Weekend Rugby Preview: Heinken Cup and Amlin Cup Finals, Super Rugby, Tier 3 Rugby And More

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Will Toulon be repeat champions
Will Toulon be repeat champions
NEW YORK, NY- The impending June internationals means that there is an uptick in international rugby while domestic rugby dwindles down. However with both the Amlin and Heineken cup final, this weekend, there will be clashes of great intensity occurring on the level of internationals.  In Super Rugby it is time to run for the playoffs or be left for dead. Speaking of internationals the Tier 3 calendar features action ranging from North America, the Caribbean, South America, Asia and Europe plus we have all the weeks transactions… and USA Rugby! Enough filler, let’s get to meat of  the action and into the Weekend Rugby Preview:

 Ladies first,
The top division of Asian RFU Womens 4 Nations Rugby championship, top division title will be fought in Hong Kong this year. In midweek action,  WRWC qualified Kazakhstan steamrolled Singapore, while  Hong Kong.  scraped by  Japan by the slimmest margin possible. easily dismantle Singapore. This weekend’s match-ups are expected to be more competitive as Kazakhstan take on Japan and Hong Kong plays Singapore.

Here are the midweek results
WED – 21ST MAY 14
WARC Kazakhstan 68 – 0 Singapore
WARC Hong Kong 15 – 14 Japan

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 24TH MAY 14
WARC Hong Kong – Singapore
WARC Kazakhstan – Japan

Heineken Cup The leanish, meanish writing machine known as put together a great preview of the final. Please CLICK HERE for the preview and the six pack’s picks.

Another H-Cup game is being played this weekend, also. The inaugural 2-leg qualifiers between the 7th placed teams in the Aviva Premiership and the Top14 is being played. In the first leg, London Wasps beat Stade Francais Paris on a drop goal at home. So the Wasps take a 1 point, point differential into the second leg in Paris. It will a tight and interesting affair. Only a fool would bet on who would be the winner.

Heineken Cup Qualifier
SUN – 18TH MAY 14
First Leg Wasps 30 – 29 Stade Francais
SAT – 24TH MAY 14
Second Leg Stade Francais – Wasps

Amlin Cup  – The East Midlands Machiavellian Rugger Nick Hall will be back his preview of the all English club final. It brings up interesting arguments and counter-arguments. Please CLICK HERE  for preview.

Super RugbyThe RWU Super Rugby Superman, Jamie Wall, has a great preview of how tight the playoff race is getting and how much the Reds have been left for dead.  Please CLICK HERE for his awesome preview.

Germany rugby
Germany rugby

Tier 3 – The weekend’s Tier 3 calendar has lightened up in Europe but is picking up in other areas of the globe. We will begin with the European Nations Cup, which consists of 7 divisions, each with 4-6 teams. The matches determine who will get promoted and relegated form groups 1A, 1B, 2A – 2D, and 3A. Saturday’s fixture sees the  Hungary face and unpredictable Denmark side. In a winner take all qualification match for the Rugby World Cup, Germany welcomes Russia.

The Asian5N is short for the Asian 5 Nations, which is similar to the ENC but with 5 divisions and 5 teams in each. The matches this weekend will see second division matches between Iran and Thailand and Malaysia against Qatar. In the first division, The Philippines face-off  against Korea while Japan goes up against Hong Kong in another RWCQ winner take all.

The SAMC is the same as the two previously mentioned tournaments but for South America and that has 4 divisions featuring 15 teams. The top division of this tournament is sometimes known as the CONSUR Cup. Scheduled is a match between an  Argentina side, full of U-20 players travel to Chile.

The NACRA Championship is the same as the three previously mentioned tournaments but for North America and the Caribbean. It is not as layered as the other three competitions and rather has the weaker teams play qualifiers to get to a stage that it would seem fair to bring in the larger unions. USA Rugby competes in this tournament by sending the USA South Regional all-star team, in order to develop talent and make the competition a much fairer one. This weekend will see regional powerhouse Trinidad  & Tobago take on Barbados.

