Greg Peterson, Martin Castrogiavanni, Johan Goosen, Western Province, Colin Cooper

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Greg Peterson

NEW YORK, NY – It is the Christmas weekend. Time to give gifts and receive gifts. You are dear readers are the best gift any rugby writer can have. Our gift to you, as always, is the best rugby coverage and news to you can get without having to travel hundreds of sites to find it yourself.  With that today’s report will have news re: Greg Peterson, Martin Castrogiavanni, Johan Goosen, Western Province, Colin Cooper and more.

News & Transactions:

As always, Ladies first…
Womens Rugby: World Rugby has an article on the strides that female officials have made on the global stage and difference they are making. You can click here to read the piece… World Rugby announced the match official appointments for the Women’s RBS 6 Nations 2017, which gets underway in February. View the match official appointment list here.

Martin Castrogiavanni

Martin Castrogiovanni: Veteran Italian international prop Martin Castrogiovanni retired on Saturday after a career which brought him 119 caps and two European cups.

PRO Rugby: It appears that based on the press releases made by PRO Rugby and countered by USA Rugby, it looks like the PRO Rugby organization will cease to exist effectively immediately. We are producing several articles on the matter trying to give each side a voice. Stay focused on our cover page. We have three articles out and more on the way.

Pro 12: USA Men’s Eagle Greg Peterson has signed a new two-year contract with Glasgow Warriors.It means the 6-foot-8 second row will be staying in Glasgow until at least May 2019. Peterson’s Glasgow teammate, back-rower Adam Ashe signed a similar contract keeping him with the franchise until at least May 2019.

According to the Irish media Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar could be off the Montpellier after his contract at Ulster runs out. The former Springbok nine, who’s been a loyal servant of the Irish club, was told his contract would not be extended by the club and the IRFU after it was decided he needed to be replaced by an Irish player to nurture local talent.It looks as though Pienaar will be joining French club Montpellier, even though they have not yet announced the signing according to the Belfast TelegraphTom McCartney has extended his contract with Connacht for another three years. McCartney is joined by Denis Buckley, Jack Carty and Quinn Roux who all signed two-year contract extensions with the province.

Johan Goosen

Top14: As we predicted, newly “retired” fly-half Johan Goosen has been linked with a move to Gloucester less than a week after wiggling himself out of his Racing 92 contract. The French club made a shock announcement last week when they revealed Goosen had chosen to end his career to pursue a career as a “commercial director” back in South Africa.

It had widely been speculated that Goosen made the unexpected move in a desperate attempt to get out of his contract with Racing. Goosen’s behaviour has been puzzling considering he signed a contract extension with Racing earlier this year, increasing his salary to €500 000 per year.

Aviva Premiership: James Horwill has extended his stay at Harlequins to 2020 by signing a contract extension with the club.

 Super Rugby: The Western Province Rugby Union has been bought which will save the Union after it was liquidated. The Union was liquidated after it was found to be bankrupt which came from, according to reports, financial mismanagement from the franchise. The Union has consistently lost money over the last fifteen years which led them to sell over a R100 million worth of assets.

The Brumbies have started the process of finding a replacement for head coach Stephen Larkham with an announcement expected early next year. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the application process has started after Larkham announced he would be joining the Wallabies as a full-time assistant after the 2017 Super Rugby competition. The Brumbies have reportedly signed Southland Stags of New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup, fly-half Wharenui Hawera for the 2017 Super Rugby season.. Maori All Blacks coach Colin Cooper is set to replace Dave Rennie as head coach of the Chiefs, according to a report in New Zealand. Rennie is heading to Scotland to take over as head coach of Glasgow Warriors. Here is Cooper being interviewed by JWB when the Maori All Blacks played team USA in 2013.

The second most capped All Blacks prop of all time, Owen Franks, has recommitted to New Zealand Rugby (NZR), re-signing with the All Blacks and his Crusaders Super Rugby franchise through to the next Rugby World Cup in 2019. Melbourne Rebels assistant coach Craig McGrath has signed a two-year contract extension which will see him remain at the club until the end of 2018.

