Weekend Preview: The Rugby Championship, Aviva Prem, Pro 12, Currie, ITM & More

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Junoir Blaber
haka NZ v SA
The Rugby Championship

NEW YORK, NY – Another jam-packed weekend of rugby is here. There are international test matches in the form of  The Rugby Championship. There is domestic action in the Northern Hemisphere, the Aviva Premiership and Rabodirect Pro 12 as well as the the south with the ITM Cup and the Currie Cup. Plus loads of news, so let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

The Rugby Championship: An undefeated New Zealand takes on a similarly undefeated South Africa in the headline clash of the weekend. The All Blacks will be without talismanic captain Richie McCaw (out for the next month with a knee injury). Meanwhile the Springboks are jogging into dangerous form as they have won their last 6 straight and have shown an ability to win dominantly as well as grind one out. It will be a great match. Argentina are rare favorites in a road match as they take on a lackluster Australia in Perth, Australia. Los Pumas are showing more dangerous attack than they have in ages, while the Wallabies, known for great backline play has been lacking a true finishing edge.

New Zealand – South Africa
Australia – Argentina

Aviva Premeirship: The first weekend of action produced a mixed bag of action. This weekend will give a good indication of the kind of season that will be had by most of the clubs. Unfortunately for one club, London Wasps, they will be without the 2012/13 season top try-scorer Tom Varndell, who is out 4 months with a torn bicep.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 13th Sep 13
Harlequins – Northampton
Sale – Newcastle
Sat – 14th Sep 13
Exeter – Wasps
Worcester – London Irish
Bath – Leicester
Sun – 15th Sep 13
Saracens – Gloucester

Rabodirect Pro 12: Like the Aviva, the Pro 12 had a mixture of big wins, upsets and disappointments. One constant is that Leinster are performing well and looking like they will make the semi-finals again. Not sure which teams will join them as no one else has shown that they have begun the season looking like champions.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 13th Sep 13
Zebre – Munster
Cardiff Blues – Connacht
Ulster – Glasgow
Edinburgh – Newport Gwent Dragons
Sat – 14th Sep 13
Leinster – Ospreys
Scarlets – Benetton Treviso

Currie CupThe Currie Cup: There are some mouth-watering contests this weekend. The Bulls vs Province and Cheetahs vs Golden Lions games will give teams a good idea of where they stand as the playoffs near.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 13th Sep 13
Cheetahs – Lions
Sat – 14th Sep 13
Griquas – Sharks
Blue Bulls – Western Province

The ITM Cup: It appears to be a 3-horse race for the ITM Premiership title between Wellington, Canterbury and Auckland. Wellington won their midweek match to keep the heat on the other two and stay top of the log. We will see Canterbury and Auckland can keep pace this weekend.
Here are the midweek results and this weekend’s schedule:
Wed – 11th Sep 13
Taranaki 23 – 10 Hawkes Bay
Thu – 12th Sep 13
Wellington 33 – 16 Bay Of Plenty
Fri – 13th Sep 13
Manawatu vs Southland
North Harbour – Tasman
Waikato – Auckland
Canterbury – Otago
Sun – 15th Sep 13
Counties Manukau – Taranaki
Hawkes Bay – Northland

News and Events:

Heineken_trophy_320End of the Heineken Cup!?!: News came out of Europe this week that spokesmen for the ERC (European  Rugby Cup), the Aviva Premiership and the League de National Rugby (Top 14) agree to continue to negotiate seriously. However, the AP and LNR, came out with their revamped European competition – as they insist if there is no change to the current structure they will not be in the H-Cup for 2014. We’ll keep you appraised as updates come in…

Simon Amor: A 7s legend and England’s second most-capped player – behind Ben Gollings – has been named the new England 7s Coach. Amor was coaching London Scottish, who he got promoted to the Championship, will start immediately.

Tonga in Wellington 7s: By finishing 3rd in the Pacific mini championship 7s tournament and beating Papua New Guinea, Tonga qualify for the one non-core spot in the Wellington 7s later this year.

USA Rugby College Eligibility Rules Change: USA Rugby changed their college eligibility to allow 7 years after High School graduation to play rugby. The previous rule was 5 years straight after HS, hurting Mormon students and those that served in the military.

Gold Coast 7s Pools Announced: The Gold Coast 7s officially kickoff the IRB 7s circuit and start October 12, 2013 in Australia. The pools were announced this week and are as follows:

Pool A
New Zealand

Pool B
South Africa

Pool C

Pool D

That’s it for now… feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann and Declan Yeats, respectively.

And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.

About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
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.