Faletau, Drotske, Glasgow 7s, Aviva, Pro 12, Player Moves, USA Rugby, World Rugby News

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Faletau turning his back on Wales
Faletau turning his back on Wales

NEW YORK, NY – As the weather gets better up north, a warning call goes out. The end of the season for Europe’s top three leagues, the #Top14, the Aviva Premiership and the Guinness Pro 12 is near. In addition to that we also have the HSBC World Rugby Org Sevens World Series on its second to last leg. Our friend down south in Super Rugby land, must also start thinking about their playoffs. In addition to this there is tier 3 international rugby championships in Europe, South America, and Asia. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, we must discuss all of the Transfers, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news. With no more needing to be said, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview:

Player Transactions:
Aviva Premiership: Leicester agreed to new contracts with coaches Geordan Murphy and Richard Blaze, and confirmed they will be joined by new defense coach Scott Hansen. The staff will follow the lead of new head coach Aaron Mauger for the start of the 2015/16 season. Hansen will be following Mauger from New Zealand to replace Phil Blake who is leaving the club at the end of the season… London Welsh number eight Chris Hala’ufia has been suspended for five weeks after pleading guilty to striking an opponent. The ban means the Tongan will miss the remaining two rounds of the Aviva Premiership and the start of the 2015-16 season…London Irish announced the arrival of Fijian international wing and former Super Rugby winner Asaeli Tikoirotuma from Harlequins…Leicester Tigers confirmed the signing of backrower Lachlan McCaffrey from London Welsh. Tigers also announced the signing of Lock  Sebastian de Chaves to a new contract…The Rugby Players’ Association (The RPA) has announced the nominees for the RPA Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards.

The RPA Players’ Player of the Year Award 2015 nominees:
George Ford
Jonathan Joseph
Samu Manoa
Sinoti Sinoti
Thomas Waldrom

LV= Young Player of the Year nominees:
George Ford
Maro Itoje
Jonathan Joseph
Henry Slade
Anthony Watson

Zac Guilford  on his way home
Zac Guilford on his way home

#TOP14: Clermont wing Zac Guildford will return to New Zealand to confront “personal problems” and be with his family…Oyonnax have signed Exeter winger Fetu’u Vainikolo on a two-year deal. Not satisfied there, Oyonnax continued their squad building for 2016 with the signing of Lyon back three player Vincent Martin…Brumbies full-back Jesse Mogg has confirmed that he will be joining his old coach at the Brumbies Jake White at Top 14 outfit Montpellier on a three-year deal.

Guinness Pro12: Newport Gwent Dragons’ and Wales Eightman Taulupe Faletau will not be signing a national dual contract in the near future after he missed this year’s deadline, according to Wales head coach Warren Gatland…Scarlets announced that eightman Morgan Allen will make the switch to their PRO12 region from the Ospreys ahead of next season.

Naka Drotske
Naka Drotske

Super Rugby: According to rumors, Liam Gill could be leaving Queensland for Melbourne …Cheetahs head coach Naka Drotské announced that he will step down at the end of the Super Rugby season to take up a position overseas. Seeming to be well prepared for the news, the Cheetahs named Franco Smith as the Cheetahs Super Rugby coach from the 2016 season.

USA Rugby News/Updates: USA Director of Performance, Alex Magleby has announced the creation of National Tracking Camps in the mold of the open invitation combines held earlier this year that help discover USA international Ahmah Harajly and Matai Leuta. The schedule for the year goes as follows:

May 17 New York City – Columbia University’s Baker Field
May 30 USOC – OTC – Chula Vista, CA
June 6 Salt Lake City, UT
June 7 Denver, CO
June 13 Life University – Marietta, GA
June 14 Tiger Academy – Columbus, OH
June 21 Cal Maritime – Vallejo, CA
June 28 Philadelphia, PA
September 5 Chicago, IL

The USA Rugby College Championships will all take place at Fifth Third Bank College at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

2015 USA Rugby College 15s National Championships – Schedule of Events
Women’s DII Final: Notre Dame College v U of Cal-Riverside – 10 a.m. ET on USA Rugby TV
Men’s D1-A Final: Central Florida v U of Cal-Davis – 12 p.m. ET on USA Rugby TV
Women’s D1 Final: Penn State v Central Washington – 2 p.m. on USA Rugby TV
Men’s D1 Final: Life Univ. v St. Mary’s College – 4 p.m. on ESPN 3

World Rugby News: Gloucester will host the seventh-placed Guinness Pro12 side in the first Champions Cup play-off game on May 24. Following a draw conducted by the EPCR Board, Gloucester, who qualified for the play-offs by winning the Challenge Cup final, will have home advantage in Match 1 of the play-offs for the 20th place in the 2015/16 European Rugby Champions Cup. They will play the highest-ranked club not already qualified from the Guinness PRO12 at Kingsholm Stadium on Sunday, 24 May.

The winner of Match 1 will have home advantage against the seventh-ranked club in the Top 14 in Match 2 on Sunday, 31 May.
The winner of Match 2 will secure a place in next season’s Champions Cup.

2015/16 Champions Cup play-offs:
Match 1 – Sunday, 24 May
Gloucester Rugby v PRO12 (highest-ranked club not already qualified)
Kingsholm Stadium 15.30
BT Sport / beIN Sports

Match 2 – Sunday, 31 May
Winner of Match 1 v Top 14 (seventh-ranked club)
Winner of Match 1 will have home advantage 17.00
Sky Sports / beIN Sports

As for the weekend’s fixtures:
Glasgow 7s: The Glasgow 7s are sold out. It is only fitting that the penultimate leg of this years series draws such a crowd. For a complete preview of the action checkout our team USA analysis and tournament preview by clicking here.

