Tuilagi, Abendanon, #USAvAUS, London 7s, Pro 12, Player Moves, USA Rugby, World Rugby News

Manu Tuilagi
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Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi

NEW YORK, NY – The heat that you are feeling may not be because of the warmer weather. Its the end of the season for two of Europe’s three leagues, the Aviva Premiership and the Guinness Pro 12 and the #Top14 is in its penultimate round. In addition to that we have the final leg of HSBC World Rugby Org Sevens World Series in London. Joining the men in London are the women as the London 7s are also the second to last leg of on its second to last leg of the World Rugby Org Womens Sevens World Series. Our friend down south in Super Rugby land are witnessing the start of the end-game phase. In addition, there is also the Junior (U-20) Rugby World Trophy to discuss along with Tier 3 international rugby championships in South America, and Asia. Before we get to all of the matches,  we must discuss all of the Transfers, Player Transactions, USA Rugby and World Rugby news. And now, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview:

Player Transactions:
Aviva Premiership:  Manu Tuilagi will miss the World Cup after pleading guilty to assaulting a police officer according to The Times. The England center. England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has spoken to Tuilagi and informed him that, in the light of his conduct and subsequent conviction, he will not be considered for selection for England’s Elite Playing Squads until January 2016. Harsh but fair and considering the performance of Jonathan Joseph in the 13 Jersey in the 6 Nations, understandable.

Harlequins announce that winger Tom Williams will retire from full-time rugby at the end of the current season and will join their coaching set-up to help develop the exciting up-and-coming talent within the club’s Academy… Northampton Saints announced that Ahsee Tuala has signed a contract extension with the club. Joining Tuala at the club next year will be, 21-year-old Sion Bennett from the Pro 12 Scarlets. The back rower has selections for Wales Sevens on the World Rugby Sevens Series on his resume. Also Northampton bound is scrum-half Alex Mitchell from Sale. Saracens confirmed that 2014 Junior World Championship winner and back-rower Joel Conlon will join the club from the Exeter Chiefs Conlon’s loss is acceptable because Exeter Chiefs earlier in the week announced the signing of Julian Salvi from Leicester Tigers ahead of next season…The Guinness Director of Rugby of the Season award shortlist has been announced.

The shortlist is:
Rob Baxter – Exeter Chiefs
Mike Ford – Bath Rugby
Jim Mallinder – Northampton Saints
Dai Young – Wasps

Nick Abendanon
Nick Abendanon

#TOP14: Clermont full-back Nick Abendanon was named the EPCR European Player of the Year 2015. It is the third consecutive year an Englishman playing in France has won the award…Toulouse announced the signing of one of the top players on the international Sevens circuit, Fijian flyer Semi Kunatani.

Guinness Pro12: Glasgow Warriors announced that centre Fraser Lyle and wing Rory Hughes signed contract extensions with the club…According to reports in the Australian press, the Scottish Rugby Union has lured the 23-year-old Fijian-born NSW Waratahs wing Taqele Naiyaravoro to Edinburgh on a three-year deal worth AUS$ 1 million. After splashing that money around, Edinburgh confirmed that head coach Alan Solomons has signed a 12-month extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until June 2016…Cardiff Blues have confirmed that fly-half Simon Humberstone will leave the region at the end  season to join Doncaster Knights of the Green King IPA Championship… Cardiff Blues announced that hooker Matthew Rees, will be leaving the PRO12 region at the end of the season.

Super Rugby: Queensland Reds wing Chris Kuridrani signed a new contract which will keep him with the franchise for 2016 and beyond…Rebels flanker Jordy Reid extended his contract at the franchise through the Super Rugby 2017 seasonCoincidentally Brumbies utility back Robbie Coleman extended his stay with his franchise until the end of 2017 after signing a new deal… Cheetahs flanker Willie Britz will head to Japan at the end of the season to join the Shining Arcs in the Top League. He will return from his stint in Japan to play for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby next seasonSpringbok scrum-half Jano Vermaak has signed with Western Province from French giants Toulouse. The move means Vermaak will likely play for the Stormers come next Super Rugby season.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby News/Updates:  It was quite a week for USA Rugby. It begin with a press conference announcing that the USA Rugby Eagles will make their return to Soldier Field against the Australian Wallabies in a Saturday, September 5 test match, presented by Astellas. The  match will be the final test for both nations prior to their to departure for the Rugby World Cup in England….This was followed by the announcement that the San Francisco Bay area will host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 after World Rugby awarded hosting rights for the prestigious event to USA Rugby.  AT&T Park in San Francisco, supported by Avaya Stadium in San Jose, will provide the stage for the will ensure that the 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams to showcase their talent ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The competition dates will be announced in due course… Finally, The three female age-grade national teams have found new coaches for 2015 and beyond. Sue Whitwell is the newly-appointed head coach of the AIG Women’s Collegiate All-Americans, Farrah Douglas was hired as of coach the Girls High School All-Americans powered by Serevi, and Wil Snape of The oldest rugby club in the USA, the New York Rugby Club, will oversee the AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans on an interim basis, a full press release including each coaches resume can be found here.

