NEW YORK, NY – What a weekend of Rugby! It started here in NYC on Friday afternoon and went straight though Sunday. Pyk O’Kallapher will handle the French Top 14, so we’ll dive into the rucks and mauls of the USA Women’s Win, November Internationals, Anglo-Welsh Cup & RaboDirect PRO12 can dive straight into all the other action. There was plenty of action all over the globe to cover, too.
Team USA vs Italy: With the start of their 3-match tour beginning early on Sunday, the USA Lady Eagles got off to a flying start with their 34-20 win over Italy. Perhaps it was because the literally started training the minute the complete squad arrived in Rome! Problem was, the only way we could follow the match was through their @USAWomensRugby Twitter feed. There was no live stream anywhere – at least not one that we could find. That’s not cool… But that doesn’t diminish what Team USA was able to accomplish on the pitch. For an intimate look behind the scenes, check out Samantha Pankey’s report. For a detailed game report, check out ScrumQueens.com.
Coach Pete Steinberg’s charges got off to a hot start against the Italians and took a 19-0 lead into the half. And it could’ve been bigger margin. The Italians eventually managed to make a game of it and clawed back to make it 19-10 before the USA put them to the sword to finish 34-20. Kudos to both squads for battling the whole game and congrats to the Eagles on a job well done. They don’t get to relish the victory for long, though. They now face France in a midweek clash. Hopefully, they’ll get to recover in some Italian spa.
Week 2 featured some shock results and dominant performances. While my Superbru.com picks held up well, my picks here were shite.
Rob Howley of Wales may be the first caretaker/manager ever fired from both the interim job and his full-time position. Wales’ shocking loss as home to Samoa is still ringing in the ears of Welshmen everywhere. Samoa dominated in the battles of the forwards and than resulted in their success. Plain and simple…
Team USA played a great 55 minutes of rugby against Tonga but… Rugby is an 80-minute game. Tonga finished stronger and beat Mike Tolkin’s valiant Eagles 22-13.
France continued their great play and beat a feisty Los Pumas side in a match that only had ONE SCRUM in the first half. Les Bleus showed Argentina that their win against Australia was no fluke.
I may owe fellow RWU correspondent Declan Yeats a foot massage, as the Ireland XV demolished and uninterested Fiji. The IRB has to really look into the club release issue for Fijian players and the Fiji Rugby Union structure. Right now, it’s ass-backwards.
The Color Purple won’t be high on demand in English households this week. To everyone’s surprise, Australia punished an unfocused England and won a tense match. The English egos were bruised the color purple of their odd uniforms. Is Stuart Lancaster’s honeymoon over? We’ll see…
In the Minnow Matches… Spain scraped by Namibia, Turkey crushed Azerbaijan, Germany proved me wrong as they dismissed Moldova and Cyprus did the same in their destruction of Austria.
Anglo-Welsh Cup/LV=Cup: There was only one surprise: Sale managed to top a Saracens side missing their internationals… In other words, their stars… Elsewhere, Harlequins continued their strong performances while the London Wasps beat Worcester…. Leicester beat the London Irish and the Saints slayed the Dragons… The Exeter Chiefs dismissed the Ospreys. The results are as follows:
Harlequins 21 – 12 Bath
Sale 25 – 23 Saracens
Gloucester 46 – 20 London Welsh
Exeter 23 – 13 Ospreys
Scarlets 22 – 16 Cardiff Blues
Wasps 28 – 19 Worcester
Leicester 22 – 15 London Irish
Newport-Gwent D’gons20 – 30 Northampton
RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster won in the only Pro 12 match of the weekend. The match was a make-up game. The original match was postponed, as it was too soon after the Nevin Spence tragedy for the Ulster boys. Mark Anscombe’s side continued their unbeaten run in the match, edging a zealous Zebre squad 27 – 25.
Sad News: Former Fiji and Toulouse wing Maleli Kunavore died in hospital on Thursday. Maleli was part of the Fiji side that reached the 2007 World Cup quarter-finals. He was only 29. He died as result of heart complications related to breaking his left arm a few years. Our heart goes out to his family. We know that Rugby is the only game they play in Heaven, so he will be in good hands.
That is it for me for now. Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby 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.