NEW YORK, NY: March certainly came in roaring like a lion with another boatload of rugby to cover. We had international fixtures in Europe consisting of the Under 20s 6 Nations (6N), the Women’s 6N, the Men’s 6N and the 6N B. Not to be forgotten was another women’s test match and the Anglo-Welsh Cup (aka the LV=Cup). In the Southern Hemisphere there was Super Rugby action – and then some. In addition, we have the comings and goings in the transfer market, plus USA Rugby news and more. Let’s dive into the Weekend Wrap.
As gentlemen we insist on… Ladies First…
International Woman’s Day: Rugby being one of the few sports that treats women 100% equal to men, proudly celebrated International Womens Day (IWD). Though strangely the Women’s 6N matches weren’t scheduled on that day. The IRB issued a press release regarding the growth in the womens game and highlighting the upcoming Womens Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in France as on pace to be statistically better than all prior WRWC.
Women’s 6N: With only one weekend left it look like this tournament is France‘s to lose. France’s demolition of Scotland guaranteed the Scots won the the Wooden Spoon… Meanwhile, Ireland and England are still chasing, as they shutout Italy and dominated Wales, respectively. However, it remains that all France need to do is win out and the title is theirs. Actually, if you do the math they could lose by 37 points and still win the title.
Under 20 6N: The U20s situation is somewhat similar to the Women’s. All France need to do is win next week and the title is theirs. They can’t afford a loss of any nature. France created this position for itself by snatching a hard-fought victory against Scotland… Ireland put a solid effort against Italy to still give themselves a mathematical chance. The tilt expected to be the clash of titans ended up a laugher… The Junior World Champion English trashed runners-up in last year’s Junior World Cup, Wales. The dominant victory gave England the highest points differential of any side, points differential is the first tiebreaker. Now they need to win and hope for a bit of luck.
6N B: The European Nations Cup (ENC), formerly known as the 6N B, is finally done with all the prerequisite matches. The top two teams of Georgia and Romania have taken every challenger down but each other. Georgia had more work to do than expected against Spain, while Romania couldn’t relax against Belgium… Russia are still on track for 3rd place and the RWC2015 repechage as they handedly defeated Portugal.
LV=Cup: In the Weekend Preview we mentioned that 3 of the 4 sides were on pace for a treble. After this weekend, Northampton is the only one with a chance for the treble as they dismissed Saracens with ease… Exeter in the midst of a sub-par season have been able to completely focus their energy on the LV= Cup and walking away with some hardware. Exeter were able to find that little extra to put away a very determined Bath side.
Women’s Exhibition Test: In a exhibition test match between Switzerland and Finland, Switzerland completely thrashed the Finns as they ran a clinic on their opposition
Here are the results:
SAT – 08 FEB 14
Switzerland 80 – 0 Finland
USA Rugby News: It has been a busy past few weeks at USA Rugby. In the world of 7s, 7 new players, were added to the Chula Vista camp at the start of the month. They are capped Men’s Eagles Will Holder, Tim Maupin and Adam Siddall, as well as past sevens players Thretton Palamo and Nese Malifa, bringing the total number of Eagles training with USA 7s coach Matt “Polar Bear” Hawkins to 25. This follows the departures of Tai Enosa, Jack Halalilo, Carlin Isles, Folau Niua and Pila Taufa… The Women’s 7s side welcomed crossover athletes Leyla Kelter and Elana Meyers.
The Final Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualifier Camp has been announced. The 27-player squad will assemble from March 11-15 and finish with a scrimmage against Life University. After the scrimmage, only 11 of the squad will be added to the final RWCQ squad.
Men’s Eagles | Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualifier Camp
Derek Asbun – New York Athletic Club
Garrett Brewer – St. Mary’s College
Chris Chapman – New York Athletic Club
Joe Cowley – Life Rugby
Miles Craigwell – Seattle-OPSB
John Cullen – Seattle-OPSB
Shaun Davies – Life Rugby
TC Elliott – Seattle-OPSB
Zach Fenoglio – Glendale Raptors
Eric Fry – London Scottish RFC
Troy Hall – New York Athletic Club
Graham Harriman – James Bay RFC
Seamus Kelly – University of California
Olive Kilifi – Seattle-OPSB
Kelly Kolberg – Dallas RFC
Chad London – Glendale Raptors
Dave Martini – Santa Monica RFC
Tim Maupin – Olympic Club
Adam Siddall – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Louis Stanfill – Seattle-OPSB
Kyle Stroman – Life Rugby
Kyle Sumsion – BYU Rugby
Shalom Suniula – Seattle-OPSB
Phil Thiel – Life Rugby
Tai Tuisamoa – Old Mission Beach Athletic Club
Matt Trouville – Seattle-OPSB
Zach Walker – Life Rugby
Nick Wallace – James Bay RFC
With 6 Regional All-Star Tournaments scheduled during the summer, it appears that the regional tournaments are the going to the key towards being selected for the High School All-American side.
USA Rugby is currently looking for 2 new Board of Directors nominees. They are currently seeking candidates for two at-large Directors positions on its nine-member Board of Directors. The USA Rugby Board is responsible for oversight of the strategic direction of USA Rugby and for assisting in the development of the financial resources, contacts and partnerships that will facilitate USA Rugby in reaching its objectives.
Signings/Player Moves: Toulouse are the latest French club to be linked with a move for France international winger Alexis Palisson. Palission is set to leave Toulon at the end of the season and has overtures from several clubs including Stade Francias, Castres and now Toulouse. Toulon have signed France international prop Fabien Barcella from Biarritz on a one-year contract for next season, according to those close to the matter. Toulon last week raided Biarritz for Alexandre Menini, who they signed as a medical joker. Castres have been boosted by the re-signing of left wing Romain Martial and second-row Benjamin Desroches ahead of their Top 14 season run-in. Gloucester fly-half Tim Taylor has announced his retirement from professional rugby at the end of the current domestic season. Leicester Tigers are working to keep Vereniki Goneva who also has interest from Castres and Pablo Matera, being enticed with a return to his native Argentina and their Super Rugby side set to be included in 2017. Leicester will continue to try and sign the pair for next season despite interest from elsewhere.
Brookes Suspended for Six Weeks: On the heels of our always respect the ref article, Newcastle prop Kieran Brookes was banned for six weeks after pleading guilty to pushing referee Greg Garner during last Sunday’s Aviva Premiership match against Leicester.
ODESUR Games: This weekend in Santiago, Chile, the Odesur Games are being held. The games are the continent’s premier multi-sport event. South America‘s finest Rugby Sevens players will compete in this years games. For the first time, the rugby on the pitch is doubling as the South American region’s CONSUR Sevens championships. Argentina‘s men and Brazil‘s women will start as favorites at the event.
Here is the complete list of teams:
Men’s teams – Rugby Sevens, ODESUR Games
Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia
Women’s teams – Rugby Sevens, ODESUR Games
Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, Colombia
Sephaka named South Africa Womens Coach: Former Springbok prop Lawrence Sephaka , a member of RWC 2003 side, has been appointed the new South Africa Women’s head coach. The team is hoping that despite the late coaching change they can still make a difference at the WRWC.
At the behest of fans, I have tried to include more womens coverage. If you still need more please check out our friends scrumqueens.com and scrumhalfconnection.com. We also welcome writers that want to help cover women’s rugby.
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Here is the aforementioned Adam Siddall, after the near victory against the AIG Maori All Blacks.