NEW YORK, NY – This is the weekend that most people in Europe have been thinking about since the calendar turned 2015 years young. There will be the 6 Nations, the Women’s 6 Nations, the U-20 6 Nations and 6 Nations “B” (European Nations Cup) this weekend. In addition to that there is also the World Sevens Series tournaments on different parts of the globe for Men and Women, in Wellington, NZ and Sao Paulo, Brazil, respectively. Before we get to that we have to deal with Transfer Rumors, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news. That is enough small talk, the Weekend Rugby Preview:
Wellington 7s: The 4th leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series is underway and Team USA is off to a good start, losing only to South Africa, 26-14. This was after a desperate Blitz Bokke squad lost to France, whom the Eagles then crushed. USA, New Zealand, Fiji and Kenya all topped their pools and it’s only the 2nd time the Americans have won a pool. The matches are being played, of course, in the spiritual home of rugby, New Zealand. The capital city of Wellington is rugby-mad and the tourney sells out in minutes. You can get our team USA analysis and tournament predictions by clicking here.
Sao Paulo 7s: The women will begin the second leg of their Sevens World Series this weekend, also. Their leg will be held in Brazil’s beautiful second city of Sao Paulo. Once again for our Team USA analysis and tournament predictions by clicking here.
We begin with the Top 14, where it has been confirmed that the New Zealand All Blacks most-capped center and Super Rugby Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith has confirmed he is leaving New Zealand rugby at the end of the 2015 Super Rugby and Rugby World Cup (RWC) season to play in France. His destination in France has yet to be confirmed… According to the Associated French Press (AFP) Montpellier’ s Fijian wing Timoci Nagusa, has signed a contract extension at the club until 2018… Reports out of France say Australia scrum-half Will Genia will join Stade Français after the World Cup… Brive have signed Georgian international prop Giorgi Jgenti as a medical joker from Bayonne.
In the Aviva Premiership, London Irish are interested in signing Super Rugby Chiefs second row Matt Symons for next season, according to current Irish head coach Declan Danaher. The Exiles did confirm that back-row, Joe Trayfoot will join the club at the end of the season from Harlequins… Northampton Saints center Dom Waldouck has confirmed that he will leave the club at the end of the season when his contract expires. In the meantime, the Saints have announced that Samoa international full-back Ahsee Tuala has joined the club until the end of the season, most likely as a replacement for the injured Ben Foden... Newcastle have announced that prodigal son Micky Young will rejoin the the club for the 2015/2016, after stints with Leicester and Bath. The Falcons also announced the signing of a contract extension by center Chris Harris for two years… Sale Sharks have confirmed the re-signing of wing Tom Arscott on a new two-year contract.
In the Pro 12, Scarlets attack coach Mark Jones has resigned from his position at the region with immediate effect “in order to pursue other career opportunities” he stated.
In Super Rugby, the Melbourne Rebels have completed their squad for the 2015 Super Rugby season, after signing Japanese international prop Keita Inagaki.
USA Rugby News and Updates: As per the British newspaper, The Guardian:
“The British & Irish Lions are considering a warm-up match in the United States en route to touring New Zealand in 2017. John Feehan, the Lions’ chief executive, insists no firm decision has yet been taken but confirmed the US had tendered to stage a fixture. “If we have an extra game they’d certainly be one of the better bets,” he told the Guardian.”
Lions versus Barbarians in the USA would be a much more fun game than USA v Lions but who knows as it is all talk right now…The New York Rugby Club (NYRC) is the home club at some point of such rugby legends as JWB, Yeats and yours truly. NYRC is currently looking to hire a D3 Men’s coach to start in Spring ’15. If you or anyone you know is interested in the position, see here!
World Rugby News: It has been confirmed that Western Province lock Gerbrandt Grobler tested positive for a banned substance during the 2014 Currie Cup. Grobler has recieved a two year ban from all rugby as a result.
As for the weekend’s fixtures:
RBS 6 Nations: It is time for one of the biggest tournament European rugby. Only this year’s World Cup stops it from being the biggest of the year. We will not abandon our loyal followers at a time like this. Our European Rugby expert previews the action this weekend. Please click here.
RBS Womens 6 Nations: The lovely ladies of RWU have made it a goal to provide more women’s coverage here. To that end, the one and only Scheenagh has her preview of the women’s matches this weekend, check it out by clicking here.
RBS U-20 6 Nations: In addition to the men and women facing off, European rugby’s future starts have their own tournament as the U20s for each 6 nations country face off. Italy will face Ireland on Friday, while England faces Wales and France take on Scotland on Saturday.
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 6th Feb 2015
Italy U20S – Ireland U20S
Sat – 7th Feb 2015
Wales U20S – England U20S
France U20S – Scotland U20S
European Nations Cup: The ENC will probably never shake the moniker of the 6 Nations “B.” It is the battle between the top second-tier nations of Europe. One day promotion/relegation will occur between the two tiers but not anytime soon. Anyway, this weekend will see Portugal take on co-favorites Romania in Romania, Spain will host Russia, while new kids on the block Germany travel to co-favorites Georgia – and a likely slaughter.
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 7th Feb 2015
Portugal – Romania
Spain – Russia
Germany – Georgia
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.