RWC 2019 Stadium Fiasco, POC, TRC, PNC, Currie Cup, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

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RWC2019 LogoNEW YORK, NY – We are now in full swing of the summer internationals and getting ready for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Speaking of the Rugby World Cup, there has been a bombshell dropped regarding the next one in 2019. In addition to that we have all the week’s transactions and coverage of the major tournaments going on the weekend. So with no further adieu, here is the Weekend Preview:

News & Transactions:

RWC 2019 Stadium Fiasco: After confirming the 12 cities for use in 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan way back in February, The IRB/World Rugby now have egg on their faces. Joining them with some of that will be the Japanese Rugby Union(JPRU) and the entire nation of Japan. There were rumblings about this in May from my source, Japanese Rain Man, and Sky Sports, as the Japanese national government demanded a greater contribution from the city of Toyko‘s government. The stadium had an estimated construction cost of ¥252 billion and specialists stated it would take a minimum of 48 months to construct yet there was still debate about the design, the costs, and where the funds would come from, earlier this year. The JPRU and the Japanese government had been telling World Rugby half-truths about how the stadium would definitely be ready for RWC2019 for several months, despite knowing that they needed at least 2 years total construction time for the stadium, that had been scheduled to be completed by May 2019, and that their internal date for commencement of construction was October of this year.

From the beginning the project was plagued with problems. The committee appointed to select the design was geared from the start to pick the design that eventually won (see design below). It never once examined the costs of the candidates and with a chairman who made his preference known from the outset, thus applying pressure on the committee members. The winning design was decided before the proposal process began.

New_National_Stadium_Japan_Tokyo
The promised stadium that will never be.

So today to ease the cost of the project and growing criticism, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the new National Stadium to be built for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be redesigned from scratch. He was quoted in the Japan Times as saying”this means Japan will renege on its promise to use the venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup because the new stadium won’t be built in time, Abe said.”  Following that news, World Rugby struck back at the decision and said it would seek urgent clarification of plans for the 2019 World Cup. Here is the statement that World Rugby release:

“World Rugby is extremely disappointed by today’s announcement that the new National Stadium will not be ready to host Rugby World Cup 2019 matches despite repeated assurances to contrary from the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee and Japan Sports Council,” said a spokesman.

“The National Stadium was a compelling and important pillar of Japan’s successful bid to host Rugby World Cup 2019, which was awarded to the Japan Rugby Football Union in 2009. World Rugby … will need to consider the options relating to the impact of today’s announcement.”

What this means for the 2019 RWC is that the stadiums being used will be some of the stadia built for the 2002 soccer world cup but only the Yokohama International Stadium is big enough for the semis and finals. Initially, Yokohama had no interest in hosting any matches but agreed after the Chairman of the JRFU basically begged the mayor of Yokohama, for a lack of better words. Long term this may be a huge blow to non-traditional Rugby nations hosting a RWC.

O'Connell will entering his last days in green
O’Connell will entering his last days in green

Top 14: All Toulon, all the time, it feels like in the Top14 some days. This week the majority of Top14 news is about the European Champions. First, Paul O’Connell confirmed that  he won’t play for Ireland again after the World Cup when he moves to Toulon. Toulon head coach Bernard Laporte also admitted that they are considering signing Lachie Turner, Andrew Horrell and Mike Harris on short-term deals as World Cup cover. Finally Toulon confirmed the arrival of former England prop Matt Stevens as cover during the Rugby World Cup… In non-Toulon news, Grenoble announced that Fijian wing and frequent try-scorer Alipate Ratini has been released from his contract because of poor behavior.

Aviva Premiership: Saracens have announced the signing of former Waratahs hooker Dave Porecki, on a short-term deal as cover during the World Cup. On a longer term deal to join Saracens following the World Cup will be Fijian-born Italian back rower Samuela Vunisa.

