Weekend Rugby Preview: The Rugby Championship, USA Rugby News, Aviva Prem, Pro 12, Currie, ITM Cup, RWC Qualifier

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Weekend Rugby Preview

NEW YORK, NY – The penultimate match of The Rugby Championship 2013 will the one that has the attention of the international media – including us – but we also have much to talk about from USA Rugby, along with action in the Aviva Premiership, Rabodirect Pro 12 , ITM Cup and Currie Cup. Plus there is even Rugby World Cup Qualifier action this weekend. So, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

The Rugby Championship: New Zealand are still undefeated as they roll into South Africa – Johannesburg, to be specific. The Boks only have one controversial loss 3 weeks ago, after a dubious sending off of Bismarck du Plessis by referee Romaine Poite.  Both sides have all healthy players available, but the pressure is on SA. The Springboks must score 4 tries and win by 8 to secure the title, not an easy task against the Blackness in general, let alone a big match… Later on Saturday, Australia will take on Argentina in Argentina. Australia survived a Los Pumas challenge by 1 point in dreary conditions in Australia but If Argentina are going to get their first victory in this comp, odds are it would be this weekend.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
South Africa – New Zealand
Argentina –  Australia

Fiji 7s: RWU friend, and USA Rugby 7s head coach, Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins will have the Eagles 7s side play in this tourney this weekend as a warm-up to the Gold Coast 7s next weekend. Hawkins hopes to avoid the habitual poor start to the 7s circuit the Eagles are known for.

WCAP and Eagles Rugby: Speaking of the military, it was announced this week that Eric Duechle and Nu’u Punimata would be members of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). For the uninitiated WCAP is a program  that allows athletes with the potential of playing in the Olympics to be stationed near where they can get the best training. This means Duechle and Punimata will be stationed near the 7s training base in Chula Vista and allowed to train with the national 7s team while still performing their duties for Uncle Sam.

Eric Duechle
Eric Duechle

Air Force v. Navy: Speaking of Uncle Sam, as a result of the Federal Government Shutdown, the Air Force v Navy match was canceled. With the government furloughing staff, the military academies have to follow suit and cut cost until a new federal budget is passed. As a result, cutbacks have to be made and rugby is one of them; the status of the NCAA D1 college football games are still in doubt.

Aviva Premeirship: This weekend will be the last match-day before the Heineken Cup. The results could get interesting as teams juggle resting players and managing game-time. Leaders Saracens and Leicester should have enough depth to keep rolling, but that is why we play the game.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 4th Oct 13
Sale – Bath
Sat – 5th Oct 13
Worcester – Newcastle
Saracens – Wasps
London Irish – Harlequins
Leicester – Northampton
Sun – 6th Oct 13
Gloucester – Exeter

Rabodirect Pro 12: Considering the standoff on the future of the Heineken Cup, some are not sure whether a strong showing by the Celtic Nations and Italy like in 2011 will be good or bad for negotiations. Either way there will be pressure on sides like Leinster, Ulster, and Munster to repeat their form of old. However they must stay focused on the Pro 12 because so far this season it appears the Ospreys and Glasgow are looking to overturn the apple cart.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 4th Oct 13
Ospreys – Ulster
Newport Gwent Dragons – Zebre
Benetton Treviso – Connacht
Sat – 5th Oct 13
Scarlets – Glasgow
Munster – Leinster
Sun – 6th Oct 13
Cardiff Blues – Edinburgh

The Currie Cup: The Griquas are but destined for the bottom and are only playing for pride. There is now a battle between the Blue Bulls and Cheetahs for the fourth and final playoff spot while the Sharks and Province battle for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 4th Oct 13
Blue Bulls vs Sharks
Sat – 5th Oct 13
Griquas – Cheetahs
Western Province – Lions

auckland itm cupThe ITM Cup: Despite our good friend *Jed Thian rooting for his Otago squad, it seems unlikely they will win promotion from the ITM Championship this season… Tasman and Hawkes’ Bay will battle it out for promotion. In the ITM Premiership, Bay of Plenty is assured of the drop to the Championship while Wellington leads Auckland by 3 at the top as the two face-off this weekend. With time running out the playoff races will be close to being determined after this weekend.

Here are the midweek results and this weekend’s schedule:

Wed – 2nd Oct 13
Tasman 64 – 28 Waikato
Thu – 3rd Oct 13
Southland 15 – 25 Hawkes Bay

Fri – 4th Oct 13
Manawatu – Northland
Sat – 5th Oct 13
Bay Of Plenty – Waikato
North Harbour – Otago
Wellington – Auckland
Sun – 6th Oct 13
Canterbury – Counties Manukau
Taranaki – Tasman

News and Events:
James O’Connor: In somewhat of a shock move, the Australia Rugby Union agreed to release O’Connor from his contract. The 23 year old has had repeated disciplinary issues and is looking to part ways for a season or two and re-gain form as well confidence from the national public.

Tier 3 Action: There will be 2 matches featuring tier 3 teams this weekend. In a Rugby World Cup Qualifier,  Israel travel to Luxembourg in match that the Israelis are heavily favored to win. In an European Nations Championship match Bulgaria and Hungary square off, in a match that screams physical 10 man rugby.

RWCQ Luxembourg – Israel
ENC Bulgaria – Hungary

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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.

*P.sClick the picture to hear our Matt McCarthy talking about  the Delaware University Rugby ban and pick of Matt Hawkins as Team USA player coach on Jed Thian’s Set Piece Rugby News out of Hong Kong.

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.