Weekend preview: WRWC 2014, EOY Tours, ENC, Tier 3 and more

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With the start of the Autumn Internationals, often called the End of the Year (EOY) Tours by our  friends in the Southern Hemisphere, the next few weekends will be jammed pack with action. The Action will be seen across all 3 tiers along with Women’s rugby. There’s still action in the Rabodirect Pro 12  plus a Rugby World Cup Qualifier, European Nations Cup and the final game of a new tier 3 tournament this weekend. So, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

Ladies First:
WRWC 2014 Draw: The draw for the 2014 was announced on Wednesday at the launch gala. Our friends, Scrumqueens, noted how odd it was for the event to have 6 speakers, all men. Not the best idea if we’re trying to promote women in rugby. The pools are:
Pool A: England, Canada, Spain Samoa
Pool B: NZ, USA, Ireland, Kazakhstan
Pool C: Aus, France, Wales, South Africa

These pools should fall into shape as ranked and it is all but certain that England, NZ and Aus will be in the semi-finals. Who between, Canada, USA and France will join them? My heart says USA, my head says Canada. If you want more analysis on the US women, visit our friend YSCRugby.

There is one women’s tour match to begin tour season and that is Canada traveling to France for a 2 match series beginning this weekend.
Sat- 2nd Nov 13
France Canada

Autumn Internationals: New Zealand has secured a nice warm-up test against Japan, who they should easily beat. Why they continue to avoid playing any of the 3 Pacific Island Nations, primarily Samoa is anyone’s guess. Though I have my opinion, I’ll save it for another article. The highlight match of the weekend will see England try and knockdown a slumping Wallaby side. It must be noted, before WCR points it out, that though Australia has been in poor form, it is only against the two higher ranked SANZAR teams. They just demolished Argentina and are still a tough task for any 6N side. The big match in the Americas time zone will see Canada face the New Zealand Maori at a sold out BMO field in Toronto.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Sat- 2nd Nov 13
Japan – New Zealand
England – Australia
Canada – NZ Maori

Aviva Premiership: Our East Midlands Machiavellian rugger Nick Hall has you covered. Click here.

Rabodirect Pro 12: The Pro 12 is on a semi-break with just 4 teams in action. Coincidentally each of the 4 represents one of the 4 nations that make up the Pro 12. Newport-Gwent of Wales will be at home against Leinster of Ireland while Scotland’s Edinburgh host Italy’s Zebre.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 1st Nov 13
Newport Gwent Dragonsv – Leinster
Edinburgh – Zebre

Tier 3 Action: In the ENC, much like the last few weeks, we have a match doubling as a Rugby World Cup Qualifier. Sweden will make the trip to Ukraine to try and stay in good form. Lithuania will try to pick up an easy win against Malta, while Croatia welcomes Switzerland. In an unlikely tour match, Tunisia will travel to Belgium to test their progress.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Sat- 2nd Nov 13
ENC/RWCQ  Ukraine – Sweden
ENC Lithuania – Malta
ENC Croatia – Switzerland
ENC Denmark – Israel
TOUR Belgium – Tunisia

madagascar polandThe inaugural Serendib Cup is an IRB sanctioned competition for emerging countries to be held in Sri Lanka between the hosts, Madagascar and Poland. With their victory last weekend over Sri Lanka and their midweek victory over Poland, it appears the mighty Les Makis of Madagascar have won it. Poland will play Sri Lanka this weekend.

Here is the midweek result and this weekend’s schedule:
Tue- 29th Oct 13
Madagascar 25 – 21 Poland
Sat- 2nd Nov 13
Sri Lanka – Poland

Conversion Kick:
Club v Country row in H-Cup – As the Heineken Cup drama continues, we decided its best to give it a quick explanation for those that are currently confused. As best we can understand it, the individual clubs agree with the creation of 2 new 20 club tournaments with the similar difference in prestige like the current structure. The qualification criteria change has been agreed to in principle. However the exact qualification criteria has yet to be agreed upon. Also it appears that the unions that the clubs belong to (RFU, FFR etc.) have yet to get on-board, meaning  the ERC (European Rugby Commission) is not fully on board either. Hope that’s clear as mud to you too.

Change to the Pacific Nations Cup – With Samoa re-entering the Pacific Nations Cup–a tragedy in of itself, the tournament format will change. It will be broken into two groups: USA, Canada and Japan in one group and Samoa, Tonga and Fiji in another. There will be only one game between each group member with a final  in November. This means less games for the USA but they will try to secure more matches with other nations.

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 @RugbyWrapUpJunoir BlaberDJ EberleNick HallJames HarringtonCody 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.