Weekend Rugby Preview: June Tours, Tier 2 Cups, Tier 3 Cups, USA Rugby News and more

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NEW YORK, NY- This issue of the weekend preview is our largest ever. We make no apologies in our attempt to cover the globe and all the rugby news that is fit to print. We cover the  June International Tours by the Northern hemisphere powers to the Southern and Eastern hemispheres. There are three Tier 2 international cup competitions  going on, including the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) and the Nations Cup (NC), and two Tier 3 international cup competitions.  Not wanting to be lost in the shuffle are the Junior World Cup matches. Then we cover the weeks transactions and as always USA rugby news. It is a full rugby buffet, so like any other buffet read what you care about, skip over what you don’t. Let’s gorge on the Weekend Rugby Preview:

New-Zealand-v-England-womenAs always, ladies first:
June Internationals There is only one match this weekend. The Black Ferns will play Canada in the second match of their two-match series. In the first match, that occurred  during the midweek, Canada put in their best-ever performance against New Zealand – but it was still not enough to stop the Ferns. We will see if the Maple Leafs can top those efforts and top the Black Ferns in the process.

Here are the midweek results:
TUE – 10TH JUN 14
W INT New Zealand 16 – 8 Canada

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 14TH JUN 14
W INT New Zealand  –  Canada

June Internationals – The Men’s June Internationals have delivered as promised to date and hopefully will continue to do so. There are huge amount of matches on tap for the weekend.  Italy travel to Samoa, a place those big old meanies the All Blacks refuse to go to.  Our resident Kiwi ambassador, Jamie Wall, has already commented on the matter and has a preview of the second test between the AIG All Blacks and England posted. The match -up pits Wall against fellow staff member Nick Hall. Mr. Hall has a great preview of the South Africa versus Wales clash. He briefly touches on Wales’ warm-up match victory over the Eastern Province KingsFrance tries to rebound from their woeful performance in Brisbane against Australia in the second match of the three test series that 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, Ireland play the second of two tests against Argentina looking to move to 2-0 in the post-Brian O’Driscoll era. Scotland continue their Americas tour as the travel to Toronto to take on Canada.

Toronto welcomes rugby again
Toronto welcomes rugby again

Here are the midweek results:
TUE – 10TH JUN 14
TOUR EP Kings 12 – 34 Wales

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 14TH JUN 14
TOUR Canada – Scotland
TOUR Samoa – Italy
M INT Argentina – Ireland
TOUR South Africa – Wales
TOUR New Zealand – England
TOUR Australia – France

Tier 2 Cups – As part of the IRB’s ongoing commitment to increase the competition schedule for Tier Two nations, We have a beavy of cup competitions featuring Tier 2 nations mixed in with a few experimental sides from Tier 1 nations.

Pacific Nations Cup – The Pacific Nations Cup is a tournament held between the six Pacific Rim nations of Fiji,Japan, Samoa, Tonga, Canada 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 Samoa and Canada involved in tour matches, as already mentioned, the scheduled PNC matches for this weekend feature Pacific Islands rivals Fiji and Tonga going at it and The  USA taking on a Japan, side that has won 8 in row. Check out another great match preview from our friend Ray’s Rugby.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 14TH JUN 14
PNC Fiji – Tonga
PNC USA – Japan

Nations Cup – The 9th annual IRB Nations Cup, for the eighth time in a row, it will be held in Bucharest, Romania. It will be played between 13 and 22 June and will run alongside the 2014 IRB Tbilisi Cup in Georgia. Romania are not only the hosts, as all fixtures will be played at the 5,000 capacity Stadionul National de Rugby, they are also the defending back to back cup champions having won the title in 2012 and 2013 home stadium for hosts . The other three teams in the cup are Uruguay, Emerging Ireland and ENC side Russia.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
FRI – 13TH JUN 14
NC Ireland – Russia
NC Romania – Uruguay

Tbilisi CupTblisi Cup – The 2014 IRB Tbilisi Cup will be the second edition of this new tournament. It will be played from 14 to 22 June 2014 at the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi. The hosts Georgia will be joined by Spain and two teams that regularly take part in the Nations Cup, Argentina Jaguars and Emerging Italy.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 14TH JUN 14

TC Emerging Italy – Argentine Jaguars
TC Georgia – Spain

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 third and final round of pool play occurred during the midweek  and set-up the matches for the knock-out stages. The midweek saw Ireland blank Fiji, Australia roll Italy, Wales snuff out France, England scrap by Argentina, South Africa outclass Samoa and New Zealand dominant Scotland.  . and they matches were a lot tighter than the first round.