Guinness Pro 12: Edinburgh Rugby announced that former Scotland captain Jonny Petrie will take over as the new managing director of the franchise… Wallabies squad member Taqele Naiyaravoro is still heading to Glasgow and is set to do so following his 2015 international commitments. Naiyaravoro has committed to playing the first year of his contract but with pressing family issues, he may struggle to see it out… Speaking of a man struggling to see out his contract, Australia international Kane Douglas is close to returning home after asking Irish province Leinster to allow him to return to Super Rugby due to family reasons. The second-row is seeking an early release from his contract with Leinster on compassionate grounds, ending his time in Ireland after just one season and with another three years left on his contract at the club.

Super Rugby: The Stormers announced the arrival of former Lions prop JC Janse van Rensburg from French club Bayonne for 2016. Joining JC in Cape Town will be Springbok winger Cornal Hendricks after signing a two-year deal with the Stormers… Australian man mountain, Will Skelton has extended his contract with the Waratahs and the ARU for two more years through to 2017.

Currie Cup: The newly-appointed head coach of the Blue Bulls is Nollis Marais.

USA Rugby News/Updates: Clemson Head Coach Justin Hickey, the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup 2015 Coach of the Year has chosen to leave Clemson after five successful years at the helm. Hickey is also the forward coach for the AIG Men’s College All-Americans and continue to hold that position. To date no more information has been given as to Hickey’s future and with Clemson University releasing a statement “thanking him for his work and wishing him the best”, it also doesn’t appear to be a rift with the University.

World Rugby LogoWorld Rugby News: World Rugby announced strong financial results and record game investment for 2014 are ahead of expectations, allowing increased investment in the game. Some key points are highlighted below but for more info click here.

  • Consolidated financial results for the third year of World Rugby’s 2013-16 business cycle demonstrate a better than anticipated planned operating loss with funding invested and utilised by World Rugby in 2015 set to total a record £53 million (excluding Rugby World Cup 2015-related expenditure).
  • With rugby participation at an unprecedented 7.2 million and growing, it is anticipated that the core investment will remain at approximately this level throughout the remainder of the cycle with total investment anticipated at £201 million, eclipsing the previous 2009-12 £150 million investment commitment by 34 per cent.
  • The 2014 results show a loss for the year of £68.2 million, as adjusted for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which World Rugby operates in line with global best practice. Under IFRS, World Rugby defers revenues and direct expenditures for RWC 2015 until the year of the tournament.

As for the weekend’s fixtures:

Pacific Nations CupPacific 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 in 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 hire some 6 Nations.  We have plenty of information for you on this event, check out our own Jake Frechette‘ s review of the USA attack and the Samoa attack, as well as tournament previews for our friends Americas Rugby News and our own Jake will have a tournament preview out shortly.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 18th Jul 15
Fiji – Tonga
Canada – Japan
United States – Samoa

The-Rugby-Championship logo 1The Rugby Championship: The 2015 Rugby Championship has kicked off. The supped up Tri-Nations is now one of the most anticipated rugby tournaments of the year. In the first match of this years addition, the All Blacks seemed to get back in better rhythm as they put away Argentina.  The second match will see South Africa take on Australia in Brisban. Our SANZAR Rugby expert Kiwi , will be here with a review of all the action.

Here are the results:
Fri – 17th Jul 15
New Zealand 39 – 18 Argentina

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 18th Jul 15
Australia – South Africa

Test Matches: The will be a battle in New Zealand between New Zealand’s second and third teams essentially. The New Zealand Barbarians will take on the New Zealand Maori All Blacks in a very tasty class. In a world cup prep match, Namibia will take on Russia for a second consecutive weekend. In a match to test each sides developmental, Spain will take on Kenya.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 18th Jul 15
Maori All Blacks – New Zealand Barbarians
Spain – Kenya
Namibia – Russia

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 5, Falcons will tackle Griquas, Griffions will take on the Border Bulldogs and Leopards and Boland Cavaliers will clash.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 18th Jul 15
Falcons – Griquas
Griffons – Border Bulldogs
Leopards – Boland Cavaliers

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.

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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.