Super Rugby: This has not been a good start to the weekend as our Super Rugby expert, Kiwi , got his first pick for the weekend wrong. My pick for the second match was also wrong. For look at his preview of  and picks for the weekend, Click Here.

#Top14: There are only three games left including this weekend. Our Top 14 expert, , will have a great review of the fixtures after the weekend.  Going into the weekend, Castres will try and keep they great form as the fight to escape relegation against the newly crowned champions of Europe, Toulon, who may rest some big names but will still have loads of firepower. Oyonnax will try to keep their playoff hopes alive when they take on Bordeaux, and Lyon take on La Rochelle in a relegation 6 pointer. Montpellier will look to right the ship against Bayonne and Toulouse will tackle Brive. Grenoble will take on a Clermont side still licking its wounds from losing the Champions Cup final and in the match of the weekend Racing Metro will take on Stade Francais.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat- 9th May 15
Toulon – Castres
Bordeaux Bègles – Oyonnax
Lyon – La Rochelle
Montpellier – Bayonne
Toulouse – Brive
Grenoble – Clermont
Sun- 10th May 15
Racing Métro – Stade Français

Aviva Premiership: There are only two games left in the 2014/2015 season of the Aviva Premiership. This will be the most insane finish is the history of the league. The weekend begun with Bath being edged out by Harlequins, hurting their home playoff semi-final chances.
As for the weekend’s remaining fixtures:
Sale will take on Newcastle, Gloucester will welcome London Irish in a set of games with teams playing for pride. Northampton get to try some moves from the training pitch against London Welsh, Leicester will travel to Coventry to take on Wasps. Saracens will welcome Exeter in the final match of the weekend.

Here are the results:
Fri – 8th May 15
Harlequins 26 – 27 Bath

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 9th May 15
Sale – Newcastle
Gloucester – London Irish
Northampton – London Welsh
Wasps – Leicester
Sun – 10th May 15
Saracens – Exeter

Guinness-PRO12Guinness Pro 12: Only 4 points separate first from fourth so the fight for home field advantage will be an intense one in the Pro12 over these next 2 rounds. The weekend begun with Edinburgh still hurt from their Challenge Cup lose going down to Newport Gwent Dragons Leinster managed to squeeze out an ugly victory against Treviso. Meanwhile OSpeys got a huge win against fellow top 4 side Glasgow Warriors.
As for the weekend’s remaining fixtures:
Ulster will battle Munster in an Irish derby, Connacht travel to Zebre and finally Scarlets welcome Welsh rival Cardiff.

Here are the results:
Fri – 8th May 15
Newport Gwent Dragons 19 – 5 Edinburgh
Leinster 10 – 0 Benetton Treviso
Ospreys 21 – 10 Glasgow Warriors

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 9th May 15
Ulster – Munster
Zebre – Connacht
Sun – 10th May 15
Scarlets – Cardiff Blues

European Nations Cup:The ENC, or the 6 Nations “B” , is the premier tournament for the second-tier nations of Europe. Believe it or not, the ENC consists of seven divisions, each featuring between four and six teams. The matches played will determine who will get promoted and relegated from groups 1B, 2A – 2D, and 3A over a two-year cycle. Division 1A aka the 6 Nations B is where the six best teams in the rest of Europe reside and there is no promotion to the Europe’s premier international rugby competition, only relegation back to 1B…There will be several divisions in action this weekend. In 1b, Poland travel to face Ukraine, Denmark will take on upstarts Luxembourg and Norway welcomes Bosnia & Herzegovina

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 9th May 15
1B: Ukraine – Poland
2C: Denmark – Luxembourg
2D: Norway – Bosnia & Herzegovina

ConsurSouth American Championships (SAMC) 2015: The SAMC is the same as the ENC – except it’s South America, a minor detail – and that has 4 divisions featuring 15 teams. It is the battle to find the 2nd best team in South America with Argentina the firm number 1. The top division is called the CONSUR division and features Argentina’s B team, Uruguay and Chile. The A division will see Brazil travel to face Paraguy and Uruguay will take on Chile in the CONSUR division.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 9th May 15
Paraguay – Brazil
Uruguay – Chile

The Asian Rugby Championship, which is similar to the ENC (European Nation’s Cup) but with 5 divisions with the 3 most dominant teams, the tri-nations of Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan in the top division. There are 4 teams in division 1 and 2 then division 3 is broken up into East, Central and West with 3 teams each before we finally get to division 4 with 7. Believe it or not this is allegedly streamlined from previous years where it was just 5 divisions and 5 teams in each…In division 1 semi-final matches occurred during the week as Sri Lanka beat Kazakhstan and the Philippines came back to win against Singapore.

As for the weekend’s fixtures, Korea will take on Japan in the top division. The D1 final will see Sri Lanka take on the Phillipines while Kazakhstan plays Singapore in the 3rd place match. In D2 the UAE will welcome Thailand and Chinese Taipei will receive a visit from Malaysia.

Here are the results:
Wed – 6th May 15
D1 Semi-final: Sri Lanka 35 – 14 Kazakhstan
D1 Semi-final: Philippines 20 – 17 Singapore

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 9th May 15
Top: Korea – Japan
D1 Final: Sri Lanka – Philippines
D1 3rd Place: Kazakhstan – Singapore

Sun – 10th May 15
D2: United Arab Emirates – Thailand
D2: Chinese Taipei – Malaysia

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, James Harrington, Jamie Wall, Nick Hall, DJ Eberle, Jake Frechette, Scheenagh Harrington, Jamie Loyd, Cody Kuxmann, Karen Ritter, Audrey Youn, Akweley Okine, Rocky Brown and Declan Yeats, respectively.

And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.

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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.