EYE OF THE HURRICANE – It’s early ante meridiem (a.m.) on Hurricane Sandy Monday here in New York City and the winds are starting to pick up. We don’t know what to expect, so we better get on with our Weekend Rugby Wrap-Up, sans Top 14 coverage because Pyk O’Kallapfer will cover that, technology & storm allowing.
SANZAAR: Although not the official title change yet, SANZAR has now become “SANZAAR” and the 4 nations that make up SANZAAR have released their touring sides for the Autumn Internationals… or the End Of the Year Tours (EOYT). Yet, Superbru and others refer to them as the November internationals – so pick your title… Anyway, South Africa’s side features 19-year-old and Ghana-born (I repeat: Ghana-born) sensation Raymond Rhule and Saracens hooker Schalk Brits. Did I mention I’m from West Ghana? New Zealand released the rosters for both the Maori All Black and the All Blacks… Australia’s touring side marks the return of injured players David Pocock, Berrick Barnes and Stephan Moore. Argentina brought back Gonzalo Tiesi, for their squad, on the back of his strong domestic form for his San Isidro club which is great news about hir recovery from injury.
The ITM Cup: The Champions of the Championship and Premiership have been decided. In the 2nd tier Championship, Counties Manukau, led by RWU friend and captain DJ Forbes, eventually outclassed Otago.
In the Premiership final, Canterbury proved to be too much for Auckland. There were some controversial moments including a yellow card that some Auckland fans felt should have been red and a penalty try. However, if you are going beat the champion of the last 4 seasons, you can’t do that by leaving it in the ref’s hands. Thus, the Cantabs secured their 5th title in a row. Say what you want about them and their poaching of neighboring talent but the Red & Black get the job done on the pitch. Auckland coach Wayne Pivac may just be makings name for himself, though, considering how far he got with such a young team.
The Currie Cup: The Clown College aka the Free State Cheetahs will continue to embarrass themselves and SA Rugby for another season. They defeated the Eastern Province Kings in the second leg of their Promotion-Relegation match – if you want to call it that. Sorry, but the SARFU are living in another world if they think this is fair. I also mean no offense to Free State Fans but Naka Drotske has got to go – regardless if he is family! The province and the Cheetahs need to be coached and run like a proper organization not some country club where it is hard to fire a poor coach.
Meanwhile in Durban, Western Province upset the Sharks at home to win The Currie Cup. The win ends an 11-year drought for Province – The Decade of the Dusty Trophy Cabinet. The big win was celebrated by Head coach Allister Coetzee and predicted by WP defensive guru Jacques Nienaber. Don’t be surprised to see Nienaber take on a role with the Springboks.
Final: October 20th
Sharks 18 – 25 Western Province
Promotion/Relegation Game 2 of 2: October 27th
Eastern Province Kings 6 – 16 Free State Cheetahs
Aviva Premiership: The story of Round 7 is how an on-fire Freddie Burns of Gloucester was too much for Leicester. That, and the return of former favorite son – Billy Twelvetrees. Both men got the satisfaction of a road victory at Welford Road… Harlequins and Ben Botica continued to show that Nick Evans is not the end all of their rugby. Here are the rest of the results:
Worcester 23 – 16 Sale
Bath 23 – 15 Exeter
Northampton 6 – 16 Saracens
Gloucester 27 – 21 Leicester
London Irish 28 – 31 Harlequins
Wasps 29 – 19 London Welsh
RaboDirect Pro 12: Leinster and Leinstertainment seem to be back in a big way. Their dominace over the Cardiff Blues sent a message to fans and experts like me complaining about their Heineken cup form… Ulster continued to be the only unbeaten team/province in Europe, slaying the Dragons. Here are the complete scores and round-up:
Newport-Gwent Dragons 19 – 46 Ulster
Edinburgh 28 – 29 Scarlets
Munster 29 – 3 Zebre
Ospreys 26 – 9 Connacht
Benetton Treviso 13 – 24 Glasgow
Leinster 59 – 22 Cardiff Blues
More New Zealand News: The All Blacks also announced the re-upping of 14 current All-Blacks, including Conrad Smith, Andrew Hore and Cory Jane. The players have signed on through the 2015 season. Adam Thompson of Otago and the Highlanders did not sign, though. He seemed the odd man out in the Kiwi backrow competition and will show up in Europe or France and likely become a star.
RWC 2015 Qualifying: The extreme Sao Paulo heat was not going to wear down host Brazil as they defeated guests Paraguay. The William Webb Ellis trophy was in attendance as the Brazilians managed to progress to the next round of qualifying. The Paraguayans put forth a great effort but the road, the heat and the hosts proved too much. Meanwhile, there were 4 rounds of action in Europe with Sweden and Israel appearing the most dominate to date.
PLAY-OFF NACRA / CONSUR B / CONSUR A
27/10/2012 Brazil 35 – 22 Paraguay
Europe Rounds 1 -4
27/10/2012 Slovenia 8 – 7 Hungary
27/10/2012 Serbia 39 – 21 Latvia
27/10/2012 Andorra 5 – 26 Israel
27/10/2012 Croatia 20 – 19 Malta
27/10/2012 Germany 46 – 28 Ukraine
27/10/2012 Sweden 54 – 6 Moldova
Switching gears, we’d like to remind all our readers to see the Counter-Rucking Cancer fundraiser. We are half way to our goal and would love your help in reaching it. It only takes a moment and anything you have to give is appreciated.
That is it for me for now. Please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our FacebookRugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber,@Declan Yeats and @Mathew Drew Turner, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.