Smith, Forbes, PNC, WCWU, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

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Juan Smith
Juan Smith
NEW YORK, NY – Thankfully this weekend has a bit more rugby action going on. We have the return of the Rugby Championship, a World Cup Warm-up match and the start of the Currie Cup. We will, of course, discuss the week’s news and transactions as we always do. So buckle up and lets get into The Weekend Preview:

News & Transactions:

Top 14: Once again, another week goes by and Toulon dominates the news coming out of the Top14. The big spenders confirmed that Juan Smith and Jocelino Suta will both captain the side at the start of the new season. Toulon also confirmed the signing of Australian back duo Mitch Inman and Lachie Turner on short-term deals as World Cup jokers… Fijian winger Alipate Ratini is on the verge of joining Stade Français just weeks after being fired by Grenoble due to poor discipline according to reports.

Pro 12: Irish side Munster have signed former Australia second-row Mark Chisholm on a two-year contract from Bayonne.

Super Rugby: The Chiefs announced that hooker Nathan Harris extended his contract with the New Zealand franchise for two more years…The Melbourne Rebels have announced the signing of  former Australian Schoolboys and U20 star center Reece Hodge for next season.

ITM Cup: Former All Black Xavier Rush has stepped down as Auckland defence coach to return to Wales for personal reasons… Tasman have completed the signing of experienced full-back Trent Renata, who will play for the province during this year’s ITM Cup campaign.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 10.53.25 AMUSA Rugby News/Updates: USA Rugby announced the new coaching staff for the AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans, earlier this week. USAR welcomed back Scott Lawrence to oversee the program as head coach. Lawrence previously led the program from 2011 to its 2012 World Rugby U20 Trophy triumph in Salt Lake City, qualifying the U.S. for the following year’s U20 Championship.  As for the sevens program, for the first time, an MJAA sevens team will also be formed as part of a greater overhaul to the under-20 program. RWU friend, Paul Holmes of Tiger Rugby, a member of USA Rugby’s Olympic Development Academy, will coach the sevens squad under the direction of Lawrence and in collaboration with Eagles Sevens coaches Mike Friday and Chris BrownSpeaking of 7s the USA Club 7s Championship is scheduled for this weekend, August 8th and 9th in Des Moines, Iowa at the James W. Cownie Soccer Complex. For a complete list of the 16 Mens and Womens’ teams and the pools they are in click hereAll matches throughout the championship weekend will be streamed live on USA Rugby TV.

DJ Forbes Head Shot
DJ Forbes

World Rugby News:Papua New Guinea has been chosen to host the four-team Oceania Rugby Cup 2015 later this month. The competition will see PNG take on American Samoa, Tahiti and the Solomon Islands… Long-serving All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes steps aside to improve his chances of being selected for Rio 2016. For more Forbes check out his interview with RWU while still captain, click here.

The weekend’s fixtures:

The Rugby Championship: The 2015 Rugby Championship has reached it 2015 abridged final round. The supped up Tri-Nations is now one of the most anticipated rugby tournaments of the year. The final weekend’s match are expected to be intense with one doubling as the final. Our SANZAR Rugby expert Kiwi , has a preview of all the action, if you Click Here.

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. On Monday, in Vancouver,  the final matches began with neighbors and rivals USA and Canada battling each other. In a tight affair the USA won on a late drop goal. Tonga easily won against Japan in the third place match andthe top two teams going into the tournament Fiji and Samoa fought a great match for the Championship, which ended up going to Fiji. For a review of the tournament’s stats check out our house statistician‘s piece by clicking here. Also check out my interview with members of the USA squad after their 5th place match by clicking here.

Here are the results:
Wed – 29th Jul 15
Final: Fiji 39 – 29 Samoa
3rd Place: Tonga 31 – 20 Japan
3rd Place: United States 15 – 13 Canada

World Cup Warm-up: In a World Cup warm-up game, Celtic rivals will face off as Wales welcomes Ireland. Expect a physical affair as players go all out to make the World Cup roster.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 8th Aug 15
Wales – Ireland

Currie CupCurrie Cup: The 77th edition of the Currie Cup kicks off this weekend. Unfortunately, it has been it has been revamped once again. We will get into the specifics of the revamping next week, when we do our tournament preview. As for round 1, Western Province has already thumped Griquas. In matches still to come, Pumas will take on the Sharks, the Eastern Province Kings will challenge the Golden Lions and finally Free State Cheetahs will battle the Blue Bulls.

Here are the results:
Fri – 7th Aug 15
Griquas 19 – 43 Western Province

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 7th Aug 15
Pumas – Sharks
Sat – 8th Aug 15
Eastern Province Kings – Golden Lions
Free State Cheetahs – Blue Bulls

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.