Weekend Rugby Preview: June Internationals, PNC, JWC, USA Rugby News and more

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NZ Haka V EnglandNEW YORK, NY- The June Internationals are finally here. It is time for the main event and what we have all waited for. This means that we will get loads of match-ups between tier 1 vs tier 1 sides, tier 1 vs tier 2, tier 2 vs tier 2 sides. Included in that group will be the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC), as well as the Junior World Cup matches. Then we cover the weeks transactions and as always USA rugby news.  With no more delay, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview:

As always, ladies first: 
June Internationals  There will be 2 international matches occurring this weekend. The Black Ferns will play Samoa in the curtain raiser to the All Blacks match, which will be a great idea as these ladies deserve to play in-front of a packed house. Across the Tasman, Australia will welcome Canada for clash that is developing into a rivalry.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 7TH JUN 14
W INT Australia  –  Canada
W INT New Zealand  –  Samoa

June Internationals – The Men’s June Internationals are now in full swing and there are huge amount of matches. Italy travel to Fiji, unlike those reclusive Kiwis. Speaking of Kiwis, our resident Kiwi, Jamie Wall, has a preview of the AIG All Blacks versus England posted. The match -up pits Wall against fellow staff member Nick Hall. France travels to Australia in a match-up that also has staff members clashing as James Harrington  of Castres takes on Working Class Rugger of Wollogong. In the other match-ups that don’t effect the RWU staff bragging rights, South Africa takes on a World XV, which is a Barbarians side in all but name, and Ireland travel to Argentina for a good contest as Ireland begin life without Brian O’Driscoll. The match-up of the weekend from a USA rugby fan perspective will be the anticipated match against Scotland, which our own Philly Rugby Phanatic, Jake Frechette has a preview of, including an interview with USA Coach, Mike Tolkin.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 7TH JUN 14
TOUR Fiji  –  Italy
TOUR Argentina  –  Ireland
M INT South Africa  –  World XV
TOUR USA  –  Scotland
TOUR New Zealand  –  England
TOUR Australia  –  France

Pacific Nations CupPacific Nations Cup – The Pacific Nations Cup is a tournament held between the six Pacific Rim nations of Fiji,JapanSamoaTongaCanada and the USA. The tournament is intended to strengthen the Tier 2 rugby nations by providing competitive test matches in a tournament format.  The PNC occurs along with the June internationals to ensure more games for these nations. With  Fiji and the USA are involved in tour matches, as already mentioned, the scheduled PNC matches for this weekend feature Pacific Islands rivals Samoa and Tonga going at it and Canada taking on Japan in a match of two of the fastest improving Tier 2 nations.
PNC Samoa  –  Tonga
PNC Canada  –  Japan

Tier 3 The NACRA Championship is the tournament similar to those in other IRB regions. This tournament is for the countries in North America and the CaribbeanUSA 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 features a full slate of matches beginning with the clash of regional powers Guyana and Trindad & Tobago. Jamaica faces developing power Mexico, Bermuda takes on Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands welcome St. Lucia and Curacao travel to take on St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 7TH JUN 14
NACRA CH Bermuda – Cayman Islands
NACRA CH British Virgin Islands – St. Lucia
NACRA CH Guyana – Trinidad & Tobago
NACRA CH Jamaica – Mexico
NACRA CH  St. Vincent & The Grenadines – Curacao

Junior World Cup: The JWC is the yearly World Cup held for U-20 teams of the top tier rugby playing nations. Italy had to qualify for it by winning last year’s Junior World Trophy, the second tier competition. This year’s tournament is being held in New Zealand.  The second round of pool play occurred overnight and they matches were a lot tighter than the first round. Italy shocked their cousins in Argentina, France raced away from Fiji, England outlasted Australia, Ireland proved too much for Wales and South Africa shocked the hosts, New Zealand.

Here are the results:
FRI – 6TH JUN 14
JWC Argentina 26 – 29 Italy
JWC France 37 – 5 Fiji
JWC England 38 – 24 Australia
JWC Wales 21 – 35 Ireland
JWC New Zealand 24 – 33 South Africa

220px-London_welsh_badgeAviva Premiership –  In Promotion-Relegation news, our old friends the  London Welsh upset the whole applecart as they took down big spending Bristol, 48-28, over two legs to win promotion from the Greene King IPA Championship to the Aviva Premiership.

Conversion Kick:
Signings/Player Moves: Bath have announced the signing of full-back Luke Arscott,  on a two-year contract from Exeter Chiefs. Wales and ex-Perpignan utility back James Hook has confirmed reports of him signing with Premiership side, Gloucester. Adam Hughes has confirmed he will be leaving Newport-Gwent Dragons and has  major draw in his decision to sign with Exeter Chiefs. Super Rugby Chiefs and Fiji winger Aseli Tikoirotuma, has signed a two-year contract with Harlequins.

Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions back-row forward, Stephen Ferris, has confirmed his retirement from rugby due to an ankle injury that made it impossible for him to comeback from. Joining Ferris in retirment will be Connacht second-row and former Super Rugby Chiefs champion Craig Clarke, who has been forced to retire through repeated concussions…The Osprey rewarded their academy product and 2013 International Rugby Board Junior World Player of the Year Sam Davies with his first professional contract.

There has been a merry go round of signings and departures in French rugby. Dual-code France international Fabrice Estebanez has left Racing-Metro for newly-promoted Lyon, the ProD2 champions. Lyon also confirmed the signing of Super rugby Stormers hooker Deon Fourie on a two-year contract. Back to back Top 14 finalists and 2013 Champions Castres have confirmed the arrival of seven players ahead of 2014/15. The players are Johnnie Beattie, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Montpellier prop Paea Fa’anunu, and Toulouse lock Yohan Montes along with Julien Dumora and Thomas Combezou.

Brice Dulin
Brice Dulin

Racing Metro have confirmed a raft of arrivals and departues, similar to last season. They include big name players like Wales lock Luke  Charteris on a two-year contract with and option for a third, South Africa fly-half Johan Goosen on a three-year deal. Making the move north from Castres to Racing are French internationals Antonie Claassen (backrow) and Brice Dulin (fullback) and prop Anton Peikrishvili.  Former All Black Casey Laulala arrives from Munster while promising winger Teddy Thomas joins from relegated Biarritz.

The full list of arrivals are: Brice Dulin, Antonie Claassen, Anton Peikrishvili (all from Castres), Thibaut Dubarry, Teddy Thomas (both from Biarritz), Casey Laulala (Munster), Yoan Audrin (Montpellier), Johan Goosen (Cheetahs), Luke Charteris (Perpignan)

The full list of departures: Fabrice Estebanez, Karim Ghezal, Masi Matadigo (to Lyon), Jonathan Wisniewski, Julien Brugnaut (to Grenoble), Benjamin Fall, Antoine Battut (to Montpellier), Jone Qovu (to La Rochelle), Soane Tonga’uiha (to Oyonnax), Virimi Vakatawa (France Sevens)

Promoted Top 14 side La Rochelle announced today, the signing of former All Black Jason Eato,  Waratahs wing Alofa Alofa and ex-Springbok Peter Grant on two-year deals. Top 14 side Bayonne unveiled former Argentina and Australia test prop Pat Noriega earlier this week as their new coach, along with assistant Nicolas Morlaes.

Toshiba Brave Lupus have confirmed that Sharks utility back Frans Steyn and Chiefs flanker Tanerau Latimer will join them for the 2014/15 season. Reported also going to Japan is  Crusaders flanker George Whitelock, who rumor has it has signed a contract with the Panasonic Wild Knights. Melbourne Rebels scrum-half Ben Meehan has committed to a new two-year contract with the club. Not re-committing to Melbourne is Wellington-born goal-kicking full-back Jason Woodward as has signed a deal that will see return to his home province and play for the Hurricanes in 2015…Woodward and his new Hurricanes teammates will now be coached by the Kiwi combo of Chris Boyd and John Plumtree. The pair will reunite as Super Rugby coaches in 2015 (after coaching the Sharks 2009 & 2010). Boyd will be the head coach and Plumtree the assistant.


usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby News and Updates: USA Rugby announced the coaching Staffs for the boys and girls rugby sevens teams to compete in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, Aug. 17-20. Ben Gollings, the all-time leading points scorer on the IRB Sevens World Series and former head coach of Sri Lanka, will coach the boys team with the help of Salty Thompson, head coach of the USA Rugby Boys High School All-Americans, as Team Leader. Richie Walker, assistant coach to the Men’s and Women’s Eagles Sevens, will coach the girls team in China. USA Rugby Events Operations Manager Kellie Cavalier will serve as Team Leader.

Hoping to juggle not being lost in the shuffle and feeding off the energy of the USA-Scotland test match, is the Elite City 7s. The Elite City 7s is a 12-team tournament featuring 144 U.S.A.-eligible athletes, will be played Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at nearby Houston Sports Park. The two-day competition between city-based all-star teams is designed to be a significant tool to evaluate talent and identify players who have the skills necessary to compete on an international stage. Admission for Elite City Sevens is free, StreamSports will be filming the entirety of the two-day tournament, and will be broadcast live on USA Rugby TV.  A full match schedule and streaming information can be found HERE.

The USA Rugby and the USA Eagles have announced a new partnership with Smith & Forge Hard Cider, the Official Hard Cider of USA Rugby. Smith & Forge replaces Crispin cider in that role.

USA Women’s Eagles Head Coach Pete Steinberg has announced his 30 player (and 10 non-traveling reserves) for the 10 day tour of the United Kingdom. The tour is a warm-up for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. The roster features a few members of Rugby class of 2012 and 2013. Click HERE to look at the roster.

The USA Rugby College Department is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for candidates to serve on the 2014-15 College Management Council (CMC). For more information on the College Management Council Representatives qualifications and responsibilities, including the terms of reference, please visit USA Rugby’s College Resources page.

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 Frechette 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.