Vito, Ludik, ARC, 6N, ENC, SANZAAR, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

Victor Vito
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Victor Vito
Victor Vito

NEW YORK, NY – The inaugural ARC and the start of the 6 Nations will rightfully attract a great deal of interest. But there are several other matches and important pieces of news and transactions to go over. So, without further delay, let’s get straight to the Weekend Rugby Preview.

News & Transactions:

#Top14: Victor Vito has signed a three-year contract with La Rochelle and will sever his ties with New Zealand at the end of his Super Rugby season with the Hurricanes.

Aviva Premiership: London Irish announced the signing of Edinburgh backrower and captain, Mike Coman, on a three-year deal. The Exiles also secured second rower Jerry Sexton on loan until the end of the season from Exeter Chiefs… Former South African international center Wynand Olivier re-signed with Worcester Warriors.

Louis Ludik
Louis Ludik

Guinness Pro 12: Munster and the IRFU had another good week. Munster announced that hooker Duncan Casey had signed a two-year contract extension, academy lock Sean McCarthy has signed a one-year development contract and finally 19-year-old center Sam Arnold will arrive from Ulster next season… Ulster for their part confirmed that full-back Louis Ludik had signed a contract extension. The 29-year-old will become Irish-qualified next summer. The news follows the announcements that versatile back Charles Piutau, prop Rodney Ah You and Harlequins lock Kieran Treadwell will join Ulster this summer, in addition to the recent re-signing of flanker Franco van der MerweScarlets announced the signing of South African second-row David Bulbring on a long-term contract until the end of 2018/19 seasonGlasgow have signed New Zealand-born prop Jarrod Firth on a two-and-a-half-year deal from Mitre 10 Cup side Counties Manukau, subject to visa. The 24-year-old tighthead, will be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2018, if all goes as expected.

Super Rugby: Japan international prop Hiroshi Yamashita will now ply his trade at Super Rugby heavyweights the Chiefs after signing with the franchise as a replacement to Nepo Laulala who tore his ACL, PCL and MCL ligaments in his right knee during training last week… Melbourne Rebels have signed Japanese international utlility Kotaro Matsushima for the 2016 Super Rugby season. Matsushima will join the Rebels on a short-term contract at the end of February from Suntory Sungoliath.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: ESPN are set to broadcast the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) live and  also provide replays. As part of a new agreement with USA Rugby, ESPN will kick off coverage of the competition this week. The matches will be shown live on Saturday on the website,, with a replay shown on TV on Sunday, the following day. For the full schedule, click hereHead Coach JD Stephenson has selected a USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-American squad of 26 young athletes to take on Canada’s under-20s Saturday, Feb. 13, at Dell Diamond in Austin, Texas. Click here for the full roster and more info… From December 28, 2015 to January 4, 2016, Maccabi USA’s Open Men’s Rugby team participated at the 13th Pan American Maccabi Games in Santiago, Chile, winning a gold medal in Rugby 7s, their 3rd in international Maccabi competitions – as well as a silver medal in 15s Rugby. Click here for the full story… USA Rugby Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS Head Coach Farrah Douglas held a  West Winter Camp at Grande Sports Academy Jan. 15-18. The East Winter Camp to be held at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla., Feb. 12-15. The camp saw 37 young athletes train with the national team staff before finishing the assembly with a Monday morning match. For the full list of attendees click here… High school and middle school football coaches located near Houston – the site of the first Americas Rugby Championship match featuring the United States and Argentina are invited to attend an informational session on rugby techniques, USA Rugby announced Monday. Click here for info.


World Rugby: The Southern Hemisphere’s rugby governing body has changed its name from SANZAR (South African New Zealand Australia Rugby) to SANZAAR (South African New Zealand Australia Argentina Rugby) to formally recognize Argentina‘s participation in the joint venture. They frankly owe me a check because the term was coined by me, way back in 2012 .”Their top-four finish at the Rugby World Cup and now full participation in Super Rugby adds further strength and prestige to the existing competition structures,” commented SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos… The RWC 2015 head injury assessment software is set to be adopted by World Rugby at World Rugby events in 2016, following successful outcomes at Rugby World Cup 2015… It was also announced confirmed that for the upcoming ARC matches, “Games not involving Argentina XV will now be played with World Rugby Ranking points at stake. This
adds a special edge to every match. Ranking positions are as follow: Argentina 5, USA 16, Canada 19, Uruguay 20, Chile 24 and Brazil 42.” … England and Saracens wing Chris Ashton’s ten-week suspension will stand after his appeal was not allowed by an independent Appeal Committee.

