Cipriani, Pocock, Wasps, Leinster, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

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Danny Cipriani hailing cab to Coventry
Cipriani hailing cab to Coventry

NEW YORK, NY – Sure, this is the first bye week of the Six Nations – but with all three top European competitions having a big round of fixtures the nuggets of Rugby News and Transactions, plus the continuing Americas Rugby Championship (ARC), we’ve got plenty to cover in our Weekend Preview.

News & Transactions:

Aviva Premiership: England fly-half Danny Cipriani will be back in black and gold next season when he returns to Wasps, the club he started his career with as a schoolboy… Exeter Chiefs announced the signing of Australia international back Lachie Turner, who joins the club on a two-and-a-half year deal… Gloucester confirmed that Martin St Quinton is the new 100 percent owner of the club with immediate effect. The announcement, which comes with the club still in the hunt for a top six finish in the Aviva Premiership and in the quarter-finals in its defense of the Challenge Cup, brings to an end a period of uncertainty… Worcester signed Northampton Saints hooker Matt Williams ahead of the 2016/17 Premiership season. Worcester also announced the signing of South Africa international Francois Hougaard until the end of the season. The 27-year-old, primarily a scrum-half but can play on the wing, moves to Sixways following a spell with South Africa’s Sevens team… Harlequins announced the signing of Yorkshire Carnegie and England Sevens scrum-half Sam Egerton as injury cover for Karl Dickson… London Irish completed the signing of Tommy Bell from Leicester on a long-term deal.

#Top14: La Rochelle announced that France international tighthead prop Uini Atonio has extended his contract with the Top 14 side until 2020… Grenoble  announced the double coup of  back-row Steven Setephano extending his contract with the Stade des Alpes club for another season and that loosehead prop Sona Taumalolo had signed a contract extension until June 2017… Bordeaux-Bègles announced the signing of Australian lock Luke Jones on a two-year deal beginning after the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Leinster_rugby_badgeGuinness Pro 12: Ospreys center JJ Engelbrecht has revealed his intentions of a possible extended stay at the region. The South African international signed a short-term deal until the end of the season with the PRO12 side last December but Ospreys have started negotiations with the 26-year-old outside back, and Engelbrecht confirmed that an extended stay is likely. The Ospreys also announced that scrum-half Tom Habberfield has signed a new three-year contract with his home region… Edinburgh have received a boost ahead of next season, with wing Tom Brown extending his contract with the capital club for another year… The IRFU and Ulster announced that Jared Payne has signed a two-year contract, which will keep him at Ravenhill until June 2018. In addition to Payne, Ulster announced that Stuart Olding has signed a contract extension until the end of 2018/19… Bulls prop Werner Kruger is set to join the Scarlets after the completion of the 2016 Super Rugby season… Leinster head coach Leo Cullen confirmed that 17 players have signed new IRFU contracts with the province for 2016/17 and beyond, while a further two players have been added to the Leinster squad. The stars on the list includes Robbie Henshaw as expected along with Sean O’Brien, Garry Ringrose and Rhys Ruddock. Here is the full list:

Renewals:
Michael Bent
Adam Byrne
Tom Daly
Peter Dooley
Tadhg Furlong
Dave Kearney
Cathal Marsh
Mike McCarthy
Jack McGrath
Ross Molony
Isa Nacewa
Sean O’Brien
Garry Ringrose
Mike Ross
Rhys Ruddock
James Tracy
Josh van der Flier

New Signings:
Robbie Henshaw
Ian Nagle

Super Rugby: Sunwolves head coach Mark Hammett has been granted compassionate leave and will return to New Zealand following the death of his mother… Australia star David Pocock’s future is up in the air as he is weighing his options regarding his career. The loose forward is considering a one-year sabbatical from Australian rugby to study in the UK, but his decision has been made tougher with Wasps offering the 27-year-old a lucrative multi-million-dollar deal making him the highest paid rugby player in the world. The Telegraph reported that Wasps have contacted Pocock’s representatives with a package in excess of the £1.4 million ($Aus2.82 million) a season.

 usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: USA Rugby and The Legacy Agency (TLA) Worldwide announced  “The Rugby Weekend” on Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th , when the USA Eagles take on the Maori All Blacks and Ireland and the All Blacks do battle, respectively… The 2016 player pool for the Women’s Eagles, comprised of 49 athletes, has been announced, click here for the full list. USA Rugby announced an age-grade pool of 38 players that were identified at the winter National All-Star Competition in Lakeland, Fla., as well as the various 2015 tours. The age-grade coaches have identified the players they believe have a strong chance to become Eagles and play in World Cups and Olympics. For the list of the players in the pool click here… Youth ages five to 12 years old flooded the Vacaville Indoor Sports Complex the first weekend in February, all excited to learn rugby for the first time. As one of the country’s newest Rookie Rugby leagues, the Vacaville league is a clear representation of the growing popularity of the sport.

World Rugby: History is set to be made in less than one month as ticket sales have surpassed 95 per cent capacity for the inaugural HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver, which will see the largest ever rugby crowd in Canadian history attend the exciting 16-team tournament at BC Place on 12-13 March… World Rugby has launched the United Kingdom and Ireland broadcast rights tender for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

The weekend’s fixtures:

LogoAmericasRugbyChampionship

Sao Paulo 7s: The second leg of the 2015/2016 HSBC World Rugby Womens 7s Series kicks off in Sydney this weekend. As usual we have a fantastic preview of the tournament and what team USA needs to do to win.  Read it all by clicking here.

Americas Rugby Championship: The inaugural Americas Rugby Championship heads into the third round of play. The action to date has been surprising good and competitive. For great preview of each match-up this round, check out our own stats guru, Jake Frechette great preview of the tournament by clicking here . It also features our Expert Panel’s Picks.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images for Aviva)

Aviva Premiership: Due to the 2015 RWC, the 2015/2016 Aviva Premiership continues to gain momentum. A lot of clubs are starting their playoff push. This weekend begins with Harlequins hosting Leicester. Saturday has Saracens welcoming Gloucester, Worcester and Sale Sharks will do battle, and Bath clash with the Wasps. Sunday sees London Irish tackle Exeter and Newcastle face Northampton.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 19 Feb 2016
Harlequins – Leicester Tigers
Sat – 20 Feb 2016
Saracens – Gloucester
Worcester Warriors – Sale Sharks
Bath – Wasps
Sun – 21 Feb 2016
London Irish – Exeter Chiefs
Newcastle Falcons – Northampton Saints

Logo_Top14_2012

Top 14: The Top 14 game has a full slate of matches this weekend. The first match of the weekend sees Brive on the road against Stade Francais. Saturday sees Castres hosting Clermont-Auvergne, Bordeaux-Begles welcome Agen and Grenoble will do battle with Racing 92. Sunday sees Oyonnax tackle Toulon to close out the round.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 19 Feb 2016
Stade Francais -Brive
Sat – 20 Feb 2016
Castres – Clermont-Auvergne
Bordeaux-Begles – Agen
Grenoble – Racing 92
Montpellier – Pau
La Rochelle – Toulouse
Sun – 21 Feb 2016
Oyonnax – Toulon

Guinness Pro 12: The Pro 12 has another full round of action this weekend.  It starts with Treviso welcoming Newport-Gwent, Ospreys face off against Edinburgh, and Glasgow take on Munster. Saturday will have Cardiff welcome Leinster and Connacht traveling to Italy to face Zebre. Sunday ends the round with Ulster playing Scarlets.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 19 Feb 2016
Benetton Treviso – Newport-Gwent Dragons
Ospreys – Edinburgh
Glasgow Warriors – Munster
Sat – 20 Feb 2016
Cardiff Blues – Leinster
Zebre – Connacht
Sun – 21 Feb 2016
Ulster – Scarlets

That is 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, Ronan Nelson, Kyle Phillips 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.