World Rugby Calendar, SANZAAR, Houston, Boshoff, The Rugby Championship

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Former Argentina scrum-half and new WR VC Augustin Pichot and Former England lock and new WR Chair Bill Beaumont

Former Argentina scrum-half and new WR VC Augustin Pichot and Former England lock and new WR Chair Bill Beaumont

NEW YORK, NY – This week we came closer to witnessing the largest and most important moment in rugby history. However, that was not the only news and this RWU Weekend Preview has news re SANZAAR, Houston, Boshoff, The Rugby Championship and more… along with the exciting World Rugby Calendar chatter. Off we go.

World Calendar:  It was once ranked up there along with Atlantis and the Loch Ness Monster but the mythical idea of a World Rugby Calendar maybe closer to reality than ever before. Global rugby bosses are on the verge of agreeing a new calendar that will more logically align the northern and southern hemisphere seasons. The BBC has exclusively revealed the new agreement, which they report will take effect after the 2019 World Cup in Japan. According to the new agreement, there will be fewer international Tests with June tours set to be scrapped – for at least one of the four years between World Cups. The new schedule will not affect the Six Nations, which is played between February and March, or the World Cup and British and Irish Lions tour.

News & Transactions:

USA Rugby:  The logo and website were launched for the RWC Sevens 2018 in San Francisco. A World Rugby delegation visited iconic AT&T Park, which will stage the four-day tournament featuring 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams… The Women’s Eagles have scheduled two international test matches against fourth-ranked France for the 2016 Fall Tour.

Super Rugby: SANZAAR has revealed that an EXCO meeting and a 2016 Super Rugby season review has taken place in Sydney over the last two days. At the review SANZAAR hosted over 80 stakeholder representatives. The series of meetings were designed to fully review all tournament deliverables on and off the field, and involved national union CEOs, team CEOs and coaches, rights holder broadcasters and SANZAAR operational staff… The Sunwolves announced that former Ospreys forward Filo Tiatia has been appointed as their head coach for the next two Super Rugby campaigns. The 45-year-old, who was assistant coach to Mark Hammett last season, takes over the reins and has a good knowledge of the Japanese game.

Aviva Premiership: Bath confirmed that Australian eightman Leroy Houston has returned to the Recreation Ground on a short-term deal from Super Rugby’s the Reds. The back-rower left Bath in the summer, having agreed a move to the Reds with the hope of furthering his international career with Australia, however now that the Super Rugby season has finished, Houston has been released to join his old club until the end of October…Bristol confirmed the signing of Jason Woodward from the Super Rugby champions, the Hurricanes. Woodward will arrive in Bristol at the beginning of November… Newcastle Falcons agreed a permanent contract to sign center Dominic Waldouck after impressing during his trial spell with the club. The 28-year-old former England Saxons center already has more than a century of Premiership appearances under his belt after previous spells with Wasps, Northampton Saints and London Irish. Waldouck spent most of the summer playing for American side Ohio Aviators in the USA’s inaugural Pro Rugby competition, joining Newcastle in August on an initial month’s trial… Worcester have been handed a boost after wing Bryce Heem committed his future to the club by signing a new contract to remain at Sixways.

Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff

Pro 12: PRO 12 champions Connacht have failed to get fly-half Marnitz Boshoff an early release from his Golden Lions contract. Connacht announced in March they had signed the South African pivot on a two-year deal, but the Lions have refused to release him early from his contract which only expires at the conclusion of the Currie Cup. The setback means Boshoff won’t be able to join up with the defending PRO12 champions, who have lost their first two games of the new season, before November. There was good news for the west country outfit as they Cand the Irish Rugby Football Union announced the contract extension of Niyi Adeolokun, who re-signed until at least the end of the 2018/19 season. Connacht also announced the recruitment of Auckland utility back Stacey Ili… Ospreys have agreed to extend Rob McCusker‘s short-term contract with the region, the back-rower signing up until the end of the season.

World Rugby: A month after guiding New Zealand to the Olympic silver medal in Rio, Sean Horan has stood down from his role as women’s sevens coach of New Zealand… Fiji will host Papua New Guinea in the inaugural Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship in November.

The weekend’s fixtures:

rugbychampThe Rugby Championship: New Zealand will host South Africa and keep their unbeaten streak intact to begin round 4 of The Rugby Championship. In the other match, Australia battles Argentina as both sides push to claim second place.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 10 Sep 2016
New Zealand     – South Africa
Australia     – Argentina

Aviva_Premiership_Rugby_Logo.svgAviva Premiership: The 2016/2017 Aviva Premiership will be the 30th season of the top flight of English domestic rugby union competition, and the seventh to be sponsored by Aviva Insurance. The current champions are Saracens. The most recently promoted side is Bristol, who have returned to the top flight after defeating Doncaster in the 2015-16 RFU Championship Play-Off Final. This weekend will have Sale hosting Gloucester and Bath welcoming Worcester. Exeter tackle Harlequins, Saracens play Northampton Saints. Wasps will face Bristol and finally Newcastle battle Leicester.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 16 Sep 2016
Sale Sharks – Gloucester
Sat – 17 Sep 2016
Bath – Worcester Warriors
Exeter Chiefs – Harlequins
Saracens – Northampton Saints
Sun – 18 Sep 2016
Wasps – Bristol
Newcastle Falcons – Leicester Tigers

