NEW YORK, NY – Happy New Year to our readers around the world – and welcome to the first Friday of 2015. Hope everyone brought in the year surrounded by family and friends. But enough with the fluff, as they say; let’s get to all the juicy Transfer Rumors, Player Transactions, USA Rugby & World Rugby news and look at the weekend fixtures in the three premier leagues in Europe in the first Weekend Rugby Preview of 2015:
Transactions: January 1 marks the date in the calendar when clubs can officially begin pursuing players currently under contract with other clubs. This leads to what is known as silly season, since it appears every big-name player is leaving one big-name club for another big-name club.
We begin with the rumor mill of the Top 14… According to French sports newspaper, Midi Olympique, South Africa and Cheetahs full-back Willie le Roux is a wanted man with his contract set to expire at the end of next season. Le Roux is expected to move away from South Africa after the next Rugby World Cup, with Toulouse and Saracens leading the way for his signature. Our Top 14 expert will follow up on these rumors.
USA Rugby News and Updates: The USA Rugby Boys High School All-Americans (BHSAAs) 2014 Winter Camp took place this week, with 130 players assembling in Casa Grande, Ariz. The camp was led by BHSAA head coach Salty Thompson and ran from December 26-31 at the Casa Grande Sports Academy.
World Rugby News: Toulon back Delon Armitage has lodged an appeal against the 12-week suspension imposed on him for abusive language towards Leicester fans by an independent Disciplinary Committee as a result of a misconduct complaint following a European Champions Cup game.
In our most recent Global Rugby Recap, we discussed the expected knighting of Jonny Wilkinson. Apparently, we were wrong, and so were all those who tweeted congratulations ahead of time. Wilkinson even tweeted thank you to his fans in expectation. Instead, England Women’s team members Sarah Hunter and Rochelle Clark were honored with OBEs, of which Wikinson already has. Go figure.
WEEKEND FIXTURE LIST:
Top 14: In the transactions section, we mentioned our Ligue Nationale de Rugby expert . He is on top of all the on- and off-field events. He has once again reached the high standard he set for himself with another fantastic preview. He covers the unique coaching situation and mess in Montpelier and the fixture list, click here to give it a gander.
Aviva Premiership: Believe it or not, this weekend marks the start of the second half of the AP season. Three teams have made themselves clear favorites for the playoffs. The battle for the fourth spot, however, is a lot messier and more convoluted. Our East Midlands man, , has put together a great preview of the round. Please click here to read it.
Guinness Pro 12: In the Pro 12, it’s a derby round, as each match will feature inter-county rivals fighting for bragging rights. New Year’s Day is as important as Boxing Day and fans in Wales and Ireland were asked to shake off their hangovers and head to the stadiums on New Year’s Day, which saw Dragons lose to Cardiff in a turgid affair. The winner of this one can be described as the one that “only marginally blew fewer opportunities than their opposition.” Meanwhile, the mighty men of Munster lost to the upstarts from Connacht, as the west country boys romped home, led by a 3 to 1 try count.
As for the weekend’s other fixtures… It is the return leg of the Boxing Day fixtures. Friday will see the second match in the 1872 Cup and is played between Glasgow and Edinburgh, as the two cities have been rugby rivals that long.
Saturday, Ospreys will take on their long time rivals Scarlets, while across the Irish Sea Leinster will welcome the boys from the north of the Emerald Isle when they take on Ulster… Saturday will also see the second match of the Italy derby, when Italian sides Zebre and Treviso clash.
Here are the results:
Thu – 01st Jan 15
Newport Gwent Dragons 9 – 11 Cardiff Blues
Connacht 24 – 16 Munster
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri- 02nd Jan 15
Edinburgh – Glasgow Warriors
Sat – 03rd Jan 15
Benetton Treviso – Zebre
Leinster – Ulster
Scarlets – Ospreys
Enjoy this brief video of Wilkinson doing a team speech in both English and French
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.