The weekend’s fixtures:


Sydney 7s: The fourth leg of the 2015/2016 HSBC World Rugby Mens 7s Series kicks off in Sydney this weekend. As usual we have a fantastic preview of the tournament and what team USA needs to do to win.  Read it all by clicking here.

Americas Rugby Championship: The inaugural Americas Rugby Championship kicks off this weekend. This tournament was a year in the making and cost $2.5 million to get of the ground but it is finally here. For great preview of each team and the player to watch for each country, check out our own stats guru, Jake Frechette great preview of the tournament by clicking here . It also features our Expert Panel’s Picks.

RBS 6 Nations: Over the years of the 4N/5N/6N the big match-up has often been someone against England. The English seemed to be hated by lots of people. Either way beyond Scotland versus England the other two matches present interesting match-ups. The RWU Wolfman Ronan Nelson has a great preview of all the matches and our Expert Panel’s picks, if you  click here.

RBS U-20 6 Nations: The stars of the future of European rugby also have their 6N matches this weekend to give fans a preview of what’s to come. Like the big boys, Ireland welcome Wales , while England will travel to Scotland and Italy journey over to France

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 5th Feb 2016
Ireland U20s – Wales U20s
Scotland U20s – England U20
France U20s – Italy U20s

RBS Women’s 6 Nations: Though they don’t get as much coverage as they often deserve, the Women’s 6N will also be kicking off this weekend. The sparse coverage aside, Friday night will begin with Scotland hosting England, followed by Ireland versus Wales on Saturday and finally finishing with the French women taking on the Italians.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Fri – 5th Feb 2016
Scotland – England
Sat – 6th Feb 2016
Ireland – Wales
France – Italy

rugby europe

European Nations Cup: The ENC, or the 6 Nations “B” , is the premier tournament for the second-tier nations of Europe. Unbeknown to some, the ENC consists of seven divisions, each featuring between four and six teams. The matches played will determine who will get promoted and relegated from groups 1B, 2A – 2D, and 3A over a two-year cycle. Division 1A, where the best teams in Europe not called England, Ireland, France, Italy, Wales or Scotland reside, has no promotion option – only relegation back to 1B. Hopefully promotion from 1A to the proper 6N will eventually occur… but we aren’t banking on it.

In 1A this weekend,  Romania will host Potugal while Russia and Georgia face Spain and Germany, respectively, matches that should be easy wins for the home side..  In 1B, the Netherlands try to bounce back from last week’s loss when they face Moldova.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 6th Feb 2016
1A: Romania – Portugal
1A:Russia – Spain
1A:Georgia – Germany

Aviva Cup
Aviva Cup

Aviva Premiership: Due to the 2015 RWC, the 2015/2016 Aviva Premiership will not take any breaks during 6N weekend this year. This means each teams depth will be severally tested This weekend begins with Bath hosting Gloucester. Saturday has Wasps welcome Newcastle to Coventry, Harlequins and Newcastle do battle, and Leicester clash with Sale. Sunday sees Exeter tackle Saracens and London Irish face Worcester.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 5th Feb 2016
Bath – Gloucester
Sat – 6th Feb 2016
Wasps – Newcastle Falcons
Harlequins – Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers – Sale Sharks
Sun – 7th Feb 2016
Exeter Chiefs – Saracens
London Irish – Worcester Warriors

Guinness Pro 12: The Pro 12 has one game this weekend. A make-up game due a postponement earlier in the year because of a bogged pitch. The match will see Ulster at home against Newport-Gwent.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 5th Feb 2016
Ulster Newport Gwent Dragons

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, Ronan Nelson, Kyle Phillips 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