Roberts, Champions Cup, Challenge Cup, Player Moves, USA Rugby, World Rugby News

Racing Metro's Jamie Roberts
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Racing Metro's Jamie Roberts
Racing Metro’s Jamie Roberts

NEW YORK, NY – Less talk and more rugby today. We have the finals of the EPRC European Champions and Challenge Cup as well as the latest round of Super Rugby action to discuss. In addition there is big news for USA Rugby Eagles fans on top of the usually news. As always we will begin with a look at Transfer Rumors, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news for you. So with all that said, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview:

Player Transactions:
Aviva Premiership: According to reports, Jamie Roberts will sign a three-year deal with Harlequins provided Racing-Métro agree to release him. Saracens announced that England forward duo and brothers Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola have re-signed multi-year deals with the clubs…London Welsh have continued to make signings despite their imminent relegation as they prepare for life in the Greene King IPA Championship by making loads of signings. It begun last week and this week they signed four backrowers, Will Skuse (Bath), Kieran Murphy (Brive), Ryan Hodson (Jersey) and Gus Jones (Wasps). The Welsh also improved in the half-backs department as they signed fly-half Joe Carlisle and scrumhalf Josh DaviesNewcastle have added a further international to their 2015/16 squad with Italian winger Giovanbattista Venditti joining on a two-year contract.

Guinness Pro12: Paul O’Connell has ruled out a move to Toulon for next season despite speculation linking him to the two time European champions…Ireland and Leinster center Gordon D’Arcy has announced that he will retire from rugby after the World Cup later this year...Leinster confirmed the signing of Isa Nacewa and that he will be presnt for the start of pre-season training ahead of the 2015/16 campaign…Backrower-come-hooker Stuart McInally has extended his contract with Edinburgh another season, until the end of the 2016 season...The Scarlets announced that experienced loosehead prop Phil John has signed a contract extension, keeping him at the region for the 2015/16 season.

Super Rugby/ITM Cup: According to the Tasman Makos Facebook Page,”Super Rugby Chiefs fullback Tom Marshall, who was to leave for Gloucester, will rejoin Tasman for the 2015 season. This after being advised by NZ Rugby he is on the All Blacks selectors radar for the Rugby World Cup.” This means Tom Marshall might arrive in Gloucester a little later than initially expected Marshall is still expected to join Gloucester after his spell with Tasman. If he is not selected by the All Blacks, he is eligible to play for England through his grandfather,and when he initially signed for Gloucester, he had said that it would be an objective for him.

USA Rugby News and Updates: Harlequins have announced a pre-season tour of the USA ahead of the the 2015/2016 season, finishing up with a friendly against the USA Eagles at PPL Park in Philadelphia… Arkansas State head coach NeMani Delaibtiki whose services will not be retained by the University after the end of this season has joined up with Stars Rugby to be part of their coaching staff.

It was a tough match for a developmental side for the the USA Selects XV as they were absolutely throttled by Argentina. It was no where near as experienced a side that faced Uruguay. It will be interesting to see what line-up, head coach Mike Tolkin rolls out for the final test this weekend against the Argies again.

Here is the Result:
Tues – 28th Apr 15
Argentina 54 – USA 6

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2nd May 15
Argentina – USA

World Rugby News: Aviva Premiership’s Wasps have announced a new financial initiative they believe will help them to become the richest rugby club in the world. Wasps launched a retail bond listed on the London Stock Exchange, on Monday. The club hopes the seven-year bonds which can be bought by fans and investors for a minimum of £2,000, will help raise up to £35m, with the objective being to become one of world rugby’s biggest earners whilst also paying off the £13.4m debt they owe Coventry City Council

The Oceania Rugby (U-20) Junior Championship 2015 kicks off this weekend. It features the U20 teams for Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Samoa.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2nd May 15
New Zealand – Japan
Australia – Samoa

WEEKEND FIXTURES:

Champions Cup
Champions Cup

Super Rugby: Our Super Rugby expert, Kiwi says that  this round is filled with derbies in each Super rugby country that have a great history and could lead to a big shake-up in the standings. To check out the preview, click here.

European Champions Cup: It is now time for the inaugural championship match of the European (Rugby) Champions Cup. We will have a fantastic preview of the big game along with our expert panel’s picks up shortly.

Challenge Cup

European Challenge Cup: The lesser famous sibling of the Champions’ Cup is the European Challenge Cup. It’s a second tier tournament but has become a great tournament for showcasing the mid-table European clubs with real ambition. Successful teams in the Challenge Cup will often be scene making a fuss in the Champions’ Cup the following season.

Gloucester will try and win their second major cup in 9 years when the face an equally hungry Edinburgh, as the two sides fight to salvage their seasons with a trophy.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 1 May 15
Gloucester – Edinburgh

rugby europeEuropean 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…This weekend Latvia hosts Andorra and the always tough Cyprus welcome Lithuania.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2nd May 15
2B: Latvia – Andorra
2B: Cyprus – Lithuania

South 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 Chile travel to face Paraguay.

Here is the schedule:
Sun – 3rd May 15
D A: Paraguay – Chile

ARFUThe 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. The juggernauts of Asian rugby, Japan, will host Hong Kong this weekend.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2nd May 15
Top: Japan – Hong Kong

NACRA Championships 2015: Another regional tournament in full swing is the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Championship. The NACRA Championship is for the countries in North America and the Caribbean. NACRA has 2 zones with top level (championship) and a bottom level (cup). Each Championship zone has 3 teams while the Cup Zones have 4 each. The Zones are regionally divided, so there is a North Zone and South Zone. USA Rugby competes in the North Zone Championship division. The USA is represented by the USA South Regional all-star team, in order to develop talent and make the competition a much fairer one…The match this weekend is in the South Zone Cup league as the British Virgin Islands welcome Curacao.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2nd May 15
South Zone Cup League
British Virgin Islands – Curacao

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.