Weekend Rugby Preview: IRB and USA Rugby News, Player Transactions, Pro Leauge Updates, Tier 3 Action

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The Top14's Fabien Galthie;  Montpellier Coach looking well rested
#Top14’s Fabien Galthie; Montpellier Coach looking well-rested

NEW YORK, NY –  The Rugby calendar does what it pleases and cuts no writer any slack. That tidbit is important to remember as we stare down the barrel of an absolutely jam-packed rugby weekend. This weekend sees the final round of The Rugby Championship and domestic action in the three SANZAR nations and European domestic action from its three leagues. We also have some Tier 3  action, plus all the international happenings, transactions and USA Rugby News to cover.  Here’s your Weekend Rugby Preview:

The Rugby Championship: The TRC is decided already with The All Blacks taking it again. However, there are always fireworks when the All Blacks and Springboks meet… Meanwhile in Argentina, Los Pumas will try and notch their first-ever TRC win against the Wallabies. Check out what our TRC expert Jamie Wall has to say.

Top 14: Life is not easy as a #Top14 coach. The pressure to win, the injuries, and a national team coach interfering with your work on your team. It is no wonder Top14 coaches sleep like babies (sleep then wake up and cry every few hours).  Our Ligue Nationale de Rugby expert James Harrington documents their troubles, the weekend’s action and more in his preview, please click here to read it.

Aviva Premiership: This weekend appears to be just like the previous ones: There is one highly-anticipated match and a few really intriguing ones. The problem so for this season is that the results have not gone to script. Our East Midlands Man Nick Hall has a recap of the most recent round already posted, please click here. Mr. Hall will be back to recap this weekend’s round next week.
As for the matches going on this weekend:
In the big one: Saracens travel to Bath for a top of the table clash… London Irish welcome the defending champion Northampton Saints, while Harlequins hope the weak London Welsh defense will be the cure to their ailing attack… Gloucester face wounded Tigers coming of consecutive losses… Sale welcome Wasps go at in a very even encounter and a surging Exeter travel to Newcastle.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 3rd Oct 14
Bath – Saracens
Sat – 4th Oct 14
London Irish – Northampton
Harlequins – London Welsh
Gloucester – Leicester
Sun – 5th Oct 14
Sale Sharks – Wasps
Newcastle – Exeter

Guinness Pro12Guinness Pro12: The 2014/2015 Pro12 hopes to put to bed the accusations that is not as intense or competitive a league as the other two. As this topsy-turvy season rolls on be prepared for some striking results. Ulster welcome Edinburgh to Ravenhill, Cardiff travel to Ireland‘s west country to face Connacht and Zebre look to win back-to-back games when they face the Neath-Swansea OspreysLeinster face Munster in the O’Classico, which is the only Saturday match, highlighting its importance. Treviso welcome Glasgow and in all-Welsh derby Scarlets host Newport-Gwent.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 3rd Oct 14
Ulster – Edinburgh
Connacht – Cardiff Blues
Zebre – Ospreys
Sat – 4th Oct 14
Leinster – Munster
Sun – 5th Oct 14
Benetton Treviso – Glasgow
Scarlets – Newport Gwent Dragons

Currie Cup: The 2014 Currie Cup is entering week 2 of  its cross-over pool stage. This year’s version has two pools completed; the home and away version of intra-pool play. Now it’s time for one-offs against the teams in the opposite pool… On Friday, we will see the imploding Sharks face the in-form Lions and the Pumas are at home against the Blue Bulls… On Saturday, Western Province – the team to beat – head to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs, while not too far from Bloem-town, Eastern Province will be against the Griquas in Griquaville.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 3rd Oct 14
Sharks – Lions
Pumas – Blue Bulls
Sat – 4th Oct 14
Cheetahs – Western Province
Griquas – Eastern Province Kings

The Shield still belongs to the Magpies
Runfurly still belongs to Magpies

ITM Cup: The 2014 ITM Cup is making a bit of noise in the “expect the unexpected” area. On Wednesday, Hawkes Bay retained the Ranfurly Shield – and with it kept Wellington winless… On Thursday, as a former power crumbles, another has found its feet – as displayed by Auckland‘s demolition of Waikato.

As for the rest of the weekend’s action:
There will be a border war when Northland face North Harbour, Southland will see if Counties Manukau can handle the Southland chilliness… Bay of Plenty will welcome Otago while pleasant friends in Tasman and Canterbury take on each other… Finally Hawkes Bay will go on the road and not feature in a Shield match.

