NEW YORK, NY- Aside from another stacked weekend of rugby, we have the most-excellent of excellent news of RUGBY PEACE IN EUROPE! We’ll look at that Global Sigh of Relief and action from Europe’s 3 top leagues – Aviva Premiership, Pro 12 and Top 14. There is also Super Rugby and Tier 3 action, plus we’ve USA Rugby news and International Announcements and Transactions. Let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview:
European Rugby Peace – There is still much to get through but starting next season there will be three European club competitions under the newly formed European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). On top of this, the deal is for 8 years and also covers broadcasting rights for 4 years. For more detail on the agreement, please CLICK HERE.
Junior World Rugby Trophy – The Junior (Under-20) World Rugby Trophy is a tournament for the second tier nations of rugby at the U-20 level. The winner gets promoted to the Junior World Cup competition which features, the top tier nations in international rugby. It is being held in Hong Kong this year. This week will be the start of pool play. The USA won the JWRT in 2012 and got promoted to the JWC in 2013. The first round of pool games saw Uruguay edge out Japan, Namibia dominate Canada, Georgia out-muscle Tonga and the USA thump Hong Kong. The next round of matches today, will see Japan take on Namibia, a potential pool decider as The USA take on Georgia, Tonga face host Hong Kong and Canada try to rebound against Uruguay.
FRI – 11TH APR 14
Japan – Namibia
USA – Georgia
Tonga – Hong Kong
Canada – Uruguay
Aviva Premiership – The East Midlands Machiavellian,Nick Hall, has you covered. The top two are safe but the race for the last two spots is anything but certain. Please CLICK HERE for another fantastic preview.
Top 14 – Our Top14 savant, James Harrington is back to focusing on the tightest playoff race in modern memory, with an equally tight race to avoid relegation. Every point counts and he has every angle covered. Please CLICK HERE, to check him out.
Rabodirect Pro12 – Like the Top 14 there are two previously postponed match scheduled for this weekend. One match occurred yesterday and Edinburgh saw off Newport-Gwent despite a great fight put up by the hosts. This weekend will see a must win game for Glasgow, if they hope to keep their playoff aspirations alive as they are home and take on Treviso.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 11TH APR 14
Ulster – Connacht
Ospreys – Leinster
Edinburgh – Cardiff Blues
SAT – 12TH APR 14
Benetton Treviso – Newport Gwent Dragons
Scarlets – Zebre
Munster – Glasgow
Tier 3 – European tier 3 rugby is fully back in action. The European Nations Cup consists of 7 divisions, each with 4-6 teams. The upcoming matches determine who will get promoted and relegated form groups 1A, 1B, 2A – 2D, and 3A. One of these matches will double as a Rugby World Cup Qualifier. The matches this weekend feature Hungry hosting Austria in a border war. Andorra traveling to Israel to stop one of the ENC’s fastest raising teams. Speaking of fast raising, the Netherlands welcome Croatia. Denmark travels to Serbia and Bulgaria makes the quick trip over to Slovenia.
Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 12th APR 14
ENC Hungary – Austria
ENC Israel – Andorra
ENC Netherlands – Croatia
ENC Serbia – Denmark
ENC Slovenia – Bulgaria
ENC/RWCQ Moldova – Ukraine
Signings/Player Moves: London Irish are set to lose center Setaimata Sa. Sa was a rugby league convert from Hull FC but after an injury-ravaged 2 year spell with the club, he appears to be heading back to league. Former Wales international Gavin Henson signed a one-year contract extension with Bath.
Greene King IPA Championship side London Welsh lock Mitch Lees signed a two-year deal with the Exeter Chiefs beginning the 2014/15 season… Newcastle Falcons confirmed the signing of back-rower Semesi Taulava, from Worcester Warriors on a two-year deal. Taulava will be playing for a new head coach though as Newcastle’s Peter Russell will be leaving the club for personal reasons at the end of the current season, the club announced… Another coach that is possible on the move will be Canterbury boss Scott Robertson, who according to reports is in negotiations to take over the head coaching role at relegated Biarritz. Robertson will have the services of former Biarritz player Benjamin Noirot, who will re-join the club at the end of the current campaign from Toulon… Biarritz’s Basque neighbors Bayonne will be without former France flank Julien Puricelli as he will be taking his talents to Pro D2 leaders Lyon.
In Pro 12 news, Scotland internationals Jack Cuthbert, Tom Brown and Dougie Fife have all re-signed Edinburgh for two years… Ulster have signed Irish qualified prop, Dave Ryan, for 2 years from Zebre, where he had been plying his trade.
In off the field news, the Ospreys have reportedly withdrawn their contract offer to Adam Jones, as its believed he is close to signing a WRU deal… Ulster full-back Jared Payne has been suspended for two weeks for his dangerous tackle on Saracens full-back Alex Goode… Munster’s Peter O’Mahoney will miss the rest of the season due to a bum shoulder.
Pacific Nations Cup 2014 – The International Rugby Board announced the new format and schedule for the IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2014. There will be two pools of three. Pool A will consist of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji in the Pacific Island conference, while Pool B will have the USA, Canada and Japan in the Asia/Pacific conference. The tournament will have two less games than in 2013 but will feature a much less congested fixture list as there will no midweek matches. The matches will take place over three Saturdays, June 7, 14 and 21.