Here are the midweek results
TUE – 20TH MAY 14
ASIA5N Malaysia 43 – 22 Iran
ASIA5N Thailand 11 – 24 Qatar

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 24TH MAY 14
ENC Hungary  –  Denmark
ENC/RWCQ  Germany – Russia

ASIA5N Iran  –  Thailand
ASIA5N Malaysia  –  Qatar
ASIA5N/RWCQ Philippines  –  Korea

NACRA CH Trinidad & Tobago  –  Barbados

SUN – 25TH MAY 14
ASIA5N/RWCQ Japan  –  Hong Kong

SAMC Chile  –  Argentina

Burns will move from Gloucester to Leicester next season
Burns will move from Gloucester to Leicester next season

Conversion Kick:
Signings/Player Moves: Leicester Tigers finally confirmed the open secret about their signing of Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns. England international  Burns will be by Italy’s first-choice hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini and back-rower Robert Barbieri. Other internationals arriving at Leicester are Fiji playmaker Seremaia Bai and Tongan-born former Japan center Christian Loamanu. Continuing a busy week for the Midlands outfit, Leicester extended the contracts of skipper Ed Slater and experienced campaigners Anthony Allen and Louis Deacon. As previously reported, other squad members David Mele, Blaine Scully, Adam Thompstone and Gonzalo Camacho agreed new deals, though the length of these contracts have not been disclosed. The Tigers are also working on a way to keep Argentine openside Pablo Matera. With all these comings, someone must be going. Leaving the club will be Dan Bowden, Michael Noone and Jerome Schuster while development squad members Pasqualle Dunn (USA Eligible player) , Lucas Guillaume, Henry Purdy and Harry Rudkin have not been offered new terms.

Harlequins also showed a few players the exit door following their Aviva Premiership semi-final loss to Saracens. Leading the group of players that are now suurplus to requirements are veteran second-row Nick Kennedy, followed by Maurie Fa’asavalu, Tom Guest, Sam Smith, Nic Mayhew and Max Crumpton. In addition Paul Sackey and Tim Molenaar, who were with the club as injury dispensation cover, will also not return.  Kennedy will return to London Irish, a club he made over 200 appearances with and take up the role of Academy Director.

Newcastle Falcons midfielder Alex Crockett announced on Tuesday his retirement from rugby, citing persistent knee problems. Gloucester have announced the capture of the highly-rated back rower and former England U-20 captain, Jacob Rowan from Leeds Carnegie.

Cheetahs full-back Hennie Daniller has decided he will go to Europe next season and play for Italian side Zebre in the Pro12.  Leinster have announced the signing of Australia and Waratahs lock Kane Douglas from the NSW Waratahs.

Retiring second-row Leo Cullen has been confirmed as Leinster‘s forwards coach from July 1st on. Head coach Matt O’Connor, also confirmed on that Richie Murphy has signed a new deal as assistant coach, with responsibility for skills & kicking and Marco Caputo will be joining Leinster as the new scrum coach.

New Munster boss Anthony Foley will be joined by a host of assistants and specialist coaches. Next season will see former Munster center Brian Walsh joining the province as assistant coach, handling attack and backs, while Skills Coach Ian Costello has been promoted to assistant coach, with responsibility for defence and kicking.
Head coach Foley and Mick O’Driscoll, announced as Technical Advisor in April, will be joined by former teammate Jerry Flannery as scrum coach.

Edinburgh have confirmed the signing of experienced Irish prop John Andress from relegated Premiership side, Worcester Warriors. Talented hooker Rhys Williams will continue his eye-catching development at Cardiff Blues after agreeing a new deal.

Former All Black scrum-half Alby Mathewson has extended his stay with the Western Force, re-signing for an additional two years through until 2016. Dynamic and versatile back Tim Nanai-Williams has extended his contract with double Super Rugby champions the Chiefs for 2015.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby News and Updates: Universal Sports Network announced that they will provide exclusive LIVE TV and digital coverage of all three of USA Rugby’s upcoming summer test matches. The USA Eagles will face Tier 1 nation Scotland on June 7 at 8 p.m. ET in Houston, TX, followed by matches with Japan on June 14 at 10 p.m. ET in Carson, CA, and Canada on June 21 at 5:30 p.m. ET in Sacramento, CA.

Scotland has named their 43 man side to play the USA as part of their summer tour.

The finals are set for the national club championships are set. The Finals will take place at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, Wisconsin, for the National Championship Finals May 31. A historic, 4,000-seat stadium located in the heart of downtown Madison.

Here is the schedule:
2014 USA Rugby Emirates Airline National Club Championships

10:00 AM Men’s Division III Old Blue of New York D3 vs. Life West Gladiators
12:15 PM Women’s Division II Pittsburgh Angels vs. Sacramento Amazons
2:30 PM Men’s Division II Rocky Gorge Rugby vs. Tempe Old Devils
4:45 PM Women’s Division I Chicago North Shore vs. Oregon Sports Union
7:00 PM Men’s Division I Life Running Eagles vs. New Orleans Rugby

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!

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.