Jerry Collins, Chris Masoe, Rio Qualifiers, JWC, Crescent Cup, Player Moves and USA Rugby News

Chris Masoe (Collins was the Best Man at his wedding; Masoe and team-mate Neemia Tialata were reportedly given the grim task of formally identifying Collins' body on Friday)
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NEW YORK, NY – With the European leagues winding down, the international fixture list was getting more and more crowded. We will get to all of the action and more as we dive into the Global Rugby Recap:

RIP Jerry Collins: The tragic death of former All Black Jerry Collins and his partner, Alana, has been a huge blow to the worldwide rugby community. He was a hard man that never threw a punch and personified the ethos of the game. Suffice to say, our thoughts and prayers go to the couple’s orphaned daughter Ayla, who is in critical condition, and the whole Collins Family. Our very own  has a touching piece on the heroic rugby figure, found here.

Chris Masoe (Collins was the Best Man at his wedding; Masoe and team-mate Neemia Tialata were reportedly given the grim task of formally identifying Collins' body on Friday)
Chris Masoe (r) pays tribute to Jerry Collins; the Best Man at Masoe’s wedding. Masoe and team-mate Neemia Tialata were reportedly given the grim task of formally identifying Collins’ body

NRFL_Logo_Shadow_smallNRFL – According to reports, USA Rugby will not sanction the game between the National Rugby Football League‘s Roughriders and the Leicester Tigers. Leading Leicester to pull out of the match and the match to be cancelled. You can definitely expect more coverage on this matter from RWU in the coming days.

Player Transactions:
#TOP14: Castres made two more major signings ahead of next season with the arrivals of Benjamin Urdapilleta and Antoine Tichit. Joining those two at Castres next season will be Toulon winger David Smith – signing a four-year deal with the Top 14 side… Former All Black Chris Masoe will join Smith in departing Toulon, as he confirmed that he will leave the Triple European Champions for rivals Racing-Métro next season… Toulon have completed two signings to replace those loses, though they are not direct replacements; two promising players from Bayonne in eight-man Charles Ollivon and hooker Anthony Etrillard have signed with the club. The exodus from relegated Bayonne continues as tighthead Gert Muller joins Toulouse for next season on a one-year deal.

Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers confirmed the signings of two new players in Exeter – hooker Greg Bateman and Super Rugby Chiefs’ development squad member, and former New Zealand U20 international, Jono Kitto… Leicester also announced that full-back Mathew Tait has agreed to a new contract at the club. Tait had initially signed a deal with French club Bayonne, but their relegation from the Top 14 has led him stay with Leicester.

Guniness Pro 12: Leinster announced that scrum coach Marco Caputo has left the province with immediate effect.  Scotland prop Euan Murray will be plying his trade in France next season with Top 14 newcomers Pau… The IRFU and Munster confirmed that Paul O’Connell will retire from international rugby at the end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The Irish captain will be released from his IRFU and Munster contract once Ireland’s participation at the tournament is completed.

Duane Vermuelen in action

Super Rugby: Wallabies lock Sam Carter‘s chances of playing at the Rugby World Cup have suffered a blow after suffering a torn medial ligament in his knee… Blues and All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu has opted for surgery on a developmental defect with his hips that will sideline him for the rest of the year… Blues loose forward Steven Luatua could be the second Blues player and third All Black to be sidelined for the RWC, as his shoulder injury continues to heal slowly… The Sharks have confirmed that Cheetahs and Springbok full-back Willie Le Roux will join them for the 2016 Super Rugby season. The Sharks also confirmed the signing of loose forward Philip van der Walt for the upcoming Currie Cup campaign… Francois Hougaard will play for the Canon Eagles of Japan next season, having signed a deal to join after the World Cup… The Waratahs have found a replacement for the departing Sekope Kepu in the shape of Blues tighthead Angus Ta’avao… All Blacks hooker Dane Coles has re-signed with Hurricanes and the New Zealand Rugby Union, until the end of 2019… Blues and North Harbour hooker James Parsons has also committed to play his rugby in New Zealand, but only until 2017… Stormers and Springboks number 8 Duane Vermeulen suffered an intense spasm in his neck after last Friday’s captain’s run, with an MRI showing a bulging disc at a C5 level. However, after consulting with a neurosurgeon, he appears to be getting better and should continue to improve.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby News/Updates: USA Rugby had its biggest assembly in the history of the Women’s Eagles. As part of the newly-designed pathway, the Eagles, AIG Women’s Junior and Collegiate All-Americans, and Girls High School All-Americans powered by Serevi are scouting players during the first National All-Star Competition. There were more than 200 athletes and 50 coaches that participated in the NASC event, held at James Madison University, from June 1-6. The schedule has been set for the National Club Championships. The matches will be played June 13 and 14 at Glendale, Colorado’s Infinity Park. They will be broadcast live at If you are going to be there in person, tickets for the championships can be purchased via Infinity Park’s ticketing system. Adults (13+) can purchase tickets for $10, children’s (ages 4-12) tickets cost $5 and children age 3 and under are FREE.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 13th Jun 15
4 pm – Gates Open
5 pm – Women’s DI Final: Beantown – Seattle Saracens
7 pm – Men’s DI Final: NYAC – Austin Blacks

