NEW YORK, NY – The eyes of the world were on Europe this weeken with the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup the only big-time rugby action on the schedule. We will get to the on-field action in a bit, but first we must cover the Transfer Rumors, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news. With all that said, here’s your Global Rugby Recap:
We begin with the Aviva Premiership: London Irish have confirmed that fullback Tom Homer will leave the club at the end of this season… Former Wales international Gavin Henson will leave Bath and join Bristol at the end of the current season…Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond has said that star fly-half Danny Cipriani will not leave for France or London but will re-sign with the northern England side later this week.
In the Pro 12, Ulster have signed former Highlanders flanker, Tim Boys, as cover until the end of season…Wales tighthead prop Adam Jones has announced his retirement from international rugby after being overlooked by Wales coach Warren Gatland for the Six Nations squad.
In Super Rugby, Former Argentine Pumas hooker Mario Ledesma will join the Waratahs as a coach-observer this season, Waratahs’ head coach Michael Cheika has confirmed. Waratahs’ fly-half Bernard Foley may join the great post-Rugby World Cup exodus. He said that he is “definitely interested” in offers from overseas … The Lions have announced the re-signing of five players. They include Springbok-capped flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff, prop Julian Redelinghuys, and eightman Warren Whiteley. The remaining two are flanker Jaco Kriel and prop Ruan Dreyer.
USA Rugby News and Updates: USA Rugby announced Kathy Flores, Jeramy Katchuba, Stephen Lewis, and Tim O’Brien were each recognized by USA Rugby Coach Development Director Josh Sutcliffe at the National Development Summit in Chicago this weekend. Lewis was named 2014 Senior Club Coach of the Year, Katchuba was honored with the Participation Coach of the Year award, O’Brien picked up the gong for Competitive Coach of the Year, and Flores was Female Coach of the Year.
World Rugby News: The line-up for the 2015 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens has been announced. The tournament will have 28 men’s teams – 16 in the main competition and 12 in the Sevens World Series qualifier.
As for the weekend’s fixtures:
European Champions Cup: The sixth and final round of pool play in the inaugural European (Rugby) Champions Cup is over. Now it’s on to the quarter-finals where it is win or bust. Our East Midlands man, Nick Hall, has all the weekend’s action covered. Please look out for his review later this week.
European Challenge Cup: The European Challenge Cup also is in its inaugural year and completed its final round of pool play. Contrary to previous reports, including ours, the top three sides that fail to qualify for the Champions Cup quarter-finals WILL NOT to be put into the Challenge Cup quarter-finals, unlike the previous iteration of the Challenge Cup, the Amlin.
As for the matches going on this weekend:
On Thursday night, Gloucester secured the #1 spot by dispatching Brive, while Oyonnax made light work of Zebre. Friday saw Edinburgh defeat Bordeaux-Begles, Cardiff thump Grenoble and London Irish easily dispatch Italian side Rovigo. Romanian side Bucharest upset a second-string Newcastle, while Stade Francais crushed Newport. Exeter destroyed Bayonne, and Connacht fought off a tough challenge from La Rochelle. London Welsh came tantalizingly close to their first win in all competitions – but fell just short to Lyon.
Here are the results:
Thu – 23rd Jan 15
Oyonnax 20 – 3 Zebre
Brive 20 – 31 Gloucester
Fri – 24th Jan 15
Edinburgh 38 – 20 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 6 – 34 Cardiff Blues
Rovigo 3 – 28 London Irish
Romania Bucuresti 30 – 19 Newcastle
Newport Gwent Dragons 10 – 52 Stade Francais
Exeter 45 – 3 Bayonne
La Rochelle 20 – 30 Connacht
Sat – 25th Jan 15
London Welsh 12 – 17 Lyon
So the quarterfinals will be:
Sat – 04th Apr 15
Exeter – Newcastle
Newport Gwent Dragons – Cardiff Blues
Gloucester – Connacht
London Irish – Edinburgh
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.