Weekend Rugby Preview: Bledisloe Cup III, Heineken Cup, Amlin Cup, ITM Cup, Currie Cup, ARC

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Richie McCaw with the Bledisloe Cup
Richie McCaw with the Bledisloe Cup

NEW YORK, NY – A BIG weekend of rugby is in front of us with the Heineken Cup, Amlin Challenge Cup, ITM Cup playoffs, Currie Cup playoffs and promotion/relegation – plus International rugby. Yes, International rugby! And not just Tier 3 action, we have All Blacks v Wallabies! Let’s get  to Weekend Rugby Preview.

Bledisloe III: There is a reason most people outside of Australiasia forgot about this game; it’s the deadest of dead rubber matches. New Zealand has not lost to Australia in about two years. The Blackness are a well oiled machine. Ewen McKenzie has only beaten  Argentina in his short tenure and still hasn’t quite found his stride as a head coach, as the Wallabies did not threaten anyone else The Rugby Championship. Now there is talk of the ARU going broke (Working Class Rugger will have more on that next week.) The All Blacks could be caught napping with no Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, but this match is in Dunedin. Dunedin is in Otago (*Jed Thian country), which is the home of the new Forsyth Barr Stadium  -aka the new House of Pain. Australia get close… but no cigar.

Heineken Cup: This weekend is part of the reason fans get upset at the uncertain future of this great tournament. This weekend there are at least 3 games that could be considered Game of the Week; must-see, mouth-watering clashes. Fans get to see Saracens hosting Toulouse, Ulster at Montpellier and Leinster welcomes Castres to Dublin. All those are worth the price of admission alone. Mssr. Harrington covered all of the storylines in his piece.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 18th Oct 13
Saracens – Toulouse
Leicester – Benetton Treviso
Sat – 19th Oct 13
Leinster – Castres
Cardiff Blues – Toulon
Zebre – Connacht
Scarlets – Racing Metro 92
Montpellier – Ulster
Munster – Gloucester
Sun – 20th Oct 13
Northampton – Ospreys
Glasgow – Exeter
Clermont Auvergne – Harlequins
Perpignan – Edinburgh

Amlin Challenge Cup: The H-Cups little bro is also in action. Fans want to know can the Plastic City Miracle Boys, aka Oyonnax, keep the magic alive on the road against Biarritz. Will Danny Cipriani‘s good form for Sale continue? Will Stade Francias continue to steamroll the opposition in this competition? Congrats to Wasps as they went to 2-0 by handily defeating Bayonne, who are now in worrying form in domestic and international competitions. Machiavellian rugger  Nick Hall covered some of the talking points in his piece.

Here is this weekend’s schedule and Thursday’s result:
Thu – 17th Oct 13
Wasps 26 – 10 Bayonne
Fri – 18th Oct 13
Grenoble – Viadana
Sat – 19th Oct 13
Biarritz – Oyonnax
Worcester – Sale Sharks
Mogliano Rugby – Bordeaux-Begles
Bath – Newport Gwent Dragons
Bucuresti – Calvisano
Brive – Newcastle
Cavalieri Prato – Stade Francais
Lusitanos – London Irish

2012 ITM Champions Canterbury
2012 ITM Champions Canterbury

The ITM Cup: The business end of the season is here.  It is now time to show  doubters that regular season form means something. In the Premiership, Wellington brushed aside Counties Manukau in the first semi-final but it is the Auckland versus Canterbury clash that will likely determine the winner. In the Championship, we expect Otago to upend Hawkes Bay and for Tasman to be unhindered on their road to promotion by Southland.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 18th Oct 13
Premiership Semi-final Wellington 41 – 10 Counties Manukau
Sat – 19th Oct 13
Premiership Semi-final Canterbury – Auckland
Championship Semi-final Tasman – Southland
Sun – 20th Oct 13
Championship Semi-final Otago – Hawkes Bay

The Currie Cup: As expected Griquas will be fighting for their premier division lives against Pumas in the promotion and relegation match. Meanwhile the playoffs will feature  a match-up between the 2012 champs Western Province and the 2011 champs Golden Lions. This match won’t be as close as it sounds in favor of Province. The other match-up between Free State Cheetahs and the Sharks will be a “too close to call” affair.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 18TH OCT 13
Griquas – Pumas
SAT – 19TH OCT 13
Western Province – Lions
Sharks – Cheetahs

AmericasRugbyChampionshipAmericas Rugby Championship: The Jaguars of Argentina have won this tournament again for the fourth time. They hold all the tiebreakers and are 2-0 with a game to go. However, there is still plenty to play for if you are one of the other teams. Uruguay don’t want to go home winless, Canada want to bounce back from the loss to the USA, while the USA want to build off that win. Even the Argies want finish undefeated so expect heated games in the double header. More coverage tomorrow in our ARC preview.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
TUE – 15 OCT 2013
Uruguay 0 – 34 Jaguars
Canada A 10 – 30 USA Select XV

SAT – 19TH OCT 13
Uruguay – USA Select XV
Argentina Jaguars – Canada A

European Nations Cup: The ENC and its multiple divisions continue to go at it, as nations try to improve their standings. The game between Sweden and the Czech Republic will even double as a RWC Qualifier. Israel look to continue their impressive form against Serbia. Austria and Bulgaria fight to show the improvements they have made and Norway looks to spank Luxembourg.

SAT – 19TH OCT 13
Sweden – Czech Republic
Serbia – Israel
Austria – Bulgaria
Norway – Luxembourg

Quick Tap:
Eddie Jones: We want to wish current Japan head coach and former Australia coach Eddie Jones a speedy recovery from the major stroke he suffered earlier this week.

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.

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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.