World Rugby News: Dublin and Belfast will host Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 after World Rugby awarded the hosting rights for the prestigious tournament to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU)Paris will join the stellar line-up of new global destinations for 2015-16 World Rugby Sevens Series cycle. Paris joins 10-destination Series from 2015-16 cycle at the expense of Glasgow, Scotland. Paris joins Vancouver, Sydney, Cape Town and Singapore as new host cities on record-breaking Series, though Sydney and Cape Town are just different host of their respective nation’s legs on the tour… It has been announced that the U20 Championship 2017 will be held in Georgia. The country, which also plays host to the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup, will welcome the future stars of world rugby to Tbilisi and Kutaisi in two years’ time…The Maori All Blacks will play Fiji for the first time in seven years as part of a two match series in July, New Zealand Rugby confirmed earlier this week.

World Rugby has adopted temporary substitution for head injuries at the elite level into Law 3.10, further underscoring the governing body’s commitment to evidence-based research driving player welfare enhancements for players at all levels of the sport.

PrintAs for the weekend’s fixtures:
London 7s: The Rugby and fan festival known as the London 7s are back. This tournament is so massive, it features both the Men and the Women’s series in action.  For a complete preview of the action checkout our team USA Women’s analysis and tournament preview by clicking here. And for the men you can Click Here.

Super Rugby: This weekend’s match-up between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs can be considered a possible play-off final preview. Our Super Rugby expert, Kiwi , shares his thoughts on that and his predictions for the week. Here is a freebie, he was wrong to pick against my Blues at Eden Park!! You can check out his wonderful piece if you, Click Here.

Logo_Top14_2012#Top14: According to our Top 14 expert, , it will be nerve wrecking fortnight in the Top14. If your wondering what a fortnight is, its two weeks. If you are wondering what will make it such a nerve wrecking next to weeks in arguably the best league in Europe,  Click Here.

Aviva Premiership: We are not sure if frantic finish says enough about the kind of action we will see in the Premiership on Saturday. There are 2 playoff spots left between three teams and another battle to make the top 6 for the Champions Cup spots. Our Aviva Premiership expert, Nick Hall, is back with a great preview of Saturday’s action, Click Here.

Guinness Pro 12: Final weekend of action in the Pro 12 regular season and though the four playoff spots are locked up, there is still plenty to play for. The seventh-placed Pro 12 side will play in the first Champions Cup play-off game on May 24 against Gloucester of the Aviva Premeirship.  There are 2 teams fighting to win that spot while the top four teams ( 3 way tie for first and fourth place 1 point behind) are fighting for home field advantage, it will be a nail-biting, stomach churning final Saturday of action in the league.  Seventh place Connacht face first place Ospreys, second place Glasgow welcome fourth place Ulster, third place Munster luckily will face ninth place Newport Gwent. Sixth place Scarlet could be drawn into the Champions Cup spot battle if they trip up in Treviso for some reason. Leinster are assured of fifth place so they will not be as hungry as eighth place Edinburgh fighting to get into seventh and finally in a match with only pride at stake, Cardiff host Zebre.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 16th May 15
Connacht – Ospreys
Glasgow Warriors – Ulster
Munster – Newport Gwent Dragons
Benetton Treviso – Scarlets
Cardiff Blues – Zebre
Edinburgh – Leinster

World-Rugby-U20-TrophyJunior World Rugby TrophyThe Junior (Under-20) World Rugby Trophy is a tournament for the second tier nations of rugby at the U-20 level. The winner gets promoted to the Junior World Cup competition which features, the top tier nations in international rugby. It is being held in Portugal this year. The USA failed to qualify this year and lost out to Canada. The teams playing this year are Canada, Uruguay, Portugal, Georgia, Namibia, Fiji, Tonga and Hong Kong. This week will be the start of pool play. Fans can watch live streaming of the tournament around the world. Two venues will be in use on each of the four match days during the tournament in Lisbon with all games being available to view via the Portuguese Rugby Union (FPR) website. On the first day of pool play there weren’t that many close games, Georgia crushed Uruguay, Fiji dominated the hosts Portugal, Canada cruised by Namibia and Tonga easily dispatched Hong Kong.

Here are the results:
Tue – 9th May 15
Fixtures (local times)
Pool A – CAR Rugby do Jamor
17:00 Uruguay 12 – 46 Georgia
19:00 Fiji 34 – 19 Portugal
Pool B – Estadio Universitario de Lisboa
17:00 Canada 35 – 20 Namibia
19:00 Tonga 35 – 16 Hong Kong

For round two, Fiji will face Georgia in a match-up of contrasting strengths, Uruguay will take on Portugal as both sides go searching for a win. Canada will look to continue their good form against Hong Kong and Tonga tackles Namibia in a match they should win.

Here is the schedule:
Tue – 9th May 15
Fixtures (local times)
Pool A – CAR Rugby do Jamor
15:00 Fiji – Georgia
17:00 Uruguay – Portugal
For Pool A matches click here.
Pool B – Estadio Universitario de Lisboa
15:00 Canada – Hong Kong
17:00 Tonga – Namibia
For Pool B matches click here.

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. Speaking of the CONSUR division, this weekend will see Uruguay tangle with the continental giants, Argentina.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 9th May 15
Uruguay – Argentina

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…As for the weekend’s fixtures, Korea will take on Hong Kong in the top division. In D2 the UAE will face off against Chinese Taipei while Malaysia welcomes Thailand.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 16th May 15
Top: Korea – Hong Kong
D2: United Arab Emirates – Chinese Taipei
D2: Malaysia – Thailand

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.

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