Burger, Morgan, Lapasset, Champions and Challenge Cup, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

Schalk Burger celebrates his try against Samoa
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Schalk Burger

NEW YORK, NY – We are now a full week into the new year. No more pleasantries about the new year from us, just a hello and glad to see you. Welcome back to another fantastic edition of the preview. As usual it will be filled th with news from Europe’s top leagues and Continental championship. We also have all the week’s news and transactions. Without further adieu, here is the Weekend Rugby Preview.

News & Transactions:

Aviva Premiership: Saracens confirmed the signing of Springbok legend Schalk Burger on a two-year contract. The world-renowned flanker will join up with the Premiership club next season. The  former World Player of the Year, will head to England after completing spells in Super Rugby with the Stormers and the Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.

#Top14: Argentina prop Juan Pablo Orlandi has joined Top 14 side Pau as a medical joker. Orlandi joins the squad after Pau lost prop Sylvain Charlet to injury… Oyonnax hooker Jody Jenneker announced that he has signed a two-year contract with Top 14 rivals Castres for next season.

Matthew Morgan
Matthew Morgan

Guinness Pro 12: Cardiff Blues announced the signing of Wales international Matthew Morgan, who will join the region ahead of the 2016/17 PRO12 season. Morgan – regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in the Welsh game – will move to Cardiff Arms Park from Bristol having put pen to paper on a two-year contract.

Connacht and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) announced that Academy players Sean O’Brien (not that one, another one) and Peter Robb have both signed senior deals. In addition to those signings, the province and national union announced that back-row John Muldoon has signed a new contract for the 2016/17 season… Glasgow Warriors hookers Pat MacArthur and Fraser Brown have both extended their stays at the club. The duo have signed new two-year contracts to stay until at least May 2018… Treviso announced that they have parted ways with head coach Umberto Casellato after they suffered back-to-back losses to Zebre.

USA FalconsUSA Rugby: The USA Falcons 7s, the USA Eagles 7s developmental side, will be coached by U.S. Army’s World-Class Athlete Program’s Andrew Locke will coach the team at Seven de Mar del Plata (Argentina) and Seven de Viña del Mar (Chile) against developmental sides from fellow HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series core nations such as Argentina, Canada, and South Africa. The Falcons kick off their South American tour at Parque Camet Saturday, Jan. 9, at 12:50 p.m. ET.

The USA Rugby’s Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS has expanded its schedule in 2016 to continue to grow the pool at the girls under-18 level, better prepare athletes for elite competition, and help accelerate these athletes’ trajectory through the age-grade pathway. Looking ahead to the 2016 season, the GHSAAs will have an increased number of top-level match opportunities in both the 15- and seven-a-side games in the U.S. and on the international stage.

Bernard Lapasset
Bernard Lapasset

World Rugby: Andy Friend has been named as Australia men’s sevens head coach on a two-and-a-half-year contract. Friend will join the Australian sevens program from Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath at the conclusion of the current Japan Top League season later this month… Rugby has been recognized by one of France’s most prestigious honours as World Rugby’s Chairman Bernard Lapasset has been awarded the title of Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur. In the New Year’s list, Lapasset was promoted to France’s top order of merit by the President of the French Republic for services to sport, having previously held the title of Officer from 2007.

The weekend’s fixtures:

ERCC_LogoEuropean Professional Club Rugby: Due to the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on 13th November 2015, matches in the European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup were postponed to a later date – later announced to take place on the weekend of 8–10 January 2016. This meant the fixtures that featured those teams in their respective domestic leagues, were postponed to a later date. This meant that the entire Top 14 Round 13 schedule was postponed: one match was moved to mid-February, and the remaining six matches were moved to mid-March. Scheduled for this weekend will be the European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Pau and Castres. The Champions Cup matches that will be played will see Bordeaux Begles play Clermont, Racing 92 welcome Glasgow Warriors, Stade Francais host Munster, Oyonnax get their home match against Ulster and so does Toulon against Bath.

European_Rugby_Challenge_Cup_LogoHere is the Schedule:

European Rugby Challenge Cup
Sat – 9 Jan 2016
Pau – Castres

European Rugby Champions Cup
Fri – 8 Jan 2016
Bordeaux Begles – Clermont Auvergne
Sat – 9 Jan 2016
Racing 92 – Glasgow Warriors
Stade Francais – Munster
Sun – 10 Jan 2016
Oyonnax – Ulster
Toulon – Bath

Aviva Premiership: The start of the new year means its time for the big mid-season push to start trying to reach playoffs or avoid relegation. 10 of the Premierships 12 teams are unaffected by the make up matches so it is still a meaningful weekend of action. It begins with Exeter playing Gloucester, Harlequins taking on the undefeated Saracens, Leicester host Northampton. On Sunday, London Irish welcome Newcastle in a key bottom of the table clash and Wasps take on Worcester.

Here is the Schedule:
Sat – 9 Jan 2016
Exeter Chiefs – Gloucester
Harlequins – Saracens
Leicester Tigers – Northampton Saints
Sun – 10 Jan 2016
London Irish – Newcastle Falcons
Wasps – Worcester Warriors

Guinness Pro 12: In the Pro 12, about half the league will be in action due to the Champions Cup matches. Edinburgh will host Treviso, Leinster travels to Swansea to face the Ospreys and Scarlets will go up against Connacht.

Here is the Schedule:
Fri – 8 Jan 2016
Edinburgh – Benetton Treviso
Ospreys – Leinster
Sun – 10 Jan 2016
Scarlets – Connacht

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.

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.