Here are the midweek results:

TUE – 10TH JUN 14
JWC Ireland 38 – 0 Fiji
JWC Australia 29 – 3 Italy
JWC Wales 13 – 3 France
JWC England 17 – 16 Argentina
JWC Samoa 8 – 21 South Africa
JWC New Zealand 54 – 7 Scotland

The JWC trophy
The JWC trophy

The JWC has quaterfinals but to make sure each team has an opportunity to play more games and leave with a possible win and some positives there is a playoff for standings. In the 9th place semi-final, Argentina take on Fiji, and Italy face Scotland. In the 5th place semi-final, Australia face neighbors Samoa and Wales face familiar rivals France. In the main semi-finals for the JWC title, old foes South Africa and New Zealand square off (for the second time in this JWC as they were in the same pool) and even older foes England and Ireland go at it.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SUN – 15TH JUN 14
9th Place Semi Final
JWC  Argentina – Fiji
JWC  Italy – Scotland
5th Place Semi Final
JWC  Australia – Samoa
JWC  Wales – France
Semi Finals
JWC  England – Ireland
JWC  South Africa – New Zealand

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 Caribbean. NACRA has 2 zones with top level (championship) and a bottom level (cup). Each Championship zone has 3 teams while the Cup Zones have4 each. The Zones are regional divided so there is a North Zone and South Zone.  USA Rugby competes in the North Zone Championship division. The USA is represented by the USA South Regional all-star team, in order to develop talent and make the competition a much fairer one. This weekend features on one match as North Championship foes Cayman Islands, and USA South have a tussle.

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 14TH JUN 14
NACRA CH Cayman Islands – USA South

Africa Cup: The Africa Cup is an annual tournament of rugby that involves the best African national organized by the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). Given the difference in level with other national continental the South African national has so far participated in the national tournament with only minor (under 23 and amateurs), however, winning it three times. The Africa Cup 2014 was the fourteenth edition of the continental competition, there ar eup to 15 rugby countries from Africa . The National participants in the main division were divided into three groups of 14 merit ( 1A, 1B, and 1C ), with promotion and relegation. Tournaments Divisions 1A and 1B were valid for the qualification for the Rugby World Cup of 2015 . This year’s 1B tournament will be held in Tunis, Tunisia and started on Tuesday with host Tunisia edging Senegal, followed by Uganda falling short against Cote D’Ivoire. The losers will fight for third while the winners fight for first and promotion. Division 1C’s matches will be held between 14 and 21 June 2014, in Gaborone, Botswana. Morocco were initially supposed to play in Division 1C, but withdrew; they were replaced by South African club side, the 2014 SARU Community Cup champions Rustenburg Impala. The remaining 4 nations are Mauitius, Swaziland, Nigeria and Zambia.

Here are the midweek results:
TUE – 10TH JUN 14
AFRC Tunisia 22 – 14 Senegal
AFRC Uganda 19 – 22 Cote D’Ivoire

Here is this weekend’s schedule:
SAT – 14TH JUN 14
AFRC D1B 3rd Place Playoff Uganda – Senegal
AFRC D1B Final Tunisia – Ivory Coast
SUN – 15TH JUN 14
AFRC D1C Rustenburg Impala – Mauritius
AFRC D1C Botswana – Swaziland
AFRC D1C Nigeria – Zambia

Conversion Kick:

