Williams, Hibbard, Bonneval, WRWC 2017, Autumn Internationals

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Liam Williams

Liam Williams

NEW YORK, NY – We’ve had a ton going on in the rugby world and we all want to be current at holiday parties. With that, here’s what happening re: Williams, Hibbard, Bonneval, WRWC 2017, Autumn Internationals

News & Transactions:

Aviva Premiership: Liam Williams has turned down a big money offer from the Welsh Rugby Union to sign with Premiership champions Saracens instead… Worcester Warriors have signed versatile Canada back Connor Braid until the end of the Premiership season… Gloucester confirmed that Wales and British and Irish Lions hooker Richard Hibbard has agreed a new contract to remain at the club.

Top14: Toulon have continued to do business ahead of next season with the signing of full-back/wing Hugo Bonneval from Stade Français. Bonneval puts pen to paper on a three-year deal until 2020, adding weight to rumors that Leigh Halfpenny could be set to leave the club.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: The Semifinal match-ups for the Women’s Division II Fall Championship playoffs will see Davenport University will play Vassar College at 1 p.m. ET & Coast Guard Academy will play Winona State University at 3 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 3… Kickoff times for the Semifinal matchups of the Men’s Division 1AA Fall Championship playoffs have Norwich University will play University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at 9 a.m. ET & University of Minnesota-Duluth will play Furman University at 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 3.

The 2016 USA Rugby Women’s Division I Fall Championship will be contested by the same teams that battled over 80 minutes for the title last year: reigning Fall Champion University of Connecticut and runner-up Air Force Academy.  The 2015 Final rematch will take place at the 2016 USA Rugby Fall College Championships at Furman University Dec. 3-4, along with the Women’s DII and Men’s D1AA Fall Championships and Men’s DII National Championship matchups. The Women’s DI Final will be broadcast live from Greenville, S.C., on The Rugby Channel Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

World Rugby LogoWorld Rugby: The latest edition of the WRO rankings are out. Please click here.

The weekend’s fixtures:

As always, Ladies first…
Women’s International: There were three internationals over the weekend. The biggest match of the weekend, in terms of importance was the Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifying match 1st leg where Scotland narrowly fell to Spain. The other big match of the weekend had England losing to visitors New Zealand and finally Ireland were smashed by Canada.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 18 Nov 2016
Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 Qualifying
Scotland 5-10 Spain
Sat – 19 Nov 2016
England 20-25 New Zealand
Ireland 7-48 Canada

Italy justifiably jubilant

Italy justifiably jubilant

Autumn Internationals: This was the second official weekend the international fixture season. As for the fixtures themselves, they began with the big rematch as Ireland fell to a very inspired New Zealand. The next batch of matches featured England destroying Fiji, France narrowing losing to Australia and Wales narrowing edging out Japan. Scotland had a minor upset against Argentina, Georgia were too strong for  Samoa and Romania outmuscled Canada. The USA fought bravely but fell to Tonga, Spain won against Uruguay, Germany upset Brazil clash and finally Chile were shocked by Korea, the Southern one, in the second test of their series.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 19 Nov 2016
Ireland 9-21 New Zealand
England 58-15 Fiji
Italy 20-18 South Africa
France 23-25 Australia
Wales 33-30 Japan
Scotland 19-16 Argentina
Georgia 20-16 Samoa
Romania 21-16 Canada
Tonga 20-17 United States
Spain 33-16 Uruguay
Germany 16-6 Brazil
Chile 36-38 Korea

Aviva Cup

Aviva 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 had Bath beat Bristol. Worcester narrowly fell to Northampton, Newcastle fell to Exeter, Gloucester thumped Wasps, Sale had no answer to Saracens and finally Leicester won against Harlequins.

Here are the results:
Fri – 18 Nov 2016
Bath 16-9 Bristol
Worcester Warriors 17-18 Northampton Saints
Newcastle Falcons 19-32 Exeter Chiefs
Sat – 19 Nov 2016
Gloucester 36-18 Wasps
Sun – 20 Nov 2016
Sale Sharks 13-28 Saracens
Leicester Tigers 25-6 Harlequins

Bouclier Brennus – Top 14

Top 14: The Top 14 season continues. The twelve 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 began with Castres doubled up Toulon… There was also Bordeaux blanked La Rochelle, Brive were too much Pau, Clermont-Auvergne edged out Lyon and Racing were too strong for Grenoble. Finally, Stade Francais beat Montpellier and in the final bout Bayonne won by a kick against Toulouse.

Here are the results:
Sat – 19 Nov 2016
Castres 34-17 Toulon
Bordeaux-Bègles 26-0 La Rochelle
Brive 38-25 Pau
Clermont-Auvergne 16-13 Lyon
Racing 92 29-24 Grenoble
Sun – 20 Nov 2016
Stade Français 21-17 Montpellier
Bayonne 16-13 Toulouse

Rugby Europe LogoEuropean 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 Championship, Trophy, Conference 1 North &1 South and 2 North & 2 South over a two-year cycle. The Championship, 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.

As for the the weekend’s fixtures, in a Trophy division matches, The Netherlands trounced Moldova while Switzerland fell to Portugal.

Here are the results:
Sat – 19 Nov 2016
RET: Netherlands 44-17 Moldova
RET: Switzerland 10-28 Portugal
hk-conHong Kong Cup of Nations: The Hong Kong Cup of Nations is a fifteens rugby tournament which in 2015 featured four national sides – Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Zimbabwe – playing six test matches on 12, 16 and 20 November 2016. The round-robin competition replaced the HKRU’s autumn international test series. The third and final round began with hosts Hong Kong taking on Russia and Zimbabwe play Papua New Guinea.

Here are the results:
Sun – 20 Nov 2016
Hong Kong 0-27 Russia
Zimbabwe 38-11 Papua New Guinea

Sudamerica 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 CONSUR division and features Argentina’s B team, Uruguay and Chile. In the big South American Qualifier this weekend Paraguay takes on Colombia.

Here are the results:
Sat – 19 Nov 2016
WCQ Sth America Playoff: Paraguay 39-27 Colombia

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, @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.

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