Weekend Rugby Preview: Alain Rolland, Brazil 7s, Womens 6N, U20s, 6NB, Pro12, Player Moves

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Brazil 7sNEW YORK, NY – As the RWU staff looked at the weekend fixture lists, heads started spinning like in The Exorcist. The International fixture list featured the Sao Paulo 7s, Under 20s 6N, the Womens 6N, the Mens 6N, and the 6N B. The top European domestic leagues are in action, Aviva, Top14 and Pro12. The Southern Hemisphere has the Super Rugby kicking off proper, so there are a full slate of games. On top of all of this, there were transfers and other news. With all that action, lets just get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

As usual, Ladies First…
Sao Paulo 7s:  Round three of the IRB  Womens 7s World Series in Sao Paulo, Brazil kicks off this weekend. One definite is that the weather is sure to be warmer than it was in Atlanta. Another definite is that it New Zealand will walk away with the hardware again in this tournament. The USA is still trying to find its rhythm with all the new members and they don’t seem to have gelled well yet.

Here are the predictions:
Cup: New Zealand
Second: England
Third: Canada
Plate: Australia
Bowl: USA

Women’s 6N:  The 3 horse race will get very interesting. England have 1 loss to France while France and Ireland are undefeated. England need to win against Ireland to remain in contention. At the bottom of the table, Scotland are trying to get a win and avoid the wooden spoon.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 22ND FEB 14
England – Ireland
SUN – 23RD FEB 14
Wales – France
Italy – Scotland

Under 20 6N: With Wales and France undefeated and England Ireland with only one loss, this looks like a title race that won’t be settled until the final weekend of action. witnessed World Champions England go down to France last weekend. This means that the runners-up in last years Junior World Cup, Wales, should now have the inside track. However, Ireland looked very dangerous and may have something to say about who wins the whole thing.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 21ST FEB 14
Italy – Scotland
SAT – 22ND FEB 14
Wales – France
England – Ireland

Ireland Rugby team6 Nations: The Men’s division mirrors the U-20s. France versus Wales and England vs Ireland are the big game of the weekend. Nick Hall has a great preview and we have a guest author in-depth analysis of the Wales v France match-up. As usual on 6N weekend we also the Six-Pack’s picks for each match, so check them out.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 21ST FEB 14
Wales – France
SAT – 22ND FEB 14
Italy – Scotland
England – Ireland

6N B: The European Nations Cup (ENC), formerly known as the 6N B seems to be a tale of two tournaments. Georgia and Romania appear streets ahead of the other 4 nations and are doing a series of warm-up matches building to their match-up against each other. Meanwhile, Belgium, Portugal, Russia and Spain, when not being used as warm-up matches for the big 2, are in a tight fight for the 3rd place as a sign of their progress as a rugby nation.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 08 FEB 14
Georgia – Russia
Romania – Spain
Belgium – Portugal

Top 14: Our Top14 writing machine, James Harrington is back to 100% and has a great preview of all the weekend’s action. CLICK HERE.

Aviva Premiership: The one and only, Nick Hall, our East Midlands Machiavellian rugger has done a great preview of the match-ups for the Aviva Prem. Please CLICK HERE.

Rabodirect Pro12The Pro12 is the forgotten competition of the 3 European leagues because 3 of the 4 playoff seeds are already decided. Leinster‘s win over Cardiff only solidified there place at the top of the table. Challenging Leinster for top seed are old firm rivals Munster, who play Ospreys this weekend. As Ospreys are are 3rd and hosting this weekend’s match-up they stand a good chance of winning though they will still say third. The fourth playoff seed is a battle between Glasgow, who welcome Newport-Gwent and Ulster and who take the trip down to Treviso. The mid-table match up between Scarlets and Edinburgh is about pride. As is the bottom of the table clash between Zebre and Connacht.

Here is this weekend’s results and schedule:
Thu – 20nd Feb 14
Cardiff Blues 22 – 34 Leinster
Sat – 22nd Feb 14
Scarlets – Edinburgh
Sun – 23rd Feb 14
Benetton Treviso – Ulster
Newport Gwent D’gons – Glasgow
Ospreys – Munster
Zebre – Connacht

Super RugbyThe RWU Super Rugby Superman Jamie Walls,  has preview of the second round of action, as Super Rugby kicks off in full force. CLICK HERE.

