NEW YORK, NY – They say you should spend Valentine’s Day with the one you love. Let the RWU’s staff’s love of rugby never be questioned. Our love means our staff will cover all the rugby going on this weekend that impacts 21 countries. Those countries have teams involved in either the 6 Nations, Women’s 6 Nations, U-20 6 Nations and 6 Nations “B” aka European Nations Cup. That is just 12 and there are more nations involved in the Las Vegas 7s and Super Rugby. If that is not enough we also cover Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro 12, two of Europe‘s three top leagues. Before we get to most of that, we still have to cover Transfer Rumors, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news. So with love, we give you the Weekend Rugby Preview:
Las Vegas 7s: The fifth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series will see it land in America. The Las Vegas 7s will be the midway point in the series. To cover this big event we have dispatched our dynamic duo of Matt McCarthy and Johnathan Wicklow Barberie to cover it. We also have our Team USA analysis and tournament preview. You can read by clicking here.
We begin with the Top 14, with news that Oyonnax have acquired the signature of Aviva Premiership side Harlequins second row George Robson for the start of the 2015/2016 season… In the rumor mill, the agent for former All Black and London Welsh scrum-half Piri Weepu, Bruce Sharrock, has crafted a response to reports in the French media that Weepu would quit the Exiles soon to join Top 14 club La Rochelle. He says Weepu won’t leave the club immediately, but he could be on his way to France at season’s end.
Enough of the French rugby hors-d’oeuvres, time for the entrée. Because of the convoluted nature of the French employment laws, sacking a coach is not as easy as it is in England or America. This is why Fabien Galthié is set to take Montpellier president Mohed Altrad to an employment tribunal over his suspension as director of rugby. For those unaware, Galthié was temporarily suspended in December, with Jake White brought in as a consultant to effectively replace him after a run of eight losses in nine games. Get your popcorn ready, it will be fun viewing and we can promise that will keep you posted.
In the Aviva Premiership, Leicester have confirmed the signing of three forwards for the 2015/16 season. The signings are Opeti Fonua from London Welsh, Brendon O’Connor from the Super Rugby Blues and Mike Williams from Worcester Warriors…Worcester Warriors did have a bit of good news in that Northampton Saints back-row Phil Dowson will join them at the end of the season… Another person leaving Northampton is England Saxons center Dominic Waldouck, who this week announced he will be leaving Saints for London Irish…Center James Downey has joined Wasps on loan from Glasgow Warriors for the remainder of the season, as cover for the injured Chris Bell and Alapati Leiua… Bath have announced that backrowers Alafoti Faosiliva and David Sisi have both renewed their contracts with the club…. In other shock for Bath it was announced that two moves that were expected to occur at season end will go into effect immediately. Gavin Henson will join Bristol and London Irish full-back Tom Homer has worked out agreement for immediate release from the club and is heading to the Rec, hence Henson being allowed to leave for Bristol.
In the Guinness Pro12, the rumor mill is in overdrive as, according to reports in the Irish Independent, provincial giants Munster are hoping to sign Argentina captain Agustín Creevy and Super Rugby Blues back Francis Saili ahead of next season. Creevy is being considered as fears grow for the playing future of Damian Varley as he continues to struggle with a foot injury that has restricted him to just one outing this season… Cardiff Blues lock/back-row Macauley Cook has signed a long-term contract extension, it was confirmed earlier this week… Connacht have reached an agreement to allow flanker Willie Faloon to return to his native province of Ulster for the 2015/16 season on a one year contract.
USA Rugby News and Updates: In conjunction with the Las Vegas (USA) 7s will be Las Vegas this week for the sixth annual USA Rugby Sports Medicine Symposium at the Monte Carlo… The USA Falcons 7s side, the Eagles 7s second team, squad for the Las Vegas International has been announced, click here.
World Rugby News: In the wake of the George North concussion debate, World Rugby reminded all fans of the success of their concussion awareness program #Recognizeandremove via a press release. Click here to read it. World Rugby announced a partnership with leading fashion brand Eden Park which will see them supply tailored formal-wear for the international federation. Please click here for the press release.
As for the weekend’s fixtures:
Super Rugby: Since the end of the fall tours, our resident Kiwi and Super Rugby Expert Jamie Wall has tried to care about northern hemisphere rugby. However, his excitement was as fake as that of a wife who gets a washer and dryer for a Valentine’s Day gift. He makes no apologies for his joy about the start of the Super Rugby season and his annoyance at people complaining it is starting to soon. He previews the entire season and the round one match-ups that saw the Crusaders lose to the Rebels and the Brumbies thump the Reds. For his full report, click here.
RBS 6 Nations: Loads of European wives and girlfriends will be treated to Six Nations matches filled with anything but love. Our European Rugby expert tells us that there is no love lost this weekend in his preview, click here to read it as it also features the Six-pack’s picks.
RBS Women’s 6 Nations: JWB and Matt McCarthy may claim to be RWU’s dynamic duo but the lovely Scheenagh is proving that she and James are a powerhouse partnership of their own. Scheens, as we call her, has been scouring the internet all week, trying to find enough information about the women’s 6N to file a preview. Check it out by clicking here.
RBS U-20 6 Nations: The starlets of European rugby will also take the stage this weekend as the U20s for each Six Nations country faced off. Like the big boys, Scotland will face Wales, Ireland welcome France and Italy will travel to Ireland.
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 13th Feb 2015
Scotland U20S – Wales U20S
Ireland U20S – France U20S
England U20S – Italy U20S
European Nations Cup: Unlike Round 1 of the ENC, or the 6 Nations “B” if you like, this weekend will be see a lot of one-sided matches. The ENC is the premier tournament for the second-tier nations of Europe but unfortunately there is still a gulf in class and it will be shown when co-favorites Georgia and Romania host Portugal and Spain, respectively. The only hope for a tight match will be when Germany meet Russia. It should be an easy win for the Russians – but their form has left doubts.
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 14th Feb 2015
Germany – Russia
Romania – Spain
Georgia – Portugal
Aviva Premiership: Instead of having a round of play last weekend when it didn’t collide with Valentine’s Day and England played on a Friday, the powers that be at the Premiership decided it was a better idea to compete with the double-whammy of Valentine’s Day and a Six Nations match at Twickenham. Unfazed by it all, our Midlands rugby man, Nick Hall has a full report, which you can read by clicking here.
Guinness Pro 12: Similar to their English counterparts the Pro12 decided to have a full round of games. They kept most of the matches scheduled on Friday and Sunday. Friday will Ulster welcome Treviso and Edinburgh host Ospreys. The mighty men of Munster will see what the Blues of Cardiff have in store for them. Sunday we will see Connacht travel to face Scarlets, Zebre host Glasgow, and Newport-Gwent will make the trip to Dublin and face Leinster.
Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 13th Feb 15
Ulster – Benetton Treviso
Edinburgh – Ospreys
Sat – 14th Feb 15
Munster – Cardiff Blues
Sun – 15th Feb 15
Scarlets – Connacht
Zebre – Glasgow Warriors
Leinster – Newport Gwent Dragons
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.