Weekend Rugby Preview: Autumn Internationals, Aviva, RaboDirect, Fiji Fumes, Hall of Famers

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France v SANEW YORK, NY – The Autumn Internationals or End of the Year Tours (EOYT) coming to an end this weekend (except for 1 or 2 next week), this weekend is bittersweet. However, the domestic leagues fire up again. This means more games and more action so, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

Tier 1 & 2: Of the clashes for the weekend France vs South Africa is the match to watch. Considering that a couple of the members of this Springbok side (and SA ruggers in general) ply their trade in France, both sides will be familiar with each other… Wales welcomes a Tonga side in a match-up that has all the hallmarks of a Tonga upset. Wales are banged up and resting players while Tonga are angry and will be more physical than normal, after two losses in games they could have won… Rugby’s kissing cousins Italy and Argentina also face off, while global superpowers and rugby minnows USA and Russia duke it out in London; check out that match preview…  It looks like Scotland will continue their winning streak against Australia, with the Wallabies reeling from internal suspensions from a midweek drinking session last week and injuries, check out WCR’s match preview…  Pacific Island teams Samoa and Fiji will travel to Eastern Europe to face Georgia and Romania, respectively… Stay warm lads, it may be a bit nippy… Meanwhile Canada and Japan will enjoy the warmth of playing our friend Pedro Leal‘s Portugal and Spain, respectively. On Sunday, the unstoppable force, known as The Blackness, the AIG New Zealand All Blacks, will descend upon Dublin to face IrelandDeclan Yeats’ boys are gonna need all the “luck” they can get.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 22 NOV 2013
Wales – Tonga
Sat – 23 NOV 2013
Italy – Argentina
Scotland – Australia
France – South Africa
Russia – USA
Portugal – Canada
Spain – Japan
Georgia – Samoa
Romania – Fiji
Sun – 24 NOV 2013
Ireland – New Zealand

Aviva Premiership: Our East Midlands Machiavellian rugger Nick Hall has you covered. CLICK HERE.

Rhys Patchell of the Cardiff Blues
Rhys Patchell of Cardiff Blues

Rabodirect Pro 12The Pro 12 is back on, with a full slate of matches. Edinburgh visit Ulster, Newport-Gwent travel to Glasgow, Ospreys host Zebre, while Connacht welcome Scarlets to the west country. The mighty men of Munster take on the cosmopolitan Cardiff Blues in Cardiff and Leinster make an Italian sojourn to take on Treviso.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 22nd Nov 13
Ulster –  Edinburgh
Glasgow  –  Newport Gwent D’gons
Sat – 23rd Nov 13
Ospreys  –   Zebre
Connacht –  Scarlets
Cardiff Blues – Munster
Sun – 24th Nov 13
Benetton Treviso  – Leinster

Tier 3 Action: In the ENC, this week we have nothing but a tour match. Andorra will welcome Denmark in a game that has the potential to go either way.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 23 NOV 2013
Andorra – Denmark

The Autumn internationals is fond of tri-nation rugby tournaments. Following in the steps of the Serendib Cup, the TRNT, and The Victoria Cup, we have another contest. Though the tourney has no official name, RWU has bestowed upon it the name SlAzTuR Cup. The name features the first two letters of the 3 teams involved, Slovakia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, with R for Rugby at the end. In the first weekend match-up, Slovakia defeated Azerbaijan. The midweek match saw Turkey also beat Azerbaijan but in a close tussle. The final match of this tri-nation tournament sees Turkey take on hosts Slovakia for the title.

Here is the midweek result and this weekend’s schedule:
Wed – 20 NOV 2013
Turkey 31 – 3 Azerbaijan
Sat – 23 NOV 2013
Slovakia – Turkey

IRB Conference and Exhibition – The first annual IRB Conference and exhibition was held this week in Dublin from November 17th to the 20th. Issues discussed were Growing the game, the Concussions and safety, and Social media as a tool and how success can inspire a generation.

IRB Hall of Fame Inductions: At the IRB ConfEX (as it called itself), 11 former players were entered into the Hall of Fame. They were 6 Australians Thomas Lawton Sr., John Thornett, Ken Catchpole, Mark Ella, David Campese and George Gregan. The other five inductees are Robert Seddon and the 1888 British team, David Bedell-Sivright, Bleddyn Williams and Jack Matthews, Ronnie Dawson and Gavin Hastings.

IRB Hall of Fame Inductions: At the same IRB ConfEX, 4 Special Recognition Awards were given:
IRB Development Award
Robbin Timmins – Australian Rugby Female Pioneer and Icon
IRB Special Development Award
Ange Guimera – posthumously recognised as a pioneer of Brazilian, Uruguayan and Ivory Coast Rugby
Spirit of Rugby Award
Yoshiharu Yamaguchi – Japanese rugby coach, teacher and mentor at Fushimi Technical High School
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service 
Ian McIntosh – Zimbabwian-Born South Africa coach, selector and rugby legend.

Rugby Champions Cup: This is the European Cup competition threatening to usurp the Heineken cup led by the clubs that make up the Aviva Premiership, Top 14 and RaboDirect Pro 12.  The latest news is that the European Unions including the Celtic ones are still standing firm, while England is feeling more isolated as France is starting to waiver. See James Harrington’s piece for more detail.

Fiji to lodge referee complaint – Fiji are lodging a complaint over the 5 yellow cards they suffered in their loss to Italy. They believe the overzealousness of the ref cost them the game. Have a look for yourself.

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, Jaime Loyd 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.