Top 14: If it feels like the Top 14 season just ended, it did. It was less than 60 days between the end of the #Top14 final and the start of the season, not to mention the players also had to deal with pre-season. The season was extended a month because of the Rugby World Cup so hopefully this year, it won’t last as long. The twelve returning teams this season are champions Racing 92, runners-up Toulon, Clermont, Montpellier, Toulouse, Castres, Bordeaux, Brive, La Rochelle, Grenoble, Pau and Stade Français… Two new teams from the 2015–16 Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 this year, Bayonne and Lyon in place of the two relegated teams, Agen and Oyonnax. It marks the first time that both teams relegated are both promoted in the following season (Bayonne and Lyon where both relegated during the 2014–15 Top 14 season). The line-up for the weekend begins with Lyon and Toulouse doing battle… There’s also Bayonne against Montpellier, Brive versus La Rochelle, Pau challenges Stade Francais and Clermont-Auvergne plays Bordeaux-Begles. Finally, Castres faces Grenoble and in a heavyweight bout and rematch of last year’s final Racing 92 and Toulon clash.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 17 Sep 2016
Lyon – Toulouse
Bayonne – Montpellier
Brive – La Rochelle
Pau – Stade Francais
Clermont-Auvergne – Bordeaux- Begles
Sun – 18 Sep 2016
Castres – Grenoble
Racing 92 – Toulon

Guinness Pro12Pro 12: The 2016–17 Pro12 (also known as the Guinness Pro12 for sponsorship reasons) will be the sixteenth season of the professional rugby union competition originally known as the Celtic League, and the seventh with its current four-country format. It is the third season to be referred to as the Guinness Pro12. The weekend starts with Cardiff welcoming Glasgow, Ulster host Scarlets and Edinburgh go against Leinster. Zebre will face Connacht and the other Italian side Treviso travel to face the Ospreys do battle while Newport-Gwent versus Munster finish off the weekend.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 16 Sep 2016
Cardiff Blues – Glasgow Warriors
Ulster – Scarlets
Edinburgh – Leinster
Sat – 17 Sep 2016
Zebre – Connacht
Newport-Gwent Dragons – Munster
Ospreys – Benetton Treviso

2016 Currie Cup qualification: The tournament is a competition that will be played between 5 August and 15 October 2016 and will feature nine teams that qualified through the 2016 Currie Cup qualification competition. The 9 South African provincial unions are Pumas, Sharks, Blue Bulls, Western Province, Eastern Province, Boland, Griquas, Free State and Golden Lions. This will be the 78th edition of South Africa’s premier domestic rugby union competition. The fifth round of fixtures began when Free State surprised on-lookers by outlasting the Golden Lions. The weekend will see Blue Bulls against Griquas, the Sharks take on Eastern Province and the Western Province will battle the Pumas.

Here are the results:
Thu – 15 Sep 2016
Free State 37-29 Golden Lions

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 16 Sep 2016
Blue Bulls – Griquas
Sat – 17 Sep 2016
Sharks – Eastern Province
Western Province – Pumas

Mitre 10 Cup: The Mitre 10 Cup (formally known “National Provincial Championship” or “NPC“) is the highest level of New Zealand domestic professional rugby union competition, contested annually from late August to early November and managed by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU). Building off competitions dating back to the National Provincial Championship in 1976, with teams from a number of provinces, the Mitre 10 Cup officially started with the 2006 season with 14 teams after the National Provincial Championship (NPC) was split into this professional competition and the amateur Heartland Championship competition. The competition was known as the Air New Zealand Cup to the end of the 2009 season; the name then changed to the ITM Cup for the 2010 season after ITM, the trading name of Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative Ltd., a New Zealand building supplies retailer took over as lead sponsor. In 2016 the New Zealand-owned home improvement and garden retailer, Mitre 10 took over sponsorship after out-bidding ITM. For the Mitre 10 Cup competition it will involve the top 14 provincial unions of New Zealand. With 12 All Blacks released back to the provincial sides for the weekend, it guarantees that the action will only get more intense. The schedule for week 4 began with Taranaki scrapping by Counties-Manakau. Hawkes Bay won soundly against Southland on the Thursday night ticket, with Northland on the road against Tasman in a Friday night lights affair as do Wellington and Bay of Plenty. Saturday sees Otago and North Harbour do battle, Manawatu clash with Canterbury, Auckland tackles Counties-Manukau while Waikato ends the weekend against Taranaki.

Here are the results:
Wed – 14 Sep 2016
Counties Manukau 29-30 Taranaki
Thu – 15 Sep 2016
Southland 29-43 Hawkes Bay

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 16 Sep 2016
Tasman – Northland
Wellington – Bay Of Plenty
Sat – 17 Sep 2016
Otago – North Harbour
Manawatu – Canterbury
Sun – 18 Sep 2016
Auckland – Counties Manukau
Waikato – Taranaki

NRC logoAus. NRC: Australia’s third tier competition goes into its third year as the National Rugby Championship kicks off. Those with New York Rugby Club ties like me, will be supporting the two-time defending champs Brisbane City since one of their feeder clubs, is New York’s sister club West (Brisbane) Bulldogs. This weekend will see the Sydney Rays host the NSW Country Eagles, Melbourne Rising against the Brisbane City, Canberra Vikings tackle Western Sydney Rams and Queensland Country will travel to face the Perth Spirit.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 17 Sep 2016
Sydney Rays – NSW Country Eagles
Melbourne Rising – Brisbane City
Sat – 18 Sep 2016
Canberra Vikings – Western Sydney Rams
Perth Spirit – Queensland Country

That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Pageand follow us on Twitter@: @RugbyWrapUp, @Junoir Blaber, @MeetTheMatts, @Luke Bienstock, @Ronan Nelson, @Brian C Cole 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.
  • Webb Ellis Ghost

    The World calendar would be the smartest thing in any sport since I invented rugby.

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