Weekend Rugby News: Relegation, Players Exodus, Mike Phillips, Eagles Moving , CJ Stander, More

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Rugby News: David Tameilau

NEW YORK, NY – With more USA Rugby players being signed overseas, . As usual, we are here to inform you of all of the Rugby News and Player/Coach Transactions that you missed while busy working. We also have coverage of  Europe‘s three top domestic competitions and Super Rugby, along with Tier 2 and 3 championships. So without further delay, Let’s get to the Weekend Rugby News:

News & Transactions:

Premiership: Newcastle Falcons announced the signing of USA Eagle #8 David Tameilau and USA Selects lock Nick Civetta for next season. The pair will hopefully be packing down with inspirational Tongan flanker and Tonga captian, Nili Latu, who has agreed to a contract extension with Newcastle… Sale Sharks back-row Mark Easter announced that he will be retiring after Saturday’s match against the aforementioned Newcastle Falcons. The 33-year-old Swaziland-born loose forward will be taking up a teaching role at a school in Shropshire. Another Sale Shark man retiring – after joining the club last season and taking up a new role away from the game, is former British and Irish Lions and Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter, who announced his retirement from professional rugby and will begin working in the whiskey industry. Don’t feel too badly for Sale, as they have recruited another former British & Irish Lions, signing Welsh scrum-half Mike Phillips ahead of next season… Bath announced that South African hooker Michael van Vuuren will join them next season from LeicesterLondon Irish CEO Bob Casey has revealed that the club will undergo a full review on Monday to assess their financial situation. The club was relegated last weekend following their loss to Harlequins. Prior to that loss, the very tall Casey sat down with RWU’s Johnathan Wicklow Barberie when the club came to the USA to play Saracens.

Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips

Worcester Warriors announced that a total of 12 players will leave the club at the conclusion of the 2015/16 campaign. The players, who are all out of contract, depart with the club’s best wishes. Here is the list of departing players (destination in brackets): JB Bruzulier (Nevers, France), Ravai Fatiaki, Dan George, Mat Gilbert, Alex Grove, Charlie Mulchrone (Harlequins), Darren O’Shea (Munster, Ireland), Joe Rees, Dan Sanderson, Ben Sowrey (Newcastle Falcons), Heath Stevens (London Welsh), Andy Symons (London Irish)… Harlequins fly-half Ben Botica will leave the club to join Top 14 side Montpellier. Botica is one of many leaving the London-based club, along with scrum-half Tito Tebaldi, who will return to Italy to play for PRO12 side Treviso. The second row Kieran Treadwell will leave the Academy after two seasons to join Ulster. Injury dispensation signings flanker Beau Robinson and back Sam Egerton are also off, along with first year academy fly-half Luke WhiteExeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter confirmed that Namibian utility backline duo of Byron McGuigan and Chrysander Botha are to leave the Premiership club at the end of the season.

Top14: Versatile Toulouse back Clément Poitrenaud announced he will retire at the end of the season after not being offered a new contract.

Dougie Fife against France
Dougie Fife against France

Pro 12: Munster and Ireland’s CJ Stander has been voted as IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year by his peers and also voted the Supporters’ Player of the Year at the annual awards ceremony… Edinburgh have confirmed the players who will be leaving the PRO12 outfit at the end of the campaign, with Scotland international Dougie Fife one of those named. Fife joins Jack Cuthbert, Otulea Katoa, Nick McLennan, Grant Shiells, Andries Strauss, Alex Toolis and Jade Te Rure in departing the club. That group of eight follows earlier news that David Denton, Greig Tonks, Matt Scott, Sam Beard, Mike Coman, John Andress were also leaving. Scotland international back-row forward Roddy Grant meanwhile is retiring, with head coach Alan Solomons saying goodbye to many of his players.

National-Championship-Series-USA-RugbyUSA Rugby: As per a press release earlier this week: “…the application window the position of USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer ended Saturday, April 16 and the national governing body of the rugby in the United States will now begin the process of interviewing eligible candidates. In order to help with the selection process and ensure all candidates are given a fair opportunity, USA Rugby and its Board of Directors have hired Korn Ferry to assist…”

