Women’s Super Series, Olympic 7s, Palamo, Jane, Ryan, Fitzgerald, Williams

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Palamo in action against Italy on 6/19/16 Courtesy - Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images North America

Olympic 7s-bound Palamo vs Italy. on 6/19/16 Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY –  As expected, this was a relatively slow week in the rugby world, but there is still lots to report re our headliners: Women’s Super Series, Olympic 7s, Palamo, Jane, Ryan, Fitzgerald, Williams and more… So, let’s get to with our Global Rugby Update.

News & Transactions:
As always, Ladies first:
usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: Stacey Bridges will captain the Women’s Eagles as the U.S. national team begins the Women’s Rugby Super Series this weekend at the University of Utah… Also arriving on the University of Utah campus earlier this week were Ninety-six young women. The athletes arrived ahead of the USA Rugby All-American Stars and Stripes Camp. Based on their age, players will first be divided into Junior All-American (under-20) and Collegiate All-American (under-23) teams – Stars and Stripes – for matches leading into and during the weekend. National team coaches and their assistants will scout athletes during the first match for potential reorganization of the teams for the second set of matches. Click here for more information…

Dean RyanAviva Premiership: Bristol had a very busy week. First they announced that @EaglesXV and @Eagles7s international Thretton Palamo will join them ahead of the club’s 2016/17 Premiership campaign. Bristol then confirmed that joining Palamo will be versatile backrower/lock Jon Fisher from Northampton Saints. The Premiership new boys then capped off the week by announcing the signing of Tongan international prop Soane Tonga’uiha on a one-year contract…. In a shock move, Worcester announced that their Director of Rugby, Dean Ryan, has been released from his contract and will leave his post immediately. In a more positive direction for the Warriors, they also announced the signing of tighthead prop Biyi Alo, who has joined the club from Saracens, ahead of next season… London Irish have been given a boost ahead of the 2016/17 season with the news that former All Black prop Ben Franks has committed his future to the club. Franks signed just before the start of the 2015 season for three years but it was thought that with the Exiles relegation from the Premiership, Franks would invoke the clause that lets a player leave a club upon relegation, however Franks has chosen to stay. Franks will be joined in the pack by lock George Robson, who the club announced they had signed on a one-year contract from the french club, Oyonnax (who were also relegated from the Top14)…  Robson will be a replacement for  English-qualified second-row Matt Symons who has chosen to leave the London Irish and sign with Wasps for the upcoming season… Newcastle have added further hooking experience to their ranks by signing Kyle Cooper from the Super Rugby franchise, the Sharks for the 2016/2017 season.

Luke Fitzgerald

Luke Fitzgerald

Pro 12: Leinster, Ireland and British & Irish Lions utility back Luke Fitzgerald has announced his retirement from professional rugby with immediate effect after consulting with doctors regarding the neck injury he suffered in the Pro12 semi-final match. Scarlets announced that Richard Smith has joined them ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, with the wing arriving from the Cardiff Blues. Then Scarlets announced the signing of another player from a Pro 12 rival, in the form of Leinster lock Tadhg Beirne… Glasgow Warriors have signed Namibian second-rower Tjiuee Uanivi from Super Rugby‘s the Sharks, subject to a visa and medical, on a one-year deal…

Ali Williams

Ali Williams

Top14: Recently crowned Top 14 Champions, Racing 92. announced the signing of Super Rugby Stormers’ lock Gerbrandt Grobler  on a three-year deal beginning this year after he finishing his currently serving a two-year ban following a positive drugs test. Grobler will be joined by another lock that didn’t play of last season with the confirmation by Racing 92 that former All Black lock Ali Williams has come out of retirement and inked a deal with them for next season… Bordeaux-Bègles announced that two France internationals, backrower Loann Goujon and center Julien Rey, have both signed new contracts.

Cory Jane

Cory Jane

Super Rugby: Cory Jane is off to Japan after signing a two-year contract with Toshiba Brave Lupus of the Top league, but will be back with Hurricanes in 2017… Blues head coach Tana Umaga confirmed reports that he wants to sign Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett and will continue to pursue the player.