Here is the schedule:
IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2014 Fixtures (all times are local)
SAT – 7th JUN 14
14:00 – Samoa v Tonga, Apia Park, Samoa
18:00 – Canada v Japan, Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, British Columbia
SAT – 14th JUN 14
15:00 – Fiji v Tonga, Churchill Park, Lautoka, Fiji
19:30 – USA v Japan, Stub Hub Center, Los Angeles, California
SAT – 21st APR 14
15:00 – Fiji v Samoa, ANZ Stadium, Suva, Fiji
15:00 – USA v Canada, Cal Expo Facility, Sacramento, California
USA Rugby News and Updates: On the back of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup schedule announcements. USA Rugby announced their two facilities hosting the matches. They will be held at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., against Japan, Saturday, June 14, at 7:30 P.M. ET. and the new Cal Expo Multi-Use Sports Field will face Canada in a match that will broadcast nationally on NBC Universal with a 3:00 P.M. PT start.
The USA Rugby Boys High School All-American Junior Varsity (under-17) team, sponsored by Aircraft Charter Solutions, opens its three-game European tour with Portugal, Wednesday, April 9, at 4:00 P.M. local time (11:00 A.M. ET). The 28 man squad has been selected. Click here for the team list. The result of the Portugal have not been released of press time.
The USA roster for the Can-Am series between the Canadian and USA women’s rugby teams, has been released. The Women’s Eagles’ players will tour Canada from April 11-21.
Women’s Eagles | Can-Am Tour
Sadie Anderson, (Penn State WRFC) Fort Collins, Colo.
Katy Augustyn, (Berkeley All Blues WRC) Antigo, Wisc.
Libby Berg, (Minnesota Valkryies) Albert Lea, Minn.
Meya Bizer, (Penn State WRFC) The Woodlands, Texas
Sharon Blaney, (Oregon Sports Union RC) Braintree, Mass.
Phoebe Boone, (Berkeley All Blues WRC) Oakland, Calif.
Stacy Bridges, (Twin Cities Amazons WRC) Robinson, Texas
Jamie Burke, (Glendale Raptors RFC) Chesapeake, Va.
Emilie Bydwell, (San Diego Surfers WRC) Montreal, Quebec
Erica Cavanaugh, (Northern Virginia WRFC) Ashland, Va.
Sarah Chobot, (Glendale Raptors WRC) Medon, Mich.
Kate Daley, (North Shore Chicago WRC) Mishawaka, Ind.
Mel Denham, (Beantown RFC) Norwell, Mass.
Amanda Kingzett, (Twin Cities Amazons WRC) Ellendale, N.D.
Molly Kinsella, (Toronto Saracens RFC) Hinsdale, Ill.
Tess Kohanski, (Beantown RFC) East Lyme, Conn.
Lynelle Kugler, (Twin Cities Amazons WRC) New Raymer, Colo.
Jennifer Lui, (North Shore Chicago WRC) Ridgway, Penn.
Erin Overcash, (Glendale Raptors RFC) Goshen, Ky.
Samantha Pankey, (James River RFC) Buckingham, Va.
Naima Reddick, El Cerrito, Calif.
Kimber Rozier, Raleigh, N.C.
Amanda Street, (Washington WRFC) Princeton, W. Va.
Shaina Turley, (Women’s Eagles Sevens-WCAP/San Diego Surfers WRC) Fox Lke, Ill.
Carrie White, (Seattle RFC) San Jose, Calif.
Sarah Wilson, (Glendale Raptors RFC) Westerville, Ohio
Women’s Eagles | Non-Traveling Reserves
Sylvia Braaten, (Twin Cities Amazons WRC) Waterford, Wisc.
Lauren Daly, (San Diego Surfers WRC) Boulder, Colo.
Ashley Kmiecik, (Emerald City Mudhens) Seattle, Wash.
Anne Peterson (Washington State University WRC) Arusha, Tanzania
Hope Rogers, (Penn State WRFC) Chambersburg, Penn.
Kittery Wagner, (Glendale Raptors RFC) Fort Collins, Colo.
Sarah Walsh, (Berkeley All Blues WRC) Baltimore, Md.
Kristen Zdanczewicz, (Minnesota Valkyries RC) Brew City, Wisc.
Women’s RWC 2014 – The schedule for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup were announced this week. There will be 12 teams that will compete at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 will meet during the pool stages on August 1, 5, 9, with the semi-finals on August 13 and the finals on August 17.
Here are the Pools:
Pool A – England, Canada, Spain and Samoa
Pool B – New Zealand, Ireland, USA, and Kazakhstan
Pool C – Australia, France, Wales, and South Africa
We aim to have a tournament preview and updates after every match day.
Here are the Pools:
Pool A – New Zealand, Spain, USA and Ireland
Pool B – Australia, Russia, France and South Africa
Pool C – Canada, England, Brazil and Netherlands
Prince William to hand over JWC trophy – As the heir to the thrown will still be touring the Australiasian members of the commonwealth in 50 days when the tournament kicks off. His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge will hand over the distinctive trophy to All Black scrum half Aaron Smith in Dunedin. Smith will receive the trophy as he was key member of the New Zealand Under 20 side that won the first Junior World Championship title in Wales back in 2008. The event will be part of a Regal Royal Fun Day at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Greatest Comeback of 2014: If you haven’t seen this footage, you should check it out. It is from the 2014 South African Rugby Varsity Cup Final between the NWU-Pukke and the UCT Ikeys. Our Inside Man had a brilliant 10 part report on life as an assistant in the Varsity Cup and Working Class Rugger discussed the rule changes used in the VC, such as two refs and 2 points for drop goals and penalty kicks. It may be still early in 2014, but don’t see how it can be topped. Here is the footage:
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@: RugbyWrapUp,Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann, Jaime Loyd, Karen Ritter , Jamie Wall, Jake Frechetteand Declan Yeats, respectively.
And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs!