Weekend Rugby Wrap Up: The Rugby Championship, USA Rugby, Aviva Prem, Pro 12, Currie, ITMCup, RWC Qualifier

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2013 TRC ChampsNEW YORK, NY – This weekend was FULL of great rugby.  The Rugby Championship provided a surprise and an instant classic, the Aviva Premiership  had more refereeing controversy and the Rabodirect Pro 12 , ITM Cup and Currie Cup all were chock full. Team USA was back in the news as well, along with Rugby World Cup Qualifier action.  So, let’s get to it. Here’s your Weekend Rugby Wrap Up.

The Rugby Championship: New Zealand are your 2013 Champions of the Rugby Championship. The AIG All Blacks are the only champions the 2-year tournament has ever known. Matched in a title-decider against South Africa on the road in Johannesburg, NZ managed to win the championship first (based on points) – and the match. And they did  so in rousing fashion, leaving no doubt about deserving the crown. The Bokke fought valiantly but the pressure was too much. Perhaps some questionable decision-making early cost them – opting for scrums rather than the posts in the first half – but the All Blacks answered every question with unanswerable questions of their own, despite some fresh new faces. Both teams made it clear, however, they are a level above everyone else in the world (we look forward to our French friends disagreeing).

Meanwhile, a mere ocean’s-crossing away in Argentina, the Wallabies and Los Pumas had at it in the later match.  Australia finally found its cutting edge against Argentina. Los Pumas disappointed their fans in a match many thought they could win. However, despite their off-the-pitch distractions (James O’ConnerKurtley Beale), the Aussies came out on fire – and stayed on fire – to give Ewen McKenzie’s troops a much-needed win.

Here are the scores:
South Africa 27 – 38 New Zealand
Argentina 17 – 54   Australia

Fiji 7s: RWU friend and USA Rugby 7s head coach, Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins, took the USA Eagles to Fiji to warm-up before the Gold Coast 7s. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they went 1-3 and finished last in their pool. But there were bright spots and if not for a questionable call on a late lineout that gave Argentina the ball and a last-second, game-winning try, things may have been different…

American Samoa, who recently won IRB recognition to play as an independent state, came in 5th and secured a place in the Hong Kong 7s. The tournament was in itself a success and has USA national team member Nick Edwards supporting the idea of Fiji hosting a leg on the IRB 7s tour. Time will tell if that comes to fruition.

Eagles Player Pool for WRWC: Head Coach of the USA Eagles Womens team, Pete Steinberg named his player pool for the Womens Rugby World Cup in 2014. The pool consists of 50 players from the USA Womens Premier League including our friends Rebecca Brafman and Rose Miesner of the New York Rugby Club.

Hume & Durutalo in for RLWC: USA Eagles Luke Hume and Andrew Durutalo will be playing for the USA Tomahawks Rugby League team in the Rugby League World Cup in November. While Hume has a history in League, being raised in Australia, Durutalo doesn’t. Unfortunately, it is common for nations to name players that eventually drop-out come tournament kick-off time.

Aviva CupAviva Premeirship: The Heineken Cup kicking off next week has not slowed down the action. In a rematch of last year’s final, Leicester and Northampton fought to a draw, and once again it was questionable refereeing that hindered Northampton. Toby Flood clearly knocked-on a ball within the last minute as he attempted a game-winning drop-goal, but J.P. Doyle saw it differently and the Tigers maintained possession before the final hooter… Saracens continued their winning streak against Wasps and distanced themselves further from the pack… Sale took down Bath, Newcastle outfought floundering Worcester and Exeter shocked Gloucester on the road.

Here are the scores:
Fri – 4th Oct 13
Sale 19 – 13 Bath
Sat – 5th Oct 13
Worcester 11 – 16 Newcastle
Saracens 19 – 12 Wasps
London Irish 18 – 13   Harlequins
Leicester 19 – 19 Northampton
Sun – 6th Oct 13
Gloucester12 – 29  Exeter

Rabodirect Pro 12: The Pro 12 teams didn’t take their foot of the pedal either. Ulster took down title contenders Ospreys, Dragons easily dismissed Zebre, Treviso shocked struggling Connacht. Glasgow continued their winning ways against Scarlets, Munster won the huge derby match against Leinster and Cardiff heaped more misery on Edinburgh.

Here are the scores:
Fri – 4th Oct 13
Ospreys 12 – 18 Ulster
Newport Gwent Dragons 30 – 7   Zebre
Benetton Treviso 23 – 3 Connacht
Sat – 5th Oct 13
Scarlets 12 – 17 Glasgow
Munster 19 – 15 Leinster
Sun – 6th Oct 13
Cardiff Blues 29 – 12 Edinburgh

Currie CupThe Currie Cup: The last-place Griquas had no answer for the Cheetahs, while the Blue Bulls were unable to beat the Sharks, therefore not distancing themselves more from  Griquas.. and relegation... Western Province proved to be simply too much for the Lions.

Here are the scores:
Fri – 4th Oct 13
Blue Bulls 16 – 18 Sharks
Sat – 5th Oct 13
Griquas 21 – 52 Cheetahs
Western Province 36 – 23 Lions

The ITM Cup: Otago ‘s biggest fan and RWU friend *Jed Thian can enjoy their victory over North Harbour this weekend, but with table toppers  Tasman beating Taranaki, it seems unlikely they will win promotion from the ITM Championship this season. In the ITM Premiership, Bay of Plenty continued their poor form and lost to Waikato, ensuring relegation. While in a top of the table clash between Wellington took down Auckland to get 6 points ahead with Canterbury‘s win, Auckland dropped to third. .

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

Fri – 4th Oct 13
Manawatu 22 – 16 Northland
Sat – 5th Oct 13
Bay Of Plenty 25 – 28 Waikato
North Harbour 23 – 37 Otago
Wellington 38 – 16   Auckland
Sun – 6th Oct 13
Canterbury 38 – 23 Counties Manukau
Taranaki 20 – 27  Tasman

Wed – 9th Oct 13
Northland – Otago
Thu – 10th Oct 13
Hawkes Bay – Wellington

News and Events:
New SA 7s Coach: Neil Powell was officially named the head coach of the South Africa Rugby 7s Blitzbokke. Powell takes over for Paul Treu, who stepped down to take the head coach position in Kenya. Powell’s former teammate Vuyo Zangqa, was named as assistant coach.

Tier 3 Action:  In a Rugby World Cup Qualifier, Israel continued their rapid raise and dominant form as they took down Luxembourg on the road. In an European Nations Championship match, Hungary steamrolled host Bulgaria with ease.

RWCQ Luxembourg 12 – 26 Israel
ENC Bulgaria  5 – 67  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.