NEW YORK, NY- The hot-dogs and hamburgers have been devoured and all the fireworks all detonated, as the July 4th holiday weekend in ‘Merica is now over. Finishing a leftover burger and fresh beer as I type, let’s look around the globe at what took place… There is the penultimate round of Super Rugby. The final matches of the Africa Cup – which are qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. We also have the latest transfer news/rumors and of course, USA Rugby updates. Plus, the Nick Cummins story. So without further adieu, we present the Weekend Rugby Recap:
The USA Women’s Eagles played the final match of their 3 match warm-up tour for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France in August. The Eagles had a big win, in harsh conditions against Wales, last weekend and then got hammered in the midweek by England. The Eagles pushed England really close and could have won it down the stretch but the lack of composure at the end was their undoing.
Here are the results:
SUN – 6TH JUL 14
TOUR England 17 – 13 USA
Super Rugby – The RWU Super Rugby Superman, Jamie Wall, is busy doing the math on playoff eligibility after the penultimate week of action. He pushed through the tears and has a review out. Please CLICK HERE.
Top 14 – The RWU Top 14 expert, James Harrington, has a superb piece looking at the newly released Top 14 season schedule. The longest season in pro rugby is ready to start-up again. And yes, it just ended. Please CLICK HERE.
Africa Cup: The Africa Cup 2014 will be the fourteenth edition of the continental tournament that involves the best African national teams, organized by the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). Given their superiority, the South African national team has rarely participated in the tournament and the 4 times the SARU has sent either a U-23 team or amateur side, they go on to win it. Beyond South Africa, there are up to 15 rugby countries in the Cup with the national participants in the main division, divided into three groups of 14 merit ( 1A, 1B, and 1C ), with promotion and relegation. Tournaments Divisions 1A and 1B’s games are often double as qualification games for the Rugby World Cup. This year the Division 1A Championship were held between 26th June and 6th July 2014, at the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The winner qualified for the 2015 Rugby World Cup as Africa 1 and the runner up goes qualify to the repechage… It was a day of redemption and regret in the Madagascar capital. Kenya , who were in the driver’s seat going into the day failed to win against Zimbabwe and also failed to get a bonus point in their loss. Zimbabwe’s victory was huge for them but they also failed to get the extra try that would have given them a bonus point. This meant that Namibia had a chance if they won by more than 53 points to qualify for RWC 2015. Perennial qualifiers for the RWC don’t need a second chance and Namibia made the most of it as they hammered the hosts by more than 70 points to punch their tickets. Zimbabwe’s win assured them an opportunity to qualify through the repechage, while Kenya will have to come to grips with what might have been and the opportunity they let slip through their grasps.
Signings/Player Moves: Ospreys full-back Ross Jones has signed a new 2-year contract…Edinburgh released an injury update on their Scotland international center Matt Scott. The update stated that he is expected to be available for selection by December.
The Super Rugby Bulls have confirmed that three core young players will remain with the franchise for the foreseeable future. Inside center Jan Serfontein signed until 2017, flyhalf and reigning World Junior Player of the Year Handrè Pollard similarly til 2017 and 23 year old prop Marcel van der Merwe will stay in Pretoria until 2016… Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham faces a SANZAR Judicial Hearing after picking up his third yellow card of the season against the Lions on Friday. As per SANZAR Rules:
A player who has received three yellow cards (whether on or off field, or any combination thereof) arising from matches in the same Super Rugby competition shall be required to appear before the Duty Judicial Officer appointed for the match during which he last offended.
The Western Force have granted their Wallabies wing Nick Cummins an early release from his contract to play in Japan at the end of the Super Rugby season. Cummins confirmed that he signed with the Coca Cola West Red Sparks for next season. By signing on to play in Japan, and according to current ARU player eligibility rules, Cummins will be ineligible for the 2015 World Cup. According to the Western Force, the decision has been made based on unique family circumstances. As we understand based on reports, Cummins is one of 8 children. Two of his siblings have cystic fibrosis and currently his father is the sole caretaker for the two. Unfortunately, his single-parent dad has been diagnosed with- and is now battling – prostate cancer. The man known as The Honey Badger, has put family above his career. if you cannot respect that then you may need to adjust your priorities.
USA Rugby News and Updates: USA Rugby Sevens announced that Chris Brown will serve as assistant coach of the Men’s Eagles Sevens at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Brown joins USA Rugby from his former role as assistant coach and head of performance of the Kenyan National Sevens program. Brown will be joining the program this week. Please CLICK HERE for a list of his qualifications and duties.
According to our friends over at This Is American Rugby, Mark Lawrenson of Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s acclaim and recent AIG Mens Colleigate All-American, has signed a contract to go play with Counties Manukau of New Zealand in this season’s ITM Cup. It appears that Lawrenson impressed All Black Legend and Counties coach Tana Umaga, who was a guest of Serevi Inc and was in attendance at the CRCs. It also appeared, according to sources, that Lawrenson was under the impression that he would have no way to become an Eagle anytime soon as he was a born and raised South African… Another American making a move is Brett Thompson of the USA 7s team. Thompson has signed a pro contract to play for Edinburgh of the Pro 12 starting this fall. This somewhat explains the surprise selection of Thompson on the wing for the USA v Canada game, as 1 international 15s cap is usually required before an American player can sign to play in Europe.
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!