Messam, SBW, O’Dea, Currie Cup, U20 WC, Tier 2/3 Cups, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

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Liam Messam
Liam Messam

NEW YORK, NY – Beyond the Super Rugby Playoffs, it is very quiet on the domestic front. Most nations are focused on preparing for the world cup or one of the many regional cups and international World Rugby-sponsored cups. There a plenty that are also looking at the regional 7s Olympic qualifiers. There is still some player news and international news to report, though. So with that said, here’s the global recap:

Player Transactions:

Aviva Premiership: Exeter Chiefs  have signed young lock Jonny Hill from fellow Premiership side Gloucester on a two-year deal.

Guinness Pro 12: Munster confirmed that center/wing Luke O’Dea will play in France next season in the Pro D2; the club he will play for has yet to be announced.

Super Rugby: The Chiefs will be without the services of Liam Messam and Sonny Bill Williams in 2016 as both pursue playing in the Olympics.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby News/Updates: The third annual USA Rugby High School Stars and Stripes Camp will be held at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley July 21-25, USA Rugby announced… In case you missed it on Friday, we wanted to repeat that a member of the New York Rugby Club family, Karina Nicolakis, a former U19 player, was involved in a car accident on May 13th. As a result of this accident, Karina is paralyzed from the waist down. There is a gofundme page set up to assist her financially, you can also read more about her and this incident on that site, http://www.gofundme.com/Karina-Nicolakis.

World Rugby News: Henry Speight of the Brumbies will appear at a SANZAR Judicial Hearing after he received a red card for foul play during a Super Rugby match over the weekend.

As for the weekend’s fixtures:

The Super Rugby Trophy
The Super Rugby Trophy

Super Rugby: Our Super Rugby expert, Kiwi , has recapped the opening round of the  Super Rugby playoffs. He covers the weekend’s news and gives a detailed analysis of each match. Click here to read his review.

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 two, Leopards thrashed Falcons, Griffons edged out thew Southwest District Eagles and Griquas dominated Boland Cavaliers.

Here are the results:
Sat – 20th Jun 15
Leopards 53–7 Falcons
Griffons 25–21 SWD Eagles
Griquas 48–17 Boland Cavaliers

Regional Olympic Qualifiers: Each of World Rugby’s regional rugby unions must hold playoffs for 2016_Rio_Summer_Olympics_logotheir teams to book their places in the XXIX Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 for the Men and the Women. The regional unions are Rugby Afrique, Oceania Rugby, Rugby Europe, Asia Rugby, NACRA, and ConSuR. NACRA and ConSuR are done and Africa’s will be later this year. Europe is currently in the process of theirs. The 2015 Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series consists of 2 legs, Kazan, Russia (13/14 June) and Malemort, France (20/21 June). Here are Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series standings after this weekend:

2015 Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Standings:
Points After Final Leg
1. France – 38 points
2. Russia – 36
3. Spain – 32
4. England – 30
5. Ireland – 24
6. Netherlands – 20
7. Wales – 14
8. Italy – 9
9. Ukraine – 8
10. Portugal – 7
11. Scotland – 6
12. Germany – 4

Note the following regarding Rugby Europe and Olympic Qualification for Women’s 7s:
– All participants except England, Scotland and Wales are eligible to qualify for the Olympic Games.
– Therefore, the highest ranked eligible team after all two legs of the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series, France, has qualified directly for Rio.
– The second highest eligible team after the two legs of the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series, Russia, qualifies to play in World Rugby’s Global Repechage Tournament in 2016.
– All other eligible teams in the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series will take part in the European Olympic Repechage Tournament in Lisbon on 18/19 July.

