News & Transactions:
All Blacks And Maori All Blacks In Chicago: The All Blacks and Maori All Blacks could feature in matches in Chicago on successive days or as part of a double-header in 2016. If things go according to plan, the Maori All Blacks would kick off the double-header against the USA at Soldier Field on a Friday night or early Saturday to be followed with the All Blacks facing Ireland later on Saturday. Knowing how both groups are looking for a maximum payday, It will most likely be the back to back instead of the double header.
Aviva Premiership: Bath head coach Mike Ford has stated that their much public move for Welsh eightman Taulupe Faletau is in the hands of the Welsh Rugby Union. The stumbling block has always been whether he would be available to play for Wales at specific points in the season. If his availability is limited, Wales coach Warren Gatland has revealed he will not sanction Faletau’s proposed move from the Dragons… Gloucester announced that two of the club’s key players, Lock/Flanker Tom Savage and Winger Charlie Sharples, have agreed new long-term contracts… Newly promoted Worcester Warriors have released former Argentina fly-half Ignacio Mieres and winger James Stephenson ahead of the new season.
Top 14: Once again, another week where Toulon dominates the news coming out of the Top14. It appears former All Black Stephen Donald is set to join Toulon as a World Cup joker according to reports in France. Toulon are looking at Donald but have expressed primary interest in signing Crusaders back Tom Taylor following Quade Cooper‘s decision to stay in Australia. Taylor had signed a three-year deal with Bayonne to join the side for the start of the 2015/2016 season but with Bayonne relegated, Taylor opted out and decided to stay in New Zealand. Toulon have completed the signing of the ageless wonder and veteran Fijian winger Sireli Bobo from La Rochelle as World Cup cover... As reported by our Top 14 Expert, James Harrington, Former All Black winger Joe Rokocoko will join Racing 92 next season from Bayonne.
Pro 12: Welsh International Hooker Thomas Rhys Thomas has been named Newport Gwent Dragons Captain for the coming 2015/16 season.
Super Rugby: Former All Blacks winger Zac Guildford has been linked with a return to Super Rugby with the Waratahs for 2016 according reports coming out of Australia… Versatile front-rower Albert Anae has joined the Brumbies on a one-year deal with an option for a second year. The Reds have re-signed Japanese eightman Hendrik Tui for the 2016 Super Rugby season… Finding a new head coach for the Bulls is proving to be a trickier task than expected, according to reports from South Africa. Sports network Supersport alleges that a number of candidates have turned down the chance to take over at the three-time Super Rugby champions following the departure of Frans Ludeke… The Chiefs announced that they have re-signed All Blacks scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow for the next two years.
USA Rugby News/Updates: t has been confirmed that the match between the USA Men’s Eagles and the Aviva Premiership’s Harlequins Football Club in PPL Park in Philadelphia on August 30th will have a 3 p.m. ET kickoff on Sunday, Aug. 30, with a live broadcast available on ESPN 3.
World Rugby News: World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby have welcomed the results of a wide-ranging independent study, researching the long-term physical and psychological health effects of playing elite rugby, community rugby and non-contact sports. The three-year study, conducted by the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), funded by World Rugby and AUT and supported by New Zealand Rugby, does not provide definitive links between rugby and long-term cognitive health issues and further research is required in this priority player welfare area. For more info on the report click here… 30 coaches, match officials, and strength & conditioning coaches from 18 nations converged on Stellenbosch University in South Africa last week for the World Rugby Talent Optimisation Programme.The nations represented at the 2015 edition from 19-25 July were Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, France, Georgia, Hong Kong, Japan, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Uruguay and the USA. An annual event since it was first held in 2003 under the name Talent Identification Programme, it has been more closely aligned with World Rugby’s portfolio of training and education courses since 2011, hence the change of name. The Talent Optimisation Programme is aimed at coaches and match officials with significant experience and qualifications who are looking to optimise their talents in a high performance environment… The pools and schedule for next month’s Women’s Sevens Series qualifier have been announced. Twelve teams will battle it out in the Irish capital of Dublin on August 22nd and 23rd for two spots on next season’s Women’s Sevens Series. Brazil, who have already qualified for the Olympic Games 2016 as hosts, will play Wales, Japan and Samoa in Pool A. China will be hoping to maintain their place on the series when they take on Netherlands, Kenya and the Olympic qualified Colombia in Pool B, while hosts Ireland will play an improving South Africa, Hong Kong and Mexico in Pool C… The final teams have booked their place for the Africa region’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Johannesburg on November 14th-15th. Mauritius and Botswana will join a field featuring Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Tunisia, Senegal and Zambia for the Rugby Africa Sevens with the winner to book their place at Rio 2016 when sevens makes its Olympic Games debut.
Australia’s Michael Cheika will coach a star-studded Barbarians line-up in two high-profile games this November.
The weekend’s fixtures:
Pacific Nations Cup: Of all of World Rugby’s Cup tournaments to benefit Tier 2 and Tier 3 nations, the Pacific Nations Cup is arguably the biggest and best. By featuring the Pacific Island Nations (Tonga, Fiji, Manu Samoa), Japan, Canada, and the USA, this tournament has the top Tier-2 nations and some are even ranked higher than some 6 Nations teams. Though the schedule for this tournament still makes no sense and needs improvement, it is a key depth-builder for all the sides involved. There was a midweek triple-header in Toronto that was interesting to watch. For a review of the turgid affair that was the USA-Tonga match, RWU’s own Nick Hall has a review, click here. In the other two matches that were entertaining to watch, Fiji survived a clash with a feisty Japan and Canada let it slip away at the death against Samoa.
Here are the results:
Wed – 29th Jul 15
Tonga 33- 19 United States
Fiji 27 – 22 Japan
Samoa 21 – 20 Canada
Test Match: In a World Cup warm-up game, Uruguay will take on the fringe players in the Argentina squad in a clash of neighbors. In case, rugby fans were curious, this Argentine development side will be coached by the legendary Dr. Felipe Contempomi.
Here is the schedule:
Wed – 29th Jul 15
Argentina – Uruguay
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.