RIO 2016 RugbyWorld Rugby: World Rugby has completed its first official Rugby World Cup 2019 tournament review of the year, endorsing hosting preparation and progress. Considering the amount of effort and money put into backing Japan despite all the warning signs, we expect World Rugby to say as much, but this a disaster brewing. .. The pools have been revealed for the 12-team men’s and women’s rugby sevens events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Women’s – 6-8 August (seeding in brackets)
Pool A: Australia (one), USA (six), Fiji (seven), Colombia (12)
Pool B: New Zealand (two), France (five), Spain (eight), Kenya (11)
Pool C: Canada (three), Great Britain (four), Brazil (nine), Japan (10)

Men’s – 9-11 August (seeding in brackets)
Pool A: Fiji (one), USA (six), Argentina (seven), Brazil (12)
Pool B: South Africa (two), Australia (five), France (eight), Spain (11)
Pool C: New Zealand (three), Great Britain (four), Kenya (nine), Japan (10)

The weekend’s fixtures:

Again, Ladies first:
super-series-flyerSuper Series: The USA Rugby Womens’ Super Series is a four team tournament featuring the USA, France, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 Finalists Canada and  WRWC 2014 Champions England. Hosted in conjunction with First15 Sport Performance and with the help of Rugby Utah and the Utah Sports Commission, the Super Series will be played at the Regional Athletic Complex, with the teams training at the University of Utah campus, both Locations are in Salt Lake City. The WRWC Final rematch kicks off at 3 p.m. MT followed by the Eagles’ clash with France at 5 p.m. MT, with all matches throughout the Super Series broadcast live on The Rugby Channel. For mor information, click here.

Here is the Schedule:
Fri – 1 Jul 2016
Canada – England
USA – France

pro-rugby-logo_smPRO Rugby: Heading into round 12 in the inaugural season, cellar dwellers Sacramento travel to  San Francisco with the hopes of victory and claiming fourth place. Meanwhile, it is San Diego‘s turn to travel to midwest and take on Ohio. We will have a preview of the match-ups coming out shortly.

Here is the schedule:
Sun – 3 Jul 2016
Sacramento – San Francisco
San Diego – Ohio


Super Rugby: Super Rugby has gone from 6 teams in 1996 to 18 teams in 2016. It only covered 3 countries and 3 times zones then, now it has games in 6 countries, crosses more than 7 time zones and has four conferences. After a break for the international window, the season re-starts. The latest round of fixtures, started with the Chiefs moving atop the Super Rugby standings on after defeating the Crusaders in Suva, Fiji in a New Zealand derby. In an Australian derby, The Brumbies secured a deserved victory over the Reds. As for the weekend’s remaining matches, the Sunwolves host the Waratahs, the Hurricanes welcome the Blues in another Kiwi derby and the Rebels and Stormers do battle. Then we have the Cheetahs facing off against the Force, with Lions clashing with the Sharks in a South African derby. Finally we have the Kings and Highlanders meeting and the Jaguares welcoming the Bulls to South America.

Here are the results:
Fri – 1 Jul 2016
Crusaders 13-23 Chiefs
Brumbies 43-24 Red

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2 Jul 2016
Sunwolves – Waratahs
Hurricanes – Blues
Rebels – Stormers
Cheetahs – Force
Lions – Sharks
Kings – Highlanders
Jaguares – Bulls

Rugby Americas North: Another regional tournament in full swing is the Rugby Americas North (formerly the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association or NACRA) Championship. The RAN Championship is for the countries in North America and the Caribbean. RAN 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. All of this year’s matches will double as World Cup Qualifiers. This weekend in the North, Mexico will welcome the Cayman Islands.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2 Jul 16
North: Mexico – Cayman Islands

Rugby AfriqueAfrica Cup: The Africa Cup 2016 will be the sixteenth 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 most tournaments. The four times the SARU has participated, they sent either a U-23 team or amateur side, and 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, 2 West, 2 East, and 2 South), with promotion and relegation. In the 1B division, the teams are divided into pools and in pool B action in Tunisia this week, there has been a 1B tri-nations battle for the pool B winner. Tunisia defeated Botswana to start the week and then Botswana lost their midweek match against the Ivory Coast. This leaves the pool B winner battle to be between hosts Tunisia and the Ivory Coast. In 1A action this weekend, Uganda welcome Namibia.

Here are the results:
Wed- 29 Jun 2016
Ivory Coast 20-13 Botswana

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2 Jul 2016
Uganda – Namibia
Tunisia – Ivory Coast

2016 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 thirteens’s fixtures begin with the Sharks taking on the Leopards, then we have the Blue Bulls against Boland. Also on the fixture list, Free State battle the Falcons, the Golden Lions challenge the Griffons, Eastern Province clash with  Griquas, the Welwitschias will tango with Border and finally SouthWest District and Western Province will go at it.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 1 Jul 2016
Sharks XV – Leopards
Blue Bulls – Boland Cavaliers
Sat – 2 Jul 16
Free State XV – Falcons
Golden Lions XV – Griffons
Eastern Province Kings – Griquas
Welwitschias – Border Bulldogs
Western Province – SWD Eagles

That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, @MeetTheMatts, Luke Bienstock, Ronan Nelson, James Harrington and Declan Yeats.

And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.
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About the Author ()

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.

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