors in the Pacific Rugby Premiership. Tarr will be out a full calendar year.

Canada crushed the AIG MJAAs in second leg of World Rugby U20 Trophy qualifier, to win the series. In a scene reminiscent of the senior men’s national team, the MJAAs were destroyed in the scrum as Canada cruised to a 41-6 victory on Friday March 27, at Westhills Stadium at Rugby Canada’s Center of Excellence.  Maybe this loss will lead to a re-examination of the JWRT, as World Rugby must explain why two of the top tier tier 2 nations youth side needlessly fight it out for one spot. Or why there is no consistency in the scheduling of the tournament or qualifier so that it conflicts with the college educational calender. Very few of the USA players came from major rugby colleges since the tournament interfered with the college schedule. The whole U-20 program also needs to be looked over since the departure of Billy Millard has shown the program to be solely driven by Millard and lost without him.

 World Rugby LogoWorld Rugby News: It was announced that the star-studded World Rugby Awards will take place at Battersea Evolution in London, November 1st, just a day after the Rugby World Cup 2015 final.
The pools have been drawn for round seven of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Tokyo, with Fiji heading Pool A after winning in Hong Kong and the USA in Pool C. For the full list, click here.
As the knockout stages begin for the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup & Challenge Cup, all of the possible semi-final venues were announced. Click here to find out the locations.

As for the weekend’s fixtures:
Super Rugby: It was a mixed weekend for  our Super Rugby expert, Kiwi . The incredible run by the New Zealand Cricket team came to a thundering halt in the final and New Zealand teams struggled in their Super Rugby matches  – but not his Hurricanes. The ‘Canes remain undefeated and that was his little ray of sunshine this weekend. For full coverage of all of the round’s action, click here.

Top 14: French rugby did its best impression of a round of Super Rugby. Our Top 14 expert, put together a review of the round that covers all the high-flying, try-scoring action – which only made the title race tighter, including the Toulouse victory over Toulon that has Boudjellal so furious. Click here to read it.

Aviva Premiership LogoAviva Premiership: Our American Brit Nick Hall will be back later this week his talking points, in the meantime, check out Jake Frechette’s Premiership Promotion article. As for the action, the aforementioned Northampton Saints easily overcame the loss of George North to win handily over WaspsLondon Irish edged out Newcastle, Leicester did just enough to slay Exeter and Saracens easily defeated Harlequins in a London DerbySale made short work of Gloucester in a match of mid-table sides and despite resting their big guns, Bath put London Welsh out of their misery and mathematically condemned to relegation.

 Here are the weekend’s results:
FRI – 27TH MAR 15
Northampton 52 – 30 Wasps
SAT – 28TH MAR 15
London Irish 22 – 21 Newcastle
Leicester 25 – 18 Exeter
Saracens 42 – 14 Harlequins
SUN – 29TH MAR 15
Sale 23 – 6 Gloucester
London Welsh 14 – 29 Bath

Guinness Pro 12: Another weekend of action means more changes in the playoff race in the Pro12. Leinster fought to a stand-still against welcome Glasgow, while Ulster were victorious at home against CardiffScarlets were no match for Edinburgh, while top seed Munster crushed the playoff hopes of Connacht… The Ospreys had an easy time with Zebre while Newport-Gwent had a more difficult time than expected in their defeat of  Treviso.

Here are the results:
FRI – 27TH MAR 15
Leinster 34 – 34 Glasgow Warriors
Ulster 36 – 17 Cardiff Blues
SAT – 28TH MAR 15
Scarlets 15 – 26 Edinburgh
Munster 42 – 20 Connacht
Ospreys 53 – 22 Zebre
Benetton Treviso 17 – 32 Newport Gwent Dragons

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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.