NEW YORK, NY – We are in the middle of a heat wave on this side of the rugby world, but there is still rugby action that needs to be covered. There was a busy week of transactions and player news as there always is. We also bring you coverage of all the major tournaments going into the weekend. So with no further adieu, here is the Weekend Preview:
News & Transactions:
Top 14: Toulouse have signed Argentinian loose forward Tomás Leonardi to fill gaps in their squad during the Rugby World Cup. Joining Leonardi at Toulouse will be Imanol Harinordoquy who will spend the whole 2015/2016 season with the club rather than being used as a medical joker.
Aviva Premiership: Harlequins, and former England, center Jordan Turner-Hall has announced his retirement from rugby due to injury... Exeter announced the signing of London Irish, and former Saracens, winger James Short.
Guinness Pro 12: Leinster confirmed that a suitable agreement has been reached to release second-row Kane Douglas from his contract with immediate effect… Wales Sevens regular Tom Williams has signed for the Scarlets on a year-long loan from PRO12 rival Cardiff Blues.
Super Rugby: Former Leinster Head Coach Matt O’Connor is one of a handful of names being linked with the Reds Head Coaching position. The Reds Head Coach from last season, Richard Graham, has been told that he will have to reapply for his job as part of the Brisbane-based franchise’s restructuring of the team’s management… The Eastern Province Kings and former New Zealand International and Head Coach Carlos Spencer have ended their association with immediate effect, it was announced on Tuesday. Following that announcement, Spencer made it clear that the Kings’ inability to pay his wages is the reason he decided to end his association with the Port Elizabeth-based team. The Kings, to their credit, admitted that there had been a hold-up in paying salaries in July; they explained that it was an administrative issue that was causing the problem. President Cheeky Watson placed some of the blame on Spencer because of his financial arrangements which made paying him more complicated… The Melbourne Rebels announced the signing of Irish international prop Jamie Hagan until the end of the 2017 season… Henry Speight signed a new three-year deal with the ARU to keep him in Australia through the end of 2018. The Fijian-born winger will join the Australian Sevens program in 2016 as they bid to reach the Rio 2016 Olympics.
USA Rugby News/Updates: The Rugby Football Union (RFU) of England has agreed to help grow rugby commercially in the United States after becoming a minority shareholder and strategic partner in USA Rugby’s new commercial subsidiary, Rugby International Marketing (RIM). Rugby International Marketing is the new commercial arm of USA Rugby representing its commercial rights but also exploring new revenue streams to support the development of rugby in the USA. This includes sponsorship, digital, broadcast opportunities, and international events, such as the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 to be played in the San Francisco Bay area. For more information, click here.
World Rugby News: The Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby (CONSUR) will now be known as Sudamérica Rugby after a renaming exercise in line with World Rugby’s own rebranding last year. As of today, the regional association’s website will be www.sudamericarugby.org, with its social media accounts following suit, including @sudamericarugby… World Rugby’s The Unity Project, a collaborative partnership between the RFU, World Rugby, Rugby Europe and UK Sport, has enjoyed some notable successes in supporting the development of rugby in 17 European countries since it was launched a year ago. It forms an important link between the RFU’s Lead Up & Legacy program and World Rugby’s Impact Beyond program which aims to maximize the impact of events ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 and support the development of rugby across Europe. For more info on The Unity Project, click here… Englishmen Simon Amor and Simon Middleton have been appointed Head Coaches of Great Britain’s Men’s and Women’s rugby sevens sides, respectively, for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Welshman Gareth Williams will join Amor as his Assistant Coach. Richie Pugh, Wales Women’s Sevens Head Coach, will be Middleton’s Assistant. Here is Richie with our own JWB, back in Richie’s playing days at the Vegas 7s:
As for the weekend’s fixtures:
Pacific Nations Cup: Of all of World Rugby’s Cup tournaments to benefit Tier 2 and Tier 3 nations, the Pacific Nations Cup is arguably the biggest and best. By featuring the Pacific Island Nations (Tonga, Fiji, Manu Samoa), Japan, Canada, and the USA, this tournament has the top Tier 2 nations and some are even ranked higher than some 6 Nations. Check out our own ‘ s review of round 1, statistical analysis of round 1 and a preview of round 2.
The Rugby Championship: The 2015 Rugby Championship goes into round 2 this weekend. The souped-up Tri-Nations is now one of the most anticipated rugby tournaments of the year. Our SANZAR Rugby expert, Kiwi has brilliant preview and analysis of this weekend’s matches if you click here.
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 7, Border Bulldogs face the Leopards, while Griquas challenge the SouthWest District Eagles, and finally Falcons will welcome Griffons.
Here is the schedule:
Sat – 25th Jul 15
Border Bulldogs – Leopards
Griquas – SWD Eagles
Falcons – Griffons
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.