Sun – 14th Jun 15
10 am – Gates Open
11 am – Men’s DIII Final: Wichita Barbarians – Tri City Barbarians
1 pm – Women’s DII Final: Wisconsin Rugby – Sacramento Amazons
3 pm – Men’s DII Final: Life West Gladiators – Wisconsin Rugby

#CRC7sClick here for Jake Frechette’s starting line-up and full 12-man roster, tournament dream team for the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s, sponsored by Penn Mutual.

World Rugby News: In news specific to the RFU, Gloucester expressed their surprise and disappointment by the RFU’s decision to appeal an independent panel’s outcome after the club breached Aviva Premiership Rugby Regulation 3.3(a). This follows an independent disciplinary hearing on April 27, where Gloucester were found guilty of selecting Argentina lock Mariano Galarza for the Aviva Premiership match against Sale Sharks on March 29, when he did not hold effective registration for Gloucester. “Following the decision in April to fine Gloucester Rugby £5,000 and issue a two point deduction, suspended for two years, the RFU have appealed the decision and the points deduction is now immediate and will apply to the 2014/15 season.” (Read more)

As for the weekend’s fixtures:
Super Rugby: Our Super Rugby expert, Kiwi  had a review of the penultimate round of action in Super Rugby. He also provides a Canes fans thoughts on Jerry Collins, plus an update on the playoff picture. For his excellent review, click here.

Brock James of Clermont Auvergne

#Top14: It was the end of an era in one Top 14 Semi-Final and the end of a powerful reign (for now) in the other semi-final. The match between Clermont and historic giants Toulouse required a penalty and a drop-goal from Clermont fly-half Brock James in the final 10 minutes to bring Toulouse coach Guy Noves’ 22 years in charge to an sad end as he leaves to take over the national team following the World Cup… Stade Francais managed to hand Toulon a defeat in a knockout competition for the first time in two years – a run of seven straight semi-final wins. Stade slowly, but surely, clawed their way into the match then steadily exerted enough pressure to pull away for the victory.

Here are the results:
Sat – 30th May 15
Clermont 18 -14 Toulouse
Toulon 16 – 33 Stade Francais

Barbarians F.C: The adventures of world’s most legendary rugby side almost slipped through the cracks. Against an Ireland XV developmental side, last week, the BaaBaas scraped by to victory courtesy of two tries by Alex Cuthbert. In their most recent outing against a second-string England side, they were unfortunately torn to shreds.

Here are the results:
Fri – 29th May 15
Ireland 21 – 22 Barbarians

Sun – 7th Jun 15
England 73 – 12 Barbarians

2016_Rio_Summer_Olympics_logoRegional Olympic Qualifiers: Each of World Rugby’s regional rugby unions must hold playoffs for their teams to book their places in the XXIX Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 for the Men and the Women. The regional unions are Rugby Afrique, Oceania Rugby, Rugby Europe, Asia Rugby, NACRA, and ConSuR.  NACRA, to which the USA belongs, will hold its qualifier this upcoming weekend. Afrique, a/k/a Africa, will hold their qualifier in November, however Europe began its qualification process this past weekend and it is a series, not a one-off tournament.

In Europe, France beat hosts Russia by 40-17 to win the first leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series at the Luzhniki Sports Palace in Moscow.

2015 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Standings
Points After Leg 1
France – 20 points
Russia – 18
Spain – 16
England – 14
Portugal – 12
Germany – 10
Wales – 8
Lithuania – 6
Georgia – 4
Belgium – 3
Italy – 2
Romania – 1

Note the following regarding Rugby Europe and Olympic Qualification:

-The 2015 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series consists of 3 legs: Moscow, Russia (6/7 June), Lyon, France (13/14 June) and Exeter, England on 11/12 July. The competition acts as a Europe’s Regional Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio… England and Wales are ineligible to qualify for the Olympic Games due to England qualifying Great Britain for the Olympics via the HSBC World Series.
-The remaining 10 other participants are eligible to qualify for the Olympic Games. The Highest Ranked eligible team, after all three legs of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series, will therefore qualify directly to Rio.
-The second-highest eligible team after all three legs of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series qualifies to play in World Rugby’s Global Repechage Tournament in 2016.
-All other eligible teams in the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix will take part in the European Olympic Repechage Tournament in Lisbon on 18 / 19 July.