Here are the results:
Wed – 1st Oct 14
Hawkes Bay 36 – 14 Wellington
Thu – 2nd Oct 14
Auckland 60 – 19 Waikato

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 3rd Oct 14
Northland – North Harbour
Sat – 4th Oct 14
Southland – Counties Manukau
Bay Of Plenty – Otago
Canterbury – Tasman
Sun – 5th Oct 14
Manawatu – Hawkes Bay

Australia NRC: The inaugural National Rugby Championship is starting to get real tight and that just means that the game swill start to be down to you and got the foul.. In the Thursday night game, the University of Canberra Vikings fought an inspired match against North Harbour which ended a drawm

As for the matches going on this weekend:
The Greater Sydney Rams will hopefully be prepared for the thrill-a-minute machine that is Brisbane CityPerth welcome Queensland Country and NSW Country travel to the big city of Sydney to face the Sydney Stars.

Here are the results:
Thu – 2nd Oct 14
UC Vikings 21 – 21 North Harbour Rays
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 3rd Oct 14
Greater Sydney Rams – Brisbane City
Sat – 4th Oct 14
Perth Spirit – Queensland Country
Fri – 6th Oct 14
Sydney Stars – NSW Country Eagles

Tier 3 Tier 3 play heats-up this weekend. We 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 – 2Dd and 3A. Saturday’s fixture list sees Estonia host Belarus in a class that is expected to be forward friendly to say the least.

The SAMC is the same as the ENC – except it’s South America, a minor detail – and that has 4 divisions featuring 15 teams. The C division plays this weekend, as four teams battle it out for the title and promotion… Guatemala will face El Salvador and Panama will take on Costa Rica.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
SAT– 4th OCT 14
ENC Estonia – Belarus
SUN– 5th OCT 14
SAMC C  Guatemala  –  El Salvador
SAMC C Panama  –  Costa Rica

Jeff Hassler
Jeff Hassler

Penalty Kick:
Transactions: London Irish have re-signed 21-year-old hooker Gerard Ellis on a new two-year deal, which will see him play for the Exiles until at least 2017.

Cardiff Blues announced the signing of experienced Argentine Test winger Lucas González Amorosino on a deal until the end of the season. Amorosino will join the region as soon as the TRC is over… In great news for Rugby Canada fans, Canadian and Ospreys wing Jeff Hassler signed a new three-year deal with the Welsh region keeping him there until at least the end of the 2016/17 season.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced the extension of the contract of Johan Ackermann as the head coach of both the Super Rugby team and the Currie Cup side until 31 October 2016…In a shocking move, The Sharks’ director of rugby, Jake White, will step down from his role after just one season in charge of the Durban-based franchise. The odds-on favorite to replace White is Former Golden Lions and New Zealand coach John Mitchell… In good news for the Sharks, fly-half Pat Lambie has re-signed with the club for the next three years… The man known as the Honey badger, Nick Cummins, could make a return to Australian rugby with the Western Force. Cummins took an offer to play in Japan do pressing family issues (two of his siblings suffering from cystic fibrosis and his father Mark having being diagnosed with cancer). However, it appears a loan deal maybe worked out to allow him to return to Super Rugby during the Japanese off-season.

USA Rugby News and Updates: In devastating news (though a fitting segue) for the USA Eagles hopes against the All Blacks and the RWC2015, 26 year old TH prop and stalwart Shawn Pittman has been forced to retire because of concussion issues. Bad news for the Eagles but glad to hear Shawn has chosen to focus on his future. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

In other sad news for an Eagles World Cup veteran Jillion Potter is battling cancer as she was recently diagnosed with Stage III Synovial Sarcoma and needs your supportThe USA Rugby Trust has set up a donation page for the costs of Potter’s treatments not covered by her insurance, including deductible and co-pays, travel expenses, treatment and incidentals, and nutrition counseling. Any and all donations are welcomed and accepted. Funds raised exceeding the $16,400 goal will be donated to The Sarcoma Foundation of America.

Our thoughts are with Jillion and Shawn.

IRB News: The IRB announced a record investment program for 2014. It is the second year of its current 4-year (2013-16) funding cycle, despite recording a planned operating loss in 2013. The organization soon to change its name to “World Rugby” provides a better explanation here.

At this year’s Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, the men of Japan won 24-12 over Hong Kong and the Chinese women won 14-12 over Japan to in the gold medal matches in the Rugby Sevens competitions.

New Zealand  Australia, Fiji and Samoa will all compete in the first-ever Oceania Sevens Championship, which kicks off on Friday in Noosa – on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast – and forms part of the popular Noosa International Sevens, to warm up for the Gold Coast 7s and the start of the IRB 7s world series.

Rugby Stars from all over the globe have joined forces to support the IRB’s Recognise and Remove campaign against concussions and players playing through a concussion. The video is below:

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.