Weekend Rugby Preview: #USAvAllBlacks, Autumn Internationals, Pro 12, NRC and more

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Screen shot 2014-10-26 at 11.22.03 AMNEW YORK, NY – The game of rugby is ever changing. It requires quick thinking and adapting to what is happening in front of you. In that same vein we have decided to tweak the Preview. We will “kick to lead and run to win” as the saying goes. So we will no start the previews and recaps with our penalty kick section, the section that often covers all Player Transactions , USA Rugby News and IRB News. After filling you with the choice bits of news and notes we will then begin the rundown of the constantly crowded fixture list. This week we have the unofficial start of the Autumn internationals with 3 matches and the brief return of domestic action in Europe’s 3 premier leagues.  We also have the final of the inaugural Australia’s National Rugby Championship and European Nations Cup action for Women and Men,  plus Tier 3 action. Time for the newly revamped Weekend Rugby Preview:

Penalty Kick:
Transactions: Leicester Tigers added center Jack Roberts to their squad from Rotherham Titans. Considering the current Tigers injury crisis, it is not a surprise.  Roberts, will arrive to meet a new Tigers backs coach as former Ireland international fly-half Paul Burke departed the club earlier this week…Harlequins announced that Sale fly-half Tim Swiel will join them on loan until February 2015, as cover for the injured Ben Botica.

The Ospreys announced that Wales front-row forward Paul James will head back to his home region after he finishes his 3 year stint with Bath at the end of this season … Also returning, in a shock move no less, will be Wales flanker Dan Lydiate who has come to a mutual parting of ways with the Top 14 side Racing Métro following the November Tests, according to the club…Ulster announced that Bryn Cunningham has been appointed as the province’s new Team Manager.

Toulon's Drew Mitchell, who has signed a new contract with the Top 14 champions
Toulon’s Drew Mitchell, who has signed a new contract with the Top 14 champions

As reported by our Ligue Nationale de Rugby expert James Harrington, Toulon winger Drew Mitchell  has signed a contract extension with the club until at least 2017. Mitchell will be joined in the backline by  Montpellier scrum-half Jonathan Pélissié who in a major coup for the European champions, signed on a two-year deal… Stade Français have signed Argentine prop Santiago Garcia Botta as medical cover for the injured Heinke van der Merwe… Former All blacks wing Joe Rokocoko  extended his contract with Bayonne by three seasons.

The Crusaders confirmed the return and signing of Robbie Fruean for the upcoming Super Rugby season…Prop Pek Cowan has re-signed with his Super Rugby franchise The ForceBrumbies and Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore signed a contract extension through 2016 …The Highlanders have named former London Irish and New Zealand prop Clarke Dermody as their new full-time scrum and assistant forwards coach...Western Province, Stormers and Springboks hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has been forced to retire due to injury.

USA Rugby News and Updates: There is very little news not related to the #USAvAllBlacks match. The main bits of news comes courtesy of our friend, Alex Goff. The NBC Universal RWC TV coverage schedule was finally made public. It was announced on Thursday and the schedule is as follows

2015 Rugby World Cup games on LIVE TV:
Sept. 18 2015 Opening Ceremonies and England v Fiji Universal Sports
Sept. 20 USA v Samoa Universal Sports
Sept. 27 USA v Scotland Universal Sports
Oct 7 USA v South Africa Universal Sports
Oct 11 USA v Japan Universal Sports
Oct 24 Semifinal NBC
Oct 25 Semifinal Universal Sports
Oct 30 Bronze Medal Match Universal Sports
Oct 31 Rugby World Cup Final NBC

In other news USA Rugby is expected to announce on Friday(later today) a new business initiative. What that announcement is we don’t know. However the timing of the announcement in conjunction with the partnership with IMG means it is will likely be business related. It will be interesting to watch as USA Rugby and IMG may clash with United World Sports or they may join forces to help grow the game. However, it is too early to confirm what the announcement will be and its effects.

IRB News: The IRB announced Land Rover as the official vehicle provider for the World Rugby Conference and Exhibition 2014 (ConfEx) taking place at Hilton London Metropole on November 17-18.

Rugby World Cup Limited has announced the appointment of EY (formerly Ernest & Young) as the official business advisor of Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.


Ladies First:
Women’s European Nations Cup: The women’s European Nations Cup is similar to the men’s. It consists of 2 divisions, featuring 19 teams. The matches determine who will get promoted and relegated. The midweek match-ups saw The Netherlands blank Switzerland and Russia lose to tournament hosts Belgium. The weekend will see Netherlands face Belgium for the title while Russia challenges Switzerland for third place.