U20 World Cup: The JWC is the yearly World Cup held for U-20 teams of the top tier rugby playing nations. Japan qualified for it by winning last year’s Junior World Trophy, the second tier competition. This year’s tournament was held in Italy. England went into the tournament as defending champions for the past two years. This weekend, the tournament determined who will finish 1st/3rd/5th/7th/9th/11th place. In the battle for 11th, Samoa fell to Italy by the slimmest of margins, while Argentina were too much for Japan in the battle for 9th Ireland were able to dispatch Scotland to win 7th; Australia suffered a tough loss to Wales for 5th; and South Africa powered past France for 3rd. In the championship final, New Zealand managed to defeat England in an instant classic that had all the tension and feel of a big-time test match. Also, for sheer amusement, check out NZ U20 head coach Scott Robertson showing his B-Boy style in celebration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em–WGjTN8o

Here are the results:
Sat – 20th Jun 15
Final: New Zealand 21-16 England
3rd Place Final: South Africa 31-18 France
5th Place Final: Australia 23-28 Wales
7th Place Semi Final: Ireland 17-9 Scotland
9th Place Semi Final: Argentina 38-21 Japan
11th Place Semi Final: Samoa 19-20 Italy

FINAL STANDINGS
1. New Zealand
2. England
3. South Africa
4. France
5. Australia
6. Wales
7. Ireland
8. Scotland
9. Argentina
10. Japan
11. Italy
12. Samoa – relegated to the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2016

Nations Cup – The 10th annual WRO Nations Cup was held in Bucharest, Romania for the ninth time in a row. It was played between 12 and 21 June and ran alongside the 2015 IRB Tbilisi Cup in Georgia. All fixtures were played at the 5,000 capacity Stadionul National de Rugby, where Romania won back to back cup titles in 2012 and 2013. The other teams in the tournament were Namibia, Spain and the Argentina Jaguars. On the final weekend, Romania secured the title with a complete performance as they shutout the Jaguars, and Spain were too much for Namibia.

Here are the results:
Sat – 20th Jun 15
NC: Namibia 3-20 Spain
NC: Romania 23-0 Argentina Jaguars

Tbilisi Cup – The 2015 WRO Tbilisi Cup will be the third edition of this tournament. It was played from the 13th to 21st June 2015 at the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi. The hosts Georgia welcomed Emerging Italy, Uruguay and Emerging Ireland (Ireland’s third side). Emerging Ireland won the tournament as they romped to victory over Georgia, and Emerging Italy surprised people with a winning display against Uruguay.

Here are the results:
Sat – 20th Jun 15
TC Uruguay 13-23 Emerging Italy
TC Georgia 12 -45 Emerging Ireland

Exhibition Match – 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 played their first game. Surprisingly, they had a confident victory against the hosts. In another exhibition match, Mauritius won easily over the isle of Reunion, an overseas department of France and, therefore, not a member of World Rugby.

Here are the results:
Sat – 20th Jun 15
Argentina 20 – 28 French Barbarians
Mauritius 39- 10 Reunion

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, 2A, 2B, and 2C ), 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 first match, Nigeria lost to Zambia in a controversial match according the reports. Apparently Nigeria filed a protest because the assistant refs were from Zambia and Nigeria feel hard done by some key calls. In the midweek match, Nigeria will have to bounce back and take on  Zimbabwe “A”.

Here are the results:
Sat – 20th Jun 15
1c: Zambia 15 – 8 Nigeria

Here is the schedule:
Wed – 24th Jun 15
Nigeria – Zimbabwe

cranesThe Elgon Cup is held annually and contested between the rugby teams of Kenya and Uganda. The competition and the Cups are named after Mount Elgon, a mountain on the border of the two countries. The men’s and women’s teams of these countries compete for their respective Cups on a Home-and-Away basis. As Kenya has grown as a power, they are sending their “A” side against Uganda. This weekend saw the return leg in Uganda. The Uganda Rugby Cranes won, winning their first title since 2012 with a dominant second half display that saw them beat defending champions Kenya “A” at the Legends Rugby Club in Kampala by 5 points to win the Elgon Cup on aggregate 47 – 45!  Kenya’s Lionesses retained the Women’s Elgon Cup with a 12-11 aggregate win, topping Uganda’s Lady Cranes 7-6 at the Legends Rugby Club.

Here are the results:
Sat – 20th Jun 15
Men: Uganda 30 – 25 Kenya A
Women: Uganda 6-7 Kenya

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.