WEST GHANA/USA – It has been a crazy crazy weekend in Rugby. Here’s a quick rundown of all the events:
The USA Junior All-Americans won the Junior World Rugby Trophy! Who won what, you’re wondering? The Junior All-Americans are players made up of College underclassmen, High School All-Americans and Club Under-19 stars. The Junior World Rugby Trophy is a second tier competition of the Junior World Cup, with the winner (USA) getting promoted to the Junior World Cup competition. This year it was held in Salt Lake City From June 18th til June 30th. In front of a full crowd at home the Americans held on to defeat Japan 37-33. The player of the tournament was Madison Hughes, a star player for Dartmouth College (2 time CRC 7s champion) and where RWU friend and USA 7s national team Coach Alex Magelby coaches. Glasses up high for a big cheers to Head Coach Scott Lawrence, his coaching staff and these classy young men that did America proud. Makes my eyeballs sweaty. Next year they’ll be up against the big boys like England and New Zealand.
The USA Rugby Olympic teams of 1920 and 1924 have been inducted into the IRB Rugby Hall of Fame. It is rare for the US to be associated with anything regarding the IRB HoF, so this is a major achievement. The USA won the first Gold Medal in Rugby in 1920 by defeating France. They repeated the feat again in 1924. From then on, rugby was not to make an appearance at the Olympics again. Rugby will make its much anticipated return in 2016 in Rio – in the 7s format – but hey, us ruggers are just happy to be back in the big show!
The London Welsh have won their appeal against the English RFU and will be playing in the Premiership next season. This stunning occurrence not only tips the apple cart of European rugby, it also directly affects Team USA in the form of Eagle prop Shawn Pittman, who plays for London Welsh. The Court case was surprisingly short but it sent ripples through all of English Rugby. Previously it was not enough to win the Championship (level below the Premiership). That winning team also had to pass the MSC, which are a set of criteria needed in order to be in the Premiership. This includes enough seating for fans, bathrooms and most importantly primacy of residence. Primacy meant that you had to own the place or be able to guarantee – in case of schedule conflict – that rugby would come first. The Welsh admitted they didn’t have primacy of residence at their new stadium in Oxford. They won, however, because EU (European Union) and English fair practice laws said the criteria was unjust, as it only applies to newly promoted clubs. Moreover, there are 5 premiership sides that don’t have primacy of residence but are not under pressure to get it because the criteria was created after they joined. “Unacceptable.“ said the court, so the Welsh won. But now they have only a few weeks to buy up the remaining talent available in this short off-season. Rumor has it that they are looking at former Wales star and troubled icon Gavin Henson. Whatever happens this may not be over yet as Newcastle, the side now relegated is looking into appealing themselves.
The London Wasps Rugby Football Club won’t go into bankruptcy or administration. A consortium led by former Wasps player Ken Moss, is set to buy them. Apparently the contracts have already been exchanged and by mid-July the lawyers should be through. This is great news for all of Rugby as one of the oldest clubs in the history of the sport is still alive. Clubs worldwide call themselves the Wasps thanks to this club, so this is such a positive. Thanks to Mr. Moss & Co. for stepping up.
Finally, if you see our wayward contributor and English 7s star, Mathew Drew Turner, please ask him if has he begun working on his Spanish. La Plata, Argentina has been added a 10th Stop on the IRB 7s tour circuit. MDT maybe high-stepping his way to some vineyards.
EXTRA TIME: RWU friend and former USA 7s coach Al Carvelli sent us this awesome new Team USA Promo Video. It’s worth a look. Thanks, Al.