Josh McNally
Josh McNally

Signings/Player Moves: After announcing the signing of Olly Barkley on Monday, London Welsh added another 14 players over the course of the week. When you finally earn promotion and all the top choices have been signed, you are hurry to sign who is the next best available. Here is the list of hopeful has-beens, soon-to-be’s, never-will-be’s and journeyman that look to unite and forge a successful season in the Aviva Premiership for Welsh. Mission one is simply to avoid going back down. The players are broken out by position with secondary position, international representation and previous club in parenthesis:
LH – Ricky Reeves (Wasps), Shane Cahill (Cornish Pirates),  Jimmy Litchfield (Hartbury College)
H – Nathan Taylor (Hartbury College)
TH – Taione Vea (Tonga, Wasps), Jack Gilding (Viadana)
L – James Sandford (Ireland U-20, Cornish Pirates), Josh McNally (Henley Hawks)
F – Cameron Goodhue (Worcester Warriors)
8M – Jesse Liston (England Counties, Blackheath)
SH – Paul Rowley (Plymouth Albion)
FH – Tristan Roberts (FB, Bristol)
C – Nick Reynolds (Wales U-20, Scarlets)
FB – Chris Elder (England U-18, Plymouth Albion)

One odd side note is that McNally is a Royal Air Force Weapons Technician, Senior Aircraftman and Henley were a National League Two side ( England’s 4th division). However at 2.01m (6’7) and 122kg (269 lbs) he is still a big unit. He impressed London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell in a pre-season friendly after following up with McNally’s coach, and offer was made. and we wish him the best as he will be living the dream and playing pro rugby.

London Irish second row Bryn Evans has left the club to join Biarritz in the French Pro D2 league. Scrum-half Joel Hodgson is to leave Newcastle Falcons after signing terms with Aviva Premiership champions Northampton Saints.

Newport Gwent Dragons have announced the appointment of Kingsley Jones as head coach of the region. Dragons also announced the signing of former Wales loose forward Andy Powell who will return to the 15-man game next season after changing codes to play for the Wigan Warriors last year…Leinster scrum-half John Cooney and second-row Quinn Roux will further their careers on loan at Connacht next season…Treviso have added five players to their squad for next season, as Joe Carlisle (Utility back), Rupert Harden (TH), Mathew Luamanu (8Man), Leo Auva’a (8man) and Sam Christie (fly-half) arrive at Stadio di Monigo.

Montpellier have confirmed their eight signings ahead of the new Top 14 season, including the arrival of Blues lock Tom Donnelly. Ex-Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen from the Brumbies, French international wing Benjamin Fall  and backrower Antoine Battut join last season’s losing semi-finalists from Racing Metro. French international prop David Attoub arrives from Stade Français along with Toulouse‘s Fijian loose forward Akapusi Qera and Fijian Sevens sensation Samisoni Viriviri.  Promising Tarbes scrum-half Teddy Iribaren completes the list…Joining the aforementioned Bryn Evans at Biaritz will be Super Rugby Reds finisher Rod Davies… Currently going around the rumor mill is talk that former France loose forward Imanol Harinordoquy is leaving relegated Biarritz for Toulouse and cash-rich European and Top 14 holders Toulon are said to be lining up a move for prolific Wallaby sensation, Israel Folau.

Cam Dolan
Cam Dolan

New Zealand Rugby and the Highlanders have announced that Jamie Joseph has re-signed for an additional two years…Lions fly-half Elton Jantjies is heading out to Japan after the Super Rugby tournament and won’t be playing in the Currie Cup…Bulls fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgieter has signed an extension to his deal until 2016, the Pretoria-based team confirmed earlier this week.

USA Rugby News and Updates: No real news besides the game against Japan but there was some news courtesy of our friends at Thisisamericanrugby.com. According to TIAR, Cam Dolan has re-signed with Aviva Premiership Champions Northampton for 2 years and Tai Tuisamoa has signed with London Scottish of the Greene King IPA Championship. London Scottish ahve a good experience with USA players as LH Prop Eric Fry won League honors while playing for them last year (before being snapped up by Premiership side Newcastle) and utility back Toby L’Estrange had a strong season before succumbing to injury.

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.