ColombiaIn ConSuR – a/k/a Central and South America – Argentina‘s men and Colombia‘s women became the sixth team in the men’s and women’s competitions to secure tickets to Rio. Argentina’s Sevens World Series experience made them locks to qualify and they did exactly that as they thumped Uruguay in the final. Meanwhile, the Argentine Women blew a golden chance to join their male counterparts as they were up 7-5 and were in for a try with less than a minute to play, but the Argentinian player tried to center the ball instead of touch it down immediately and got tackled out the back. Colombia kicks deep from the ensuing 22, recovered a loose ball and shifted it out-wide and scored a try at the death to win and qualify for the Olympics.

Qualified to Rio 2016:
Men: Argentina
Women: Colombia

Qualified to Repechage:
Men: Chile, Uruguay
Women: Argentina, Venezuela

U20 Captains_ItaliaJunior World Cup: The JWC is the yearly World Cup held for U-20 teams of the top-tier rugby playing nations. Japan qualified for it by winning last year’s Junior World Trophy, the second-tier competition. This year’s tournament is being held in Italy. England go into the tournament as defending champions for the past two years. In the first round of Pool play, Ireland scrapped by Argentina, France outmuscled Wales, Australia took down Samoa, England thumped Japan, New Zealand thrashed Scotland and finally, the hosts Italy were no match for South Africa.

Here are the results:
Tue – 1st Jun 15
Ireland 18 – 16 Argentina
France 19 – 10 Wales
Australia 34 – 22 Samoa
England 59 – 7 Japan
New Zealand 68 – 10 Scotland
South Africa 33 – 5 Italy

Out the back door, NZ escape against Arg
Out the back door, NZ escape against Arg

In the second round of pool play this past Saturday, England were too strong for Wales, Australia fought off Italy, New Zealand got the scare of their lives from Argentina. South Africa won comfortably against Samoa, Ireland were fortunate to get by Scotland and France made light work of Japan.

Here are the results:
Sat – 6th Jun 15
England 30 – 16 Wales
Australia 31 – 15 Italy
New Zealand 32 – 29 Argentina
South Africa 40 – 8 Samoa
Ireland 24 – 20 Scotland
France 47 – 7 Japan

Scheduled play for the third round of pool play, this Wednesday, will see Argentina take on Scotland, England face rivals France, Wales play Japan,  Samoa tackle host Italy, and the last two games, which are essentially quarterfinals will see South Africa face off against Australia and New Zealand take on Ireland.

Here is the schedule:
Wed – 1oth Jun 15
Argentina – Scotland
England – France
Wales – Japan
Samoa – Italy
South Africa – Australia
New Zealand – Ireland

Tunisia v  Namibia
Tunisia v Namibia

Africa Cup: The Africa Cup 2015 will be the 15th edition of the continental tournament that involves the best African national teams, organized by the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). Given their superiority, the South African national team has rarely participated in the tournament and the 4 times the SARU has, they sent either a U-23 team or amateur side, and have gone on to win it. Beyond South Africa, there are up to 27 countries in the Cup with the national participants in the two divisions with each division divided into three groups ( 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, and 2C ), with promotion and relegation. Tournaments Divisions 1A and 1B’s games often double as qualification games for the Rugby World Cup. In 1A, Namibia, were unconvincing in their victory over Tunisia in Nabeul, Tunisia. The South division 2B match-up between Lesotho and Malawi has been postponed to July 4th.

Here are the results:
Sat – 6th Jun 15
1A:  Namibia 22 -14 Tunisia

The Crescent Cupcrescent cup: a competition which sees the participation of Muslim nations battle it out for best rugby playing Muslim nation. Malaysia will host the inaugural Crescent Cup Rugby Championships. It was originally scheduled to have twelve countries — Algeria, Iran, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Tajikistan, UAE, Uganda, and Uzbekistan were supposed to compete. However after being moved from December of 2014 until this weekend, only the six keenest countries were selected; Algeria, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Uzbekistan.

Here are the results:
Sat – 6th May 15
Pool A: Malaysia 10 – 0 Lebanon – Match abandoned at half time due to weather
Pool B: Algeria 26 – 5 Kazakhstan

Here is the schedule:
Mon – 8th May 15
Pool A: Uzbekistan – Lebanon
Pool B: Algeria – Iran

The tournament may be restructured as it appears Iran may have pulled out late. Stay tune to RWU for the latest on this development.

The Asian Rugby Championship: similar to the ENC (European Nation’s Cup), but with five divisions with the three most dominant teams, the tri-nations of Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan in the top division. There are four teams in division 1 and 2 then division 3 is broken up into East, Central and West with three teams each before we finally get to division 4 with seven. Believe it or not, this is allegedly streamlined from previous years where it was just five divisions and five teams in each… In weekend D3 action, Guam managed to get the better of Indonesia. Guam now have to bounce back for a big midweek fixture against China.

Here are the results:
Sun – 7th May 15
D3 East: Guam 17 – 6 Indonesia

Here is the schedule:
Wed – 10th Jul 15
D3 East: China – Guam

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