It is championship weekend in the USA Collegiate 15s. The weekend rugby kicks off with Fall Champion Davenport University taking on University of Southern California at 9 a.m. PT at Saint Mary’s Stadium… USC will take the place of Spring Champion Tulane University, who was unable to attend the Championship weekend. The Trojans finished third at the Spring Championships at UC (Univ of California) – Davis… UC Davis’ men’s team will attempt back-to-back Championship campaigns in the Men’s Division 1AA Final against Notre Dame College at 11 a.m. PT…  The first Women’s D1 Elite Final will see a familiar name in Penn State University, who plays Brigham Young University at 1 p.m. PT. PSU are coming off a D1 National Championships in 15s and 7s in 2015, while the Cougars’ season received a boost in the fall with the institution recognizing the women’s program as an extramural club team… For the fourth consecutive season, Life University and Saint Mary’s College will do battle for D1A Rugby bragging rights. Kicking off at 3 p.m. PT, the D1A Final pits the top two ranked teams in the Canterbury D1A Top 20 rankings against each other at the end of an arduous playoff competition. Closing out College 15s is the Women’s DI Spring Championship Final featuring UC Davis and Virginia at 5 p.m. PT. The two faced heavy competition at their respective regional events to reach this point in their postseasons, and the Spring Championship trophy will be awarded when the final whistle blows at Saint Mary’s Stadium.

World Rugby: The pools and schedule for the final round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series have been announced, with some world-class matches set to thrill fans in the Auvergne region of France on 28-29 May.

The weekend’s fixtures:

PRO Rugbypro-rugby-logo_sm: Heading into the fourth week of action, we will see Ohio travel to Sacramento and then San Diego are on the road San Francisco. Undefeated Denver gets a well-deserved rest.

Here is the schedule:
Sun – 8 May 2016
Ohio – Sacramento
San Diego – San Francisco

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images for Aviva)

Aviva Premiership: The 2015/2016 Aviva Premiership heads into its final round with European Cup places and playoffs still at stake. To be sure of fairness, there will be simultaneous kickoffs this weekend.  The action begins with Bath taking on Leicester, Gloucester hosting Northampton, Harlequins welcome Exeter, Newcastle play a northern derby against Sale, Wasps look to put London Irish out of their misery and Worcester and Saracens finish off the round.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016
Bath – Leicester Tigers
Gloucester – Northampton Saints
Harlequins – Exeter Chiefs
Newcastle Falcons – Sale Sharks
Wasps – London Irish
Worcester Warriors – Saracens

Castres will be a stern challenge to Toulon

Top 14: There are only three rounds left in the Top 14 and the heat is on to make the playoffs or secure a place for Europe. The first match of the weekend sees Grenoble host Bordeaux-Begles. Saturday will have La Rochelle up against Montpellier, Pau welcomes Clermont-Auvergne, Stade Francais play relegation bound Oyonnax, and Brive play Racing. Relegation bound Agen travel to Toulouse and Toulon hosts Castres on Sunday.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 6 May 2016
Grenoble – Bordeaux-Begles
Sat – 7 May 2016
La Rochelle – Montpellier
Pau – Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais – Oyonnax
Brive – Racing 92
Sat – 8 May 2016
Toulouse – Agen
Toulon – Castres

Leinster’s support has grown enormously in the past decade.

Guinness Pro 12: The Pro 12 is also entering its final round and also has unsettled playoff and European Cup places to be decided. Similar to the Aviva Premiership, all matches will kickoff simultaneously. Connacht will welcome Glasgow, Edinburgh take on Cardiff, Leinster rollout the welcome mat for Treviso, Munster challenge Scarlets, Ulster will travel to Wales and play Ospreys, and finally Zebre will play Newport-Gwent.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016
Connacht – Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh – Cardiff Blues
Leinster – Benetton Treviso
Munster – Scarlets
Ospreys – Ulster
Zebre – Newport-Gwent Dragons

Highlanders v Chiefs is the match-up of the weekend

Super Rugby: The newly re-formatted Super Rugby tournament continues. Under this new format, it has games in 6 countries, crosses more than 7 time zones, features 18 teams, and four conferences. As for the lucky 13th round of fixtures, it started with the Crusaders crushing the Reds and the Brumbies dominating the Bulls. The remaining matches will see the Sunwolves challenge the Force, Chiefs take on the Highlanders in the match of the round, Waratahs welcome the Cheetahs, Sharks take on Hurricanes and the final match of the round will see the Blues in the Republic against the Kings.

