Blanco, Umaga, Currie Cup, Africa Cup, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

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Serge Blanco
Serge Blanco

NEW YORK, NY – After the past few weeks, this is a light week. We have the Super Rugby Playoffs and regional cup action to cover, as well as Women’s rugby action. Not to mention that there is a whole lot of player news and international news to report. With that, let’s get to the weekend preview:

Player Transactions:

Top 14: Toulouse confirmed that Leicester Tigers scrum-half David Mélé will join them for the 2015/2016 seasonAgen have signed Ulster prop Dave Ryan for next season... CJ van der Linde, currently with the Eastern Province Kings as player and scrum coach, is rumored to be the latest South African player headed for Montpellier, according to reports… The reported merger between Bayonne and Biarritz has likely failed with Bayonne President Manu Mérin stepping down and France legend and Biarritz President Serge Blanco resigning from his role with the club… Uruguay were dealt a major blow with the news that their best player, Rodrigo Capo Ortega, will not play for Los Teros at the World Cup. The news was announced by his club Castres, which brings up loads of questions and concerns. Players from Tier Two countries having to choose between playing for their country or for their club has been a rumored problem in the game for the past few years. For more information on that, check out this May 2015 Planet Rugby interview with Dan Leo, the former Samoa lock.

Aviva Premiership: Wasps announced the signing of Rotherham Titans back row forward Alex Rieder ahead of the 2015/16 season Newcastle Falcons confirmed that lock Dominic Barrow has left the club by activating a release clause in his contract to join Leicester Tigers… In two bits of sad Leicester Tigers news, center Anthony Allen has been forced to retire from rugby after failing to recover fully from a knee injury and an RFU Disciplinary Panel has imposed a six-month suspension on Phil Blake after he was found guilty of two breaches (eight separate bets) of RFU Regulation 17 (Anti-Corruption and Betting) while he was employed by Leicester Tigers as a defense coach for the 2014/15 Aviva Premiership season.

Tana and Blues
Tana Umaga

Guinness Pro 12: As we reported last week, Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau’s future remains uncertain with reports he could be signed by two Premiership clubs, either Bath or NorthamptonCardiff Blues forwards coach Dale McIntosh has left the region in the first change under head coach Danny Wilson.

Super Rugby: The Blues have confirmed that former All Black center Tana Umaga will replace the departed John Kirwan as the head coach… The Sharks have signed South African winger/fullback Wandile Mjekevu from French club Perpignan. Also coming to the Sharks will be Springbok loosehead prop, Coenie Oosthuizen, on a four-year deal. Oosthuizen, joins from the Cheetahs, made his Springbok debut in 2012 and has since amassed 21 caps in the green and gold jersey. He is a versatile prop that is able to play on both sides of the scrum… One person leaving the Sharks will be Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit who will swap the Sharks for the Stormers in 2016, according to a report in South Africa. According to Times Live, Sharks chief executive John Smit has confirmed that the 22-year-old has decided to make the switch to the Cape Town-based franchise… The Bulls have confirmed that Handré Pollard has been given permission to join Japanese outfit NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes for three months after the RWC and before the Super Rugby season. Pollard’s coach Frans Ludeke and the Bulls have officially parted ways after he stepped down as head coach after the Super Rugby campaign… Former Bath, Harlequins and London Irish fly-half Chris Malone will join the Waratahs next season as attack and kicking coach… Loose forward Michael Leitch will be back with the Chiefs after signing to return for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby News/Updates: The often overlooked region of USA Rugby, the Midwest, finally got some recognition. James W. Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines, Iowa, will host the 2015 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships on August 8th and 9th.

World Rugby News: Earlier this week, June 23rd was Olympic Day. The day was celebrated by World Rugby holding a number of global events to celebrate it. To see the World Rugby live blog, click here… Following up the global recap, Brumbies and Australia winger Henry Speight has been suspended for five weeks at a SANZAR Judicial Hearing for a dangerous tackle… Less than three months out from the Rugby World Cup Namibia has a new Head Coach. The resigning Danie Vermeulen has been replaced by the Namibian Rugby Union’s Technical Advisor, Phil Davies.

As for the weekend’s fixtures:

Women’s Rugby Super Series – The third biggest series in Women’s rugby, behind the Rugby World Cup and the 6 Nations, is the Super Series. The Super Series is a four-team match between the USA, Canada, England and New Zealand. It is being held in Calgary from 27 June to 6 July. The first match will see the USA take on England; then, hosts Canada will face New Zealand. Here is the livestreaming link for the Women’s Super Rugby Series in Canada, to follow all the action http://livestream.com/rugbycanadaofficial.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 27th Jun 15
USA -England
Canada – New Zealand

Super Rugby: Our Super Rugby expert, Kiwi , has the latest news and preview of the Super Rugby semi-finals. For his great and fantastic preview, click here.

The Currie Cup
The Currie Cup

2015 Currie Cup Qualification: This tournament is a competition between seven teams and will be played between 12 June and 25 July 2015, with the winner qualifying for the 2015 Currie Cup Premier Division. The remaining six teams will play in the 2015 Currie Cup First Division. In round three, Falcons face SouthWest District Eagles, Boland Cavaliers go against Border Bulldogs and Leopards face Griquas.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 27th Jun 15
Falcons – SWD Eagles
Boland Cavaliers – Border Bulldogs
Leopards – Griquas

Exhibition Matches – In non-test match action, a French Barbarians side, made up of the best available players in France, not on the national side, are touring Argentina and will play their second game against the host nation, having won the first one. In another exhibition match, Fiji host Pacific rivals Tonga.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 26th Jun 15
Argentina – French Barbarians
Fiji – Tonga

Africa Cup: The Africa Cup 2015 will be the fifteenth edition of the continental tournament that involves the best African national teams, organized by the Rugby Afrique , formerly known as the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). Given their superiority, the South African national team has rarely participated in the tournament. The four times the SARU has participated, they sent either a U-23 team or amateur side, and they went on to win it. Beyond South Africa, there are up to 27 rugby countries in the Cup with the national participants in the two divisions with each division divided into three groups ( 1A, 1B, 1C, 2West, 2SouthEast, and 2South), with promotion and relegation. Tournament Divisions 1A and 1B’s games often double as qualification games for the Rugby World Cup. In 1C, there is a three-way tournament between Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe “A” occurring this week, that kicked off on Sunday. In the midweek match, Nigeria was able to bounce back quickly and was able to overpower Zimbabwe “A”.

Here are the results:
Wed – 24th Jun 15
1C: Nigeria 34 – 24 Zimbabwe ‘A’

In weekend action, Zambia will tackle Zimbabwe, who will be on a short turnaround. In Division 2 Southeast, Rwanda will battle Congo-Kinshsasa ‘A’ and Congo-Kinshsasa take on neighbors and rivals Congo-Brazzaville in the battle of the best rugby nation in Africa named Congo. Finally in 1A, Kenya will battle Tunisia as the battle for the top team in Africa continues.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 27th Jun 15
1C: Zambia – Zimbabwe ‘A’
2 SE SF: Rwanda – Congo-Kinshasa ‘A’
2 SE SF: Congo-Kinshasa – Congo-Brazzaville

Sun – 28th Jun 15
1A: Kenya – Tunisia

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, Audrey Youn, Akweley Okine, Rocky Brown and Declan Yeats, respectively.

And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.

About Junoir Blaber 867 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.