Christian Lealiifano, Scott Higginbotham, Ben Lam, Luke Wallace, Demetri Catrikillias, Stuart Hogg

Christian Lealiifano
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Lealiifano
Lealiifano

NEW YORK, NY – Friday night and its time to do it right. Time for the preview and boy do we have some massive fixtures to go over, with the start of the European club cup competitions and SANZAR domestic competition playoffs.. Before we get to the fixtures though there is plenty of rugby news and transactions to go over. Today’s RWU Weekend Preview has news re Christian Lealiifano, Scott Higginbotham, Ben Lam, Luke Wallace, Demetri Catrikillias, Stuart Hogg and more… So, off we go.

News & Transactions:

Christian Lealiifano: Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano is set to undergo a bone marrow transplant as he continues to battle leukaemia, holding on the hope that he might one day return to rugby. Lealiifano told ABC Canberra on Friday that his younger sister had been identified as a bone marrow match, with the transplant likely to occur later this month.

Higginbotham
Higginbotham

Super Rugby: Former Wallabies eightman Scott Higginbotham has signed a three-year contract to rejoin the Reds at the start of the 2017 Super Rugby season. Higginbotham will join the Brisbane-based outfit at the completion of his Japanese contract… Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes announced the signing of New Zealand Sevens star Ben Lam for the 2017 and 2018 seasons… The Blues announced that versatile backs Stephen Perofeta and Michael Collins have signed up for the franchise for Super Rugby 2017. Teenage fly-half Perofeta, originally from Wanganui but playing for Taranaki, and Otago utility Collins have both inked contracts. Both players have represented New Zealand at age grade level, Schools and/or New Zealand U20, and have impressed in 2016’s Mitre 10 Cup… The Western Force announced the signing of local front-row forward Anaru Rangi for the 2017 Super Rugby season…

Luke Wallace
Luke Wallace

Aviva Premiership: Harlequins announced that promising back-row forward Luke Wallace has put pen to paper on a new contract with the Premiership club. Harlequins also announced the signing of South African fly-half Demetri Catrakilis from Top 14 outfit Montpellier for the 2017/18 season… Premiership club Northampton Saints have announced that Alex King has left the club by mutual agreement. The former England international, who has been the club’s attack coach since arriving from Clermont Auvergne in 2013, has left Franklin’s Gardens with immediate effect, and says that he has enjoyed his time at the club… Premiership side Sale Sharks announced the arrival of new star wing signing Josh Charnley. Charnley, who is fresh from winning the rugby league Grand Final with Wigan last weekend, was training with the side this week… Former Springbok front-rower Pat Cilliers has signed a loan deal with Nottingham in the Greene King IPA Championship tournament. Cilliers, who originally signed with the Leicester Tigers at the beginning of this year has signed a short-term loan deal with Nottingham.

Stuart Hogg
Stuart Hogg

Pro 12: Glasgow announced that Scotland international full-back Stuart Hogg has signed a new contract with the PRO12 outfit until May 2019… Connacht and the Ireland RFU have announced the signing of Fijian-born back-row Naulia Dawai, who joins the province on a two-year deal.

Top 14: Grenoble head coach Bernard Jackman will miss the club’s Challenge Cup match next week to travel to New Zealand. Jackman will depart on Saturday to travel south, where he will work with Auckland exchanging training techniques… Montpellier head coach Jake White says he still young enough to coach an international side. The 52-year old will be leaving his post at Montpellier after this season and says he still has plenty of time to coach an international team.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: – USA Rugby and the Youth & High School Committee is undergoing a review and evaluation of several items pertaining to the Youth & High School game in the USA. Read more here… The USA Rugby College Management Council is seeking nominations for USA Rugby Congress representatives from the Northeast, South, Southwest, and West competitive regions beginning this week through to the end of the month. The rest of the story can found here.

World Rugby: Elite sports analytics market-leader Catapult has been announced as an event partner of the World Rugby Conference and Exhibition 2016 (ConfEx), taking place at the Hilton London Metropole on 14-15 November. Joining Catapult will be two of rugby’s top medical minds will lead an in depth discussion on player welfare at World Rugby Conference and Exhibition 2016 (ConfEx), which takes place on 14-15 November at the Hilton London Metropole… World Rugby announced that key foundations are in place for a successful Rugby World Cup 2019 tournament with preparations set to accelerate over the next 12 months in Japan.

The weekend’s fixtures:

As always, Ladies first…

Rugby Europe LogoRugby Europe Women’s Championship: Rugby Europe Women’s Championship: (or – as it is also known – the European Nations Cup and the European Trophy) is an international competition contested between women’s national teams who are members of FIRA. The competition has its origins in a four nation “European Cup” held in 1988 but did not become an official FIRA competition until 1995. The competition has grown significantly and is some years attracts sufficient entrants for it to be divided into two “Pools” (A and B) with the eight highest ranked entrants in any year (based on FIRA rankings) in Pool A. In the midweek action, Belgium knocked off the Czech Republic and Russia destroyed Switzerland.