Here are the results:
Fri – 6 May 2016
Crusaders 38-5 Reds
Brumbies
23-6 Bulls

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016
Sunwolves – Force
Chiefs – Highlanders
Waratahs – Cheetahs
Sharks – Hurricanes
Kings – Blues

Rugby Europe Logo

European Nations Cup: The ENC, or the 6 Nations “B” , is the premier tournament for the second-tier nations of Europe. Unbeknownst to some, the ENC consists of seven divisions, each featuring between four and six teams. The matches played will determine who will get promoted and relegated from groups 1B, 2A – 2D, and 3A over a two-year cycle. Division 1A, where the best teams in Europe not called England, Ireland, France, Italy, Wales or Scotland reside, has no promotion option – only relegation back to 1B. Hopefully promotion from 1A to the proper 6N will eventually occur… but we aren’t banking on it. This weekend in 1B, the Netherlands take on the Ukraine, while in 2C Slovenia meet with Austria and finally in 2D, Norway host Turkey and Bulgaria challenge Bosina-Herzegovina.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016

1B: Netherlands – Ukraine
2C: Slovenia – Austria
2D: Norway – Turkey
2D: Bulgaria – Bosnia-Herzegovina

Asia_Rugby_Championship_logoThe Asian Rugby Championship: which is similar to the ENC (European Nation’s Cup) but with 5 divisions with the 3 most dominant teams, the tri-nations of Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan in the top division. There are 4 teams in division 1 and 2 then division 3 is broken up into East, Central and West with 3 teams each before we finally get to division 4 with 7. Believe it or not this is allegedly streamlined from previous years where it was just 5 divisions and 5 teams in each. This weekend in the Top 3, Hong Kong welcomes Japan.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016
Top 3: Hong Kong v Japan

2016 Women’s Asia Rugby Championship: The Women of Asia also have their tournament and they are structured similar to the men. In their top 3 contest this weekend, it will be the second part of a double header as Hong Kong takes on Japan.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016

Top 3: Hong Kong -Japan

Sudamerica RugbySudamerica Rugby: Formerly the SAMC now just Sudamerica Ruby is the same as the ENC – except it’s South America, a minor detail – and that it has 4 divisions featuring 15 teams. It is the battle to find the 2nd best team in South America with Argentina the firm number 1. The top division is called the Sudamerica Rugby Cup division and features Argentina’s B team, Uruguay and Chile. There are 3 division after that known as Division A,B, and C. This weekend will see third round action in the South American A Championship as Uruguay host Chile and Paraguay are home against Brazil.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016

Division A: Uruguay – Chile
Division A: Paraguay – Brazil

Rugby Americas North

Rugby Americas North: Another regional tournament in full swing is the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Championship. The NACRA Championship is for the countries in North America and the Caribbean. NACRA has 2 zones with top level (championship) and a bottom level (cup). Each Championship zone has 3 teams while the Cup Zones have 4 each. The Zones are regionally divided, so there is a North Zone and South Zone. USA Rugby competes in the North Zone Championship division. The USA is represented by the USA South Regional all-star team, in order to develop talent and make the competition a much fairer one… In a friendly this weekend, USA South will host Bermuda in Atlanta and Mexico will be on the road against Bahamas.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016

Bahamas – Mexico
USA South – Bermuda

2015 Currie Cup qualification: The tournament is a competition between which will be played between 9 April and 23 July 2016. It will feature all fourteen South African provincial unions plus the Welwitschias from Namibia and will also serve as a qualifying competition for the 2016 Currie Cup, the 78th edition of South Africa’s premier domestic rugby union competition. Nine teams from this competition will play in the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division, while the remaining six teams will play in the 2016 Currie Cup First Division. Round five’s fixtures began with Griffons defeating SouthWest District. The remaining matches in the round will see Eastern Province host the Blue Bulls, Leopards welcome Boland, Golden Lions and Free State do battle, Pumas welcome the Welwitschias and finally the Sharks will tackle Western Province.

Here are the results:
Fri – 6 May 2016
Griffons 30–14 SWD Eagles

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 7 May 2016
Eastern Province Kings – Blue Bulls
Leopards – Boland Cavaliers
Golden Lions XV – Free State XV
Griquas – Border Bulldogs
Pumas – Welwitschias
Sharks XV – Western Province

The Oceania Rugby (U-20) Junior Championship 2016 will be the second edition of the Oceania Rugby Junior Championship. It will be played as two tournaments; the Oceania Under 20 Championship hosted on the Gold Coast in Australia, and the Oceania Under 20 Trophy hosted in Suva. In the Championship it will only consist of New Zealand and Australia. This weekend sees the return match between Australia and New Zealand, following New Zealand’s win last week.

Here are the results:
Sat – 7 May 16

Australia – New Zealand

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 and Declan Yeats.

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

Samoa JWT Champions

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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.