Weekend Preview: Return of Sonny Bill, Aviva, Pro 12, WRU Regions news and more

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Sonny Bill Williams at the RLWC for NZRL
Sonny Bill at RLWC for NZRL

NEW YORK, NY:  The Holiday season is here but the action doesn’t take a break – it actually ramps up. All three big European leagues, the Aviva Premiership,  Top 14 and Rabodirect Pro 12 are all  back in action and all are past the mid-way point and are heading into the business end of the season, plus there were some major news and events occurring this week. Without further delay,  let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

Top 14: Your source for all things TOP14 is James Harrington. This week he takes a look at how things are shaping up for the second half of the season. CLICK HERE.

Aviva Premiership: Nick Hall, our East Midlands Machiavellian rugger  has you covered and there is plenty to talk about. CLICK HERE.

Simon Zebo of Munster
Simon Zebo of Munster

Rabodirect Pro 12: The Pro 12 is also back from break and the playoff pack is seriously coming into shape. 4 Spots available and 6 teams have a chance. Ospreys travel to Cardiff, while Ulster welcome Zebre and Leinster take their act on the road to Edinburgh. The other Scotland side, Glasgow will host Treviso while Connacht will welcome the Dragons to the west country. The Mighty Men of Munster will host the Scarlets in Fortress Thormond.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 20TH DEC 13
Ulster – Zebre
Cardiff Blues – Ospreys
Edinburgh – Leinster
Glasgow – Benetton Treviso
SAT – 21ST DEC 13
Connacht – Newport Gwent Dragons
Munster – Scarlets

Tier 3 Action: We have only one match this weekend. It will be a repeat of a midweek match. Beligum will continue their tour of the Far East. They will play a second match against Hong Kong. The Beligums  struggled to keep up with the uptempo style of rugby the Hong Kongers played in the midweek match.
Here are the midweek results and this weekend’s schedule:
TUE – 17 DEC 2013
Hong Kong 28 – 17 Beligum
SAT – 21 DEC 2013
Hong Kong – Beligum

Leicester's Toby Flood
Leicester’s Toby Flood

Penalty Kick:
Major Signings: The one and only, Sonny Bill Williams has agreed to return to the NZRU after his Rugby League contract expires. Williams will be back in 2015. In time to fight for a RWC spot and push for an Olympic medal in the 2016 games. Meanwhile, French giants Toulouse have likely snapped up the services of Leicester and England flyhalf Toby Flood – although it’s not completely official. Hall and Harrington will have lots to say on that. Leicester are supposedly looking at Wales Fly-half Rhys Priestland.

WRU Regions Drama: Wales Regions Rugby Director, Stuart Gallacher,  has resigned from the boards of the Pro12 and ERC. Gallacher will retain his position as Director but will no longer serve on the aforementioned boards. Things are so bad between the WRU and the Regions that the Regions have called for an independent inquiry into the distribution of commercial revenue.

Northampton Fined: The Northampton Saints have been fined £60,000 by Premier Rugby Limited (PRL) for releasing Welsh Winger George North to play for Wales, outside of the mandated IRB international test window.

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.