Here are the results:
Wed – 12 Oct 2016
Pool A: Belgium 20-5 Czech Republic
Pool B: Switzerland 0-51 Russia

The schedule for the weekend will see, Switzerland play the Czech Republic for 5th place, Belgium and Russia will battle for 3rd with Spain going against the Netherlands for the European title.

Here is the schedule:
Sat –  15 Oct 2016
5th Place: Switzerland – Czech Republic
3rd Place: Belgium – Russia
1st Place: Spain – Netherlands

Champions Cup
Champions Cup

European Champions Cup: The 2016/2017 European (Rugby) Champions Cup kicks off this weekend. It is a brand new year so everyone is undefeated and has a chance of making the quarterfinals.  Our Ronan Nelson will have a fantastic preview of the round, later today.

European_Rugby_Challenge_Cup_LogoEuropean Challenge Cup: The second tier European Challenge Cup is a quality tournament in its own right. It is played by mid-table European clubs, they play good rugby and are looking to move up to the Champions Cup next season. The new season of the Challenge Cup begins with The weekend begins with Grenoble battling Top 14 rival Lyon, Ospreys scrapping with Newcastle, Newport-Gwent go up against Brive and Bristol search for their first win in all competitions against Cardiff. On Saturday, Timisoara  welcome Edinburgh to Romania while Worcester travel to face Russian side Enisey-STM, Treviso go up against La Rochelle, Bayonne clash with Gloucester and finally Pau tangle with Bath.

Here are the results:
Fri – 14 Oct 2016
Grenoble – Lyon
Ospreys – Newcastle Falcons
Newport-Gwent Dragons – Brive
Bristol – Cardiff Blues
Sat – 15 Oct 2016
Timisoara Saracens – Edinburgh
Enisey-STM – Worcester Warriors
Benetton Treviso – La Rochelle
Bayonne – Gloucester
Pau – Bath

americas-pacific-challenge-capsAmericas Pacific Challenge: The Unión de Rugby del Uruguay will host the first edition of World Rugby’s Americas Pacific Challenge (APC), a development tournament that gathers teams from three key regions of World Rugby and runs from 8-16 October. Introduced to offer a new tier of competition for the six participating nations, the APC will be played in its entirety at the Estadio Charrúa, the home of Uruguayan rugby. Uruguay A and Argentina XV, from Sudamérica Rugby, are joined by Canada A and USA Selects, the two representatives from the Rugby Americas North region, while Fiji Warriors and Samoa fly the flag for Oceania. The APC will be played over three rounds, spread over eight days, with three games in each matchday. Round 2 was a day for regional rivals as Fiji outlasted Samoa, USA were too strong for Canada and Argentina steamrolled Uruguay.

Here are the results:
Wed – 12 Oct 2016
Samoa A 26-39 Fiji Warriors
USA Select XV 47-37 Canada A
Argentina XV 71-7 Uruguay A

In the third round it will be Samoa against Canada, USA versus Uruguay and finally Argentina battle Fiji.

Here is the schedule:
Sun – 16 Oct 2016
Samoa A – Canada A
USA Select XV – Uruguay A
Argentina XV – Fiji Warriors

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  playoffs begin this weekend and they will kickoff with the Blue Bulls welcoming Western Province to the highveld and Free State taking on the defending champions, the Golden Lions.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 15 Oct 2016
Blue Bulls – Western Province
Free State Cheetahs – Golden Lions

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 All Blacks released back to the provincial sides for the weekend, it guarantees that the action will only get more intense. The regular season finale this week began with North Harbour drawing with Tasman. Taranaki edged out Auckland on the Thursday night ticket. In a Friday night lights affair Otago won on the road against Manawatu. Saturday sees Counties-Manukau and Canterbury do battle, Hawkes Bay clash with Bay of Plenty, Wellington battle with Waikato while Tasman are at Southland and Northland versus North Harbour ends the weekend.

Here are the results:
Wed – 12 Sep 2016
North Harbour 27-27 Tasman
Thu – 13 Sep 2016
Taranaki 35-32 Auckland
Fri – 14 Sep 2016
Manawatu 14-21 Otago

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 15 Oct 2016
Counties Manukau – Canterbury
Hawkes Bay – Bay Of Plenty
Wellington – Waikato
Sun – 16 Oct 2016
Tasman – Southland
Northland – North Harbour

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. It is playoff time once again in the NRC. The top four sides in the regular season advance to the semifinals of the knock-out stage, which is followed by the final to decide the National Rugby Championship title. The first semi-final see the NSW Country Eagles take on the Melbourne Rising and in the second semi-final, the Sydney Rays will face the Perth Spirit.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 15 Oct 2016
NSW Country Eagles – Melbourne Rising
Sun – 16 Oct 2016
Sydney Rays – Perth Spirit

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 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.