Merry Christmas!! Evans, Te’o, Tupou, Aviva, #Top14, Pro12, USA Rugby & World Rugby News

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santa claus rugbyNEW YORK, NY – Merry Christmas to one and all. Thank you for taking time from unwrapping gifts and preparing your Christmas dinner to give RWU a gander. This week there is action from Europe’s three top leagues along with transactions and news from around the globe to report. So let’s not waste anymore time and dive into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

News & Transactions:

Aviva Premiership: Northampton announced four significant contract renewals, with fullback Ben Foden, lock Christian Day, hooker Mikey Haywood and center Jamie Elliott all re-signing… Harlequins announced that former New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans has signed a new contract extension with the club…. Worcester Warriors announced the signing of Leinster center Ben Te’o ahead of the 2016/17 season.

Nick Evans
Nick Evans

Pro 12: Edinburgh prop Alasdair Dickinson has extended his contract by three years until 2019. Joining Dickinson is lock Ben Toolis, who has committed to Edinburgh by signing a two-year contract which takes him through until 2018… Rival Scottish club Glasgow Warriors announced that scrum-half Ali Price has signed a professional contract with the club. Price is the latest Stage 3 player to graduate from the Scottish Rugby academy system, will be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2016… Newport Gwent Dragons announced that center Adam Hughes has re-signed with the region until 2018… Cardiff Blues announced the signing of Ulster eightman Nick Williams, who will join them on a long-term deal from the 2016/17 season… Scarlets confirmed that international scrum-half Gareth Davies has committed his future to the club and signed a contract extension.

Top 14: Toulouse scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain will likely continue his career in the Premiership with either Gloucester or Leicester. Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal admits that Leigh Halfpenny could join Wasps if the club don’t agree a new deal with the Wales star in the next week… Grenoble announced that second-row Hendrik Roodt has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the Top 14 club until June 2019. He is the fourth player to ink a three-year deal, joining Denis Coulson, Rory Grice and Xavier Mignot in putting pen to paper… Racing 92 announced that promising hooker Camille Chat has signed a new deal at the Top 14 club, which keeps him in Paris until 2019.

Taniela Tupou
Taniela Tupou

Super Rugby: Taniela Tupou, affectionately known as the ‘Tongan Thor’, has signed a contract extension that will see him remain at the the Reds until the end of 2018. Tupou is yet to make his Super Rugby debut, but impressed enough in his first year of training with the squad to secure an upgrade to his contract ahead of the 2016 season… Wallabies prop Greg Holmes is set for a 2016 international swansong, after signing with Exeter for two seasons. Holmes will play out the 2016 year in Australia before moving north.

USA Rugby: Two-hundred and fifteen athletes in the Women’s National Team Pathway are convening at Tigertown in southern Florida Monday, Dec. 28, through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, for the National All-Star Competition. The largest assembly of female rugby athletes is the third in a year following the update of the Pathway, with the first helping the coaching staffs of the senior Eagles and AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans with selections for the inaugural Women’s Rugby Super Series and two-match series with Canada’s under-20 side, respectively.

2015 World Rugby HOFWorld Rugby: Twenty-six of the greatest figures to be associated with rugby were inducted into World Rugby’s Hall of Fame in 2015. The full list of inductees into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2015 (in alphabetical order) is:

Phil Bennett (Wales), Naas Botha (South Africa), Gordon Brown (Scotland), Marcel Communeau (France), Gerald Davies (Wales), Mervyn Davies (Wales), Danie Gerber (South Africa), Tim Horan (Australia), Andy Irvine (Scotland), Carwyn James (Wales), Barry John (Wales), Tom Kiernan (Ireland), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Gwyn Nicholls (Wales), Basil Maclear (Ireland), Bill McLaren (Scotland), Edgar Mobbs (England), Hennie Muller (South Africa), Morne du Plessis (South Africa), Ronald Poulton-Palmer (England), Tom Richards (Australia), Jean-Pierre Rives (France), Fergus Slattery (Ireland), Wavell Wakefield (England), Joost van der Westhuizen (South Africa), John Lewis Williams (Wales).

With player welfare at the heart of the process, a number of minor amendments will come into effect in 2016 while a package of closed law trials announced in September get underway. For a quality recap of the changes, click here.  Click here for the minor amendmentsView the full list of law trials here… View the full list of law clarifications here.

The weekend’s fixtures:

Aviva Premiership LogoAviva Premiership: The Boxing day weekend is the unofficial marker of the season’s halfway point for the Aviva Premiership. Although with this season’s delayed start it may not mean as much but the fixtures will still be setting the foundation for a big second half run. The weekend begins with the London Irish hosting Northampton, Sale traveling to Exeter and Leicester doing battle with Newcastle. The biggest match-up of the weekend sees Wasps take on Saracens with Bath playing Worcester and Harlequins clashing with Gloucester.

Here is the Schedule:
Sat – 26 Dec 2015
London Irish – Northampton Saints
Exeter Chiefs – Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers – Newcastle Falcons
Sun – 27 Dec 2015
Wasps – Saracens
Bath – Worcester Warriors
Harlequins – Gloucester

Logo_Top14_2012Top 14: The #Top14 doesn’t have a major fixation with boxing day being French and all. They do give some extra family time for the holiday meaning no matches until Sunday. The full slate of matches begins with Oyonnax battling Stade Francais, Bordeaux-Begles play Grenoble, Castres will host Brive, and Agen travels to Montpellier. We will also see Pau clashed with La Rochelle, Clermont tackle Racing in the second big match of the weekend with Toulouse traveling to Toulon the final and biggest match of the weekend.

Here is the Schedule:
Sun – 27 Dec 2015
Oyonnax – Stade Francais
Bordeaux-Begles – Grenoble
Castres – Brive
Montpellier – Agen
Pau – La Rochelle
Clermont Auvergne – Racing 92
Toulouse – Toulon

Pro12_launch_2015_captains_logoGuinness Pro 12: In the Pro 12, Boxing day weekend is derby day weekend. Each match will be a match between rivals in the same country, with some of them having a long history of facing each other in big games. Scarlets renew un-pleasantries with Ospreys and Connacht face Ulster in the “other” Irish derby. The battle for Italy will see Zebre take on Treviso, Newport-Gwent will take on Cardiff. We will see the first game in the 1872 Cup, which is played between Glasgow and Edinburgh, as the two cities have been rugby rivals dating back that far. Finally, It cannot be considered derby weekend without the O’Classico match. The O’Classico will feature Leinster traveling to Thomond Park to face the mighty men of Munster.

Here is the Schedule:
Sat – 26 Dec 2015
Scarlets – Ospreys
Connacht – Ulster
Sun – 27 Dec 2015
Zebre – Benetton Treviso
Newport-Gwent Dragons – Cardiff Blues
Edinburgh – Glasgow Warriors
Munster – Leinster

That is 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, Ronan Nelson, Kaitlin McCabe, Kyle Phillips, 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.