Here is the Midweek schedule:
Thu – 30th Oct 14
WENC Netherlands 39-0 Switzerland
WENC Russia 7-29 Belgium

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sun – 2nd Nov 14
WENC Russia – Switzerland
WENC Netherlands – Belgium

Barbarian fc
Barbarian FC

Autumn Internationals: The Autumn Internationals that fall outside the IRB international window are developing a stigma of cramming the international schedule to grab more money from fans. This might be true but sometimes you end up with something wonderful and this weekend is the case. The Maori All Blacks will travel to Japan to face a very stern test from an in-form Japan team. The Barbarians welcome an out of sorts Australia who just got a new coach a week ago. Expect a tight contest in that one. Finally, the much talked about USA v All Blacks game in Chicago which we have covered in detail and continue to cover. Our match-up preview is here and the search to answer the question what is an All Black?, here. Canada will travel to England to warm up their tour against an all-star side made up of English players from the Green King IPA Championship, the division just below the Aviva Premiership. If you think it is an easy match then you have not paid attention to our transactions section and the number of players that were plying their trade in the Championship before they were snatched up by Aviva sides.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 1st Nov 14
TOUR  Japan – Maori All Blacks
TOUR  Barbarians – Australia
TOUR  USA – New Zealand
Sun – 2nd Nov 14
TOUR RFU Champ XV – Canada

Top 14: Our Ligue Nationale de Rugby expert James Harrington would like all of us to know that there is big-time rugby occurring outside of Chicago this weekend. Apparently the country where 2 of the US players ply their trade, has a top league with some big matches of its own. There are also some mouthwatering clashes occurring before the international break begins. Mssr. Harrington‘s preview can be found if you click here.

Elliot Daly
Elliot Daly

LV=Cup:With the rugby calendar so full, the LV= Cup has developed into one of the premier developmental tournaments for young players in Wales and England. It has the 12 Aviva premiership teams along with the 4 Welsh regions battle it out to find a champion. The main thing it does is it lets starts of tomorrow showcase their abilities. Courtney Lawes and Dan Biggar are a couple of the internationals that have used this tournament as a stepping stone, you will be adding Elliot Daly of Wasps to that list. Round one will see all the English sides face each other. Sale host Wasps, Exeter welcome Gloucester and Bath will receive London Welsh. London Irish face Leicester, Newcastle travel down to Northampton and Saracens travel crosstown to Harlequins.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 1st Nov 14
LV= Cup Sale Sharks – Wasps
LV= Cup Exeter – Gloucester
LV= Cup Bath – London Welsh
LV= Cup London Irish – Leicester
LV= Cup Northampton – Newcastle
Sun – 2nd Nov 14
LV= Cup Saracens – Harlequins

Guinness Pro12: The 2014/2015 Pro12  still has games because the Welsh contingent haven’t begun playing their matches in the LV= Cup.  Glasgow welcome Treviso, while Leinster do the same for Edinburgh. Connacht travel to Neath-Swansea to face the Ospreys. Cardiff will host Munster while Scarlets getting pleasure of Zebre‘s company and finally Ulster will get a visit from Newport-Gwent.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 31st Oct 14
Glasgow – Benetton Treviso
Leinster – Edinburgh
Ospreys – Connacht
Sat – 1st Nov 14
Cardiff Blues – Munster
Scarlets – Zebre
Ulster – Newport Gwent Dragons

NRC Captians with the Trophy
NRC Captains with the Trophy

Australia NRC: The inaugural National Rugby Championship is coming to an end. Well the 2014 season is anyway. It will be a one-game season as Brisbane City (the RWU staff fav)will face the Perth Spirit in Brisbane for the title.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 1 st Nov 14
Brisbane City- Perth Spirit

Tier 3 In Tier 3, we had a midweek exhibition match between Thailand and Malaysia, which Malaysia won to even up the two game series.There was also a midweek tour match that saw Namibia run-over Germany 58-20.

The men’s European Nations Cup consists of 7 divisions, each with 4-6 teams. The matches determine who will get promoted and relegated form groups 1A, 1B, 2A – 2Dd and 3A. Saturday’s fixture list sees Bulgaria host Turkey.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Tue – 28 OCT 14
M INT  Thailand 12 – 29 Malaysia
Wed – 29 OCT 14
TOUR  Namibia 58 – 20 Germany
Sat – 1 st Nov 14
ENC Bulgaria – Turkey

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 as always, 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.