USA Rugby: Kickoff times for the USA Men’s Eagles’ two home matches during the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship competition have been announced. International rugby will debut at San Antonio’s Toyota Field Saturday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m. CT, with Austin’s Dell Diamond scheduled for its third international rugby match in a year Saturday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m. CT.

An AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans Developmental Team will make its debut during the holiday break with a two-match series against Rugby Canada‘s under-19 squad at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The larger squad will be fully utilized across the Dec. 30, 2016, and Jan. 2, 2017, match days. Squad list can be found here…One of the largest national team assemblies of the year begins at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Ariz., Dec. 27, as 160 young athletes look to feature in future All-American and Eagles tours from the Boys High School All-Americans Winter Camp. Here is a list of the camp attendees, let us know if you recognize any name.

World Rugby: World Rugby and the Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR) have reaffirmed alignment on matters of mutual global and domestic rugby interest during a highly-constructive meeting in Paris. For more detail, click thisHong Kong became the sixth team to confirm their place at the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 after winning their fourth successive Asia Rugby U19 Championship, beating Malaysia 67-10 in Kuala Lumpur.

The weekend’s fixtures:

As always, Ladies first…
Women’s International: The biggest news in terms of importance was the Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers between, Hong Kong, Japan and Fiji. Japan won the WRWC 2017 Asia/Oceania qualification tournament after defeating hosts and fellow qualifiers Hong Kong.

Here are the results:
Sat – 17 Dec 2016
Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 Qualifying: Hong Kong 8-20 Japan

Aviva Premiership: The 2016/2017 Aviva Premiership gets ready to hit the midway point at holiday time. This weekend begins with Sale hosting Northampton, Saracens will be favorites against Newcastle and Bath travel to Wasps. Leicester are on the road against Midland rivals Exeter, Worcester and Bristol clash in a big bottom of the table match. And finally Gloucester go up against Harlequins.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 23 Dec 2016
Northampton Saints – Sale Sharks
Sat- 24 Dec 2016
Saracens – Newcastle Falcons
Wasps – Bath
Exeter Chiefs – Leicester Tigers
Mon – 26 Dec 2016
Bristol – Worcester Warriors
Tue – 27 Dec 2016
Harlequins – Gloucester

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 begins with Grenoble and Toulouse doing battle. The weekend continues with Brive against Lyon, Bayonne and La Rochelle doing battle, Bordeaux-Begles and Pau clash. Clermont Auvergne face off against Stade Francais, Racing meet Castres and finally the match of the round sees Montpellier and Toulon go toe to toe.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 22 Dec 2016
Grenoble – Toulouse
Sat – 23 Dec 2016
Brive – Lyon
Bayonne – La Rochelle
Bordeaux-Bègles – Pau
Clermont Auvergne – Stade Français
Racing 92 – Castres
Montpellier – Toulon

Pro 12: The 2016–17 Pro12 has hit the biggest weekend(s) in their calendar. That is because the holiday season is also local derby season. This weekend sees the Italian derby as Treviso and Zebre meet. Then we have one of the two Irish derbies as Ulster and Connacht go at it. Boxing Day sees some long standing rivalries return as Cardiff and Newport-Gwent do battle, then there is the 1872 Cup, which sees Edinbugh and Glasgow clash once again, as they have done since 1872. The biggest one, will be the other Irish derby, the O’Classico, as Munster and Leinster do battle. Finally, we have Ospreys against Scarlets to complete the round.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 23 Dec 2016
Treviso – Zebre
Ulster – Connacht
Mon – 26 Dec 2016
Cardiff Blues – Newport Gwent Dragons
Edinburgh – Glasgow Warriors
Munster – Leinster
Tue – 27 Dec 2016
Ospreys – Scarlets

North African Tri Nations: There is a Tri-lateral tournament going on this week. The 2016 North African Tri Nations kicked off. The tournament features Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Morocco lost to Algeria and defeated Tunisia so they need a Tunisia victory over Algeria to secure the title. If Algeria win, they win the title.

Here are the results:
Sun – 17 Dec 2016
Algeria 11-12 Morocco
Wed – 21 Dec 2016
Tunisia 12-14 Morocco

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 24 Dec 2016
Algeria – Tunisia

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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