Slammin' Sam Burgess
Slammin’ Sam Burgess

Converted Try:
Signings/Player Moves:   Folau Niua and Carlin Isles of the USA 7s program, this week signed contracts with the Galsgow Warriors of the Rabodirect Pro12 until the end of the season. DJ Eberle has a great up date on what this means to Isles’ NFL future. These signs are great for the players and USA 7s rugby to an extent. How and who these players are replaced with are far more important questions.

Connacht and the IRFU have brought some stabilit to the province by confirming new deals for Irish-qualified backs Tiernan O’Halloran (2 yrs.), Miah Nikora (1 yr) and Jack Carty (1yr)… Rhys Priestland has decided to stay at Scarlets and continue to play with international teammate and centre Scott Williams, who already secured a new contract… Wales full-back/wing Liam Williams and exciting scrum-half talent Gareth Davies also extended contracts… World-class centre Regan King is returning to Llanelli next season from ClermontUlster have completed the signing of 26-year-old Dublin-born loosehead prop Ruaidhri Murphy from Super Rugby’s Brumbies… Edinburgh have added a further hat-trick of overseas-based, Scottish-qualified players to their squad for the 2015-16 season. Props Allan Dell and Simon Berghan and outside back Nick McLennan are all set to join up with Alan Solomons‘ squad… Highly-rated Ospreys winger Eli Walker has agreed to a two-year deal that will keep him in Swansea til mid-2016Props Ryan Grant and Gordon Reid have both agreed new three-year deals to stay at Glasgow Warriors until at least May 2017Worcester Warriors have announced the signing of Harlequins winger Sam Smith when his contract is up at the end of the season… Sale Sharks have announced the signing of Scotland and former British and Irish Lions scrum-half Chris Cusiter on a two-year dealBath have confirmed that English Rugby League sensation Sam Burgess has chosen to sign a three-year deal with the club, which will see him cross codes and arrive at the Recreation Ground this October… Grenoble have revealed that hooker Anthony Hegarty has put pen to paper on a new two-year contract extension.

Super Rugby up to 17 teams:  SANZAR(South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) confirmed earlier this week that Super Rugby will expand to 17 teams. One more South African side will be added, The Southern Kings, and a new side from Argentina will also be added. If other teams will be added and how these 17 teams effect the balance of the league will be address in the next weeks and months.

Alain RollandRolland Retires:  Alain Rolland, the Irish referee of French heritage will retire after this weekend. Rolland grew to become one of the most respected and admired match officials of the modern era over the course of an international career that will come to an end this Friday night – for what will be his 66th Test match. However, he will forever have a tough time getting a pint poured in Wales – after the red card to Sam Warburton during the 2011 RWC.

Barrett wins IRPA Try of the Year Award 2013:  Beauden Barrett’s spectacular score against France in Christchurch on June 15, 2013 has been named as the International Rugby Players’ Association’s (IRPA) Try of the Year 2013. Check it out for yourself.

Record testing programme to Keep Rugby Clean:  A press release from the IRB earlier this week stated: The International Rugby Board has reaffirmed its commitment to the fight against doping in sport by undertaking a record level of education and testing in 2013. The programme, which included an increased commitment to blood testing, saw three Anti-Doping rule violations, equating to 0.16 per cent of the IRB’s entire programme. While the 2013 Rugby figures published by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are still pending, 2012 saw nearly 8,000* tests undertaken worldwide by National Anti-Doping Organisations, Unions and the IRB combined with 106 rule violations.

Sevens schedule announced for Glasgow 2014: The schedule for the 2014 Commonwealth Games rugby 7s competition has been announced. It will start with Reigning Champs New Zealand taking on Canada. For the full schedule, CLICK HERE.

Will Greenwood v Allyson Pollock: Ms. Pollock is the United Kingdom Professor of Public Health. Ms. Pollock took to the airwaves to regarding the violent game of rugby and its nature to injure those that play it. She stated “that the game must become a very different game from the very brutal game that we are seeing the professional players play“. England legend and former British & Irish Lion Will Greenwood had some choice words for her. Greenwood stated “You can keep your stats and your numbers because it is what a sport gives you – that feeling of being together as one and of building something.” For the full story on Greenwood’s rebuttal, CLICK HERE.

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@RugbyWrapUp,Junoir BlaberDJ EberleNick HallJames HarringtonCody KuxmannJaime Loyd, Karen Ritter , Jamie Wall and Declan Yeats, respectively.

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.