Burger, Nakarawa, Retirements, PRO Rugby, USA Rugby And World Rugby News

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Jacques_Burger Rugby_Wrap_Up
Jacques Burger

NEW YORK, NY – It was another busy week in the Rugby News and Player/Coach Transactions department with four retirements and lots of movement. We also have Europe’s three top domestic competitions kicking into high gear, as well as Super Rugby and a large number of Tier 2/3 championship contests. So without further delay, lets get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

News & Transactions:

Premiership: Jacques Burger has announced that he will retire from rugby after this weekend’s Premiership game against Newcastle at Allianz Park. The old war-horse and legendary back-row forward will take to the field for the last time on Sunday, ending a distinguished career in which he has made 113 appearances for Saracens and won 41 caps for his beloved Namibia. Burger, who will head back to his homeland to begin a career as a farmer, says he is eagerly anticipating his final game. Check out his interview with our own Matt McCarthy… Burger will be joined in retirement by London Irish second-row Nic Rouse, who has been forced to retire from professional rugby due to a shoulder injury, the club has announced… Worcester Warriors hooker Ben Sowrey has become Newcastle‘s sixth new signing for next season, the Falcons have announced…Bath have confirmed that Neal Hatley will join England Head Coach Eddie Jones’ coaching staff as the new scrum specialist at the end of the season.  

Leone Nakarawa
Leone Nakarawa

Top14: Fijian second-row Leone Nakarawa will be released from his contract with Pro 12 side Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season to move to a club in France. To date Nakarawa has played 65 times for Glasgow and has scored four tries, with details of his new club to be announced at a later date.

Pro 12: Scarlets have agreed to new contract terms with front-row trio Peter Edwards, Wyn Jones and Dylan Evans, the region announced earlier this week... Scarlets winger Harry Robinson has announced that he is to retire from rugby with immediate effect due to injury… Joining Robinson in the premature retirement department is Glasgow Warriors centurion and back-row forward James Eddie who also announced that he has retiring with immediate effect… Glasgow has confirmed 13  players departing the club at the end of the season.

Confirmed departures and appearances: Jerry Yanuyanutawa (46), Tyrone Holmes (34), Kevin Bryce (12), Will Bordill (7), Shalva Mamukashvili (6), Fergus Scott (3), Gregor Hunter* (2), Jason Hill (0),  Javan Sebastian (0), Duncan Weir (106), Leone Nakarawa (66), Mike Cusack (48), Taqele Naiyaravoro (20) and Glenn Bryce (15).

Super Rugby: Western Force prop Oliver Hoskins has signed a two-year deal with Aviva Premiership side London Irish. It is a tough loss for the Force as Hoskins, 23, had represented Australia at U20 level, had progressed through the ranks in Perth.

PRO Rugby: As per ARN, fears that Ohio’s home games from Memorial Park in Obetz would not be broadcast live have been allayed as PRO Rugby has signed an agreement with Time Warner Cable for the 2016 season. Rumors had persisted that no deal was in place following the decision to partner with ONE World Sport and AOL for broadcast rights, but fans can now rest assured that they will be able to watch all games from Ohio.

USA Rugby: Maccabi USA is seeking Jewish Rugby players, ages 17 and older, to represent the United States at the 20th World Maccabiah Games in Israel, July 6-17, 2017. Over 7,000 athletes will compete from 75+ countries.

World Rugby LogoWorld Rugby: The Impact Beyond Rio 2016 program has enabled more than 100,000 children in Brazil to ‘Get Into Rugby‘ over the last year and benefit from the sport’s values. Launched in March 2015 and run by two dedicated Impact Beyond Rio 2016 program officers, Marcel Santos and Deborah Ciarla, more than 100,000 children are now playing rugby regularly during PE classes at school as a result. A collaboration with the city of Rio de Janeiro, the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Education, the program has trained coaches and teachers in more than 300 schools – including 42 new ones so far in 2016 – to allow children to ‘Get Into Rugby’ and learn from its values.

The weekend’s fixtures:

PRO Rugbypro-rugby-logo_sm: The inaugural season of professional rugby is finally here in America. The third week of action will see Denver at San Diego and San Francisco travel to Ohio.

Here is the schedule:
Sun – May 1 2016
Denver – San Diego
San Francisco – Ohio

Christian Wade will look to spark the Wasps attack
Christian Wade will look to spark the Wasps attack

Aviva Premiership: The 2015/2016 Aviva Premiership heads into its home stretch and the push for European Cup places, playoffs and avoiding relegation increases the intensity in every match. This weekend will begin with Sale at Gloucester. It continues with Leicester up against Worcester and Northampton welcoming Bath. Sunday sees a mouth watering Exeter-Wasps clash filled with playoff implications followed by a London derby between London Irish and Harlequins with the round concluding with Saracens hosting Newcastle.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 29 Apr 2016
Sale Sharks – Gloucester
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
Leicester Tigers – Worcester Warriors
Northampton Saints – Bath
Sun – 1 May 2016
Exeter Chiefs – Wasps
London Irish – Harlequins
Saracens – Newcastle Falcons

Racing are hoping to continue their winning ways
Racing are hoping to continue their winning ways

Top 14: The Top 14 has a full slate of matches this weekend also. There are only a few rounds left and the heat is on to make the playoffs or avoid relegation. The first match of the weekend sees one of the two mustwatch matches of the round. The weekend will open with Toulon and Toulouse doing battle. The other matches include Agen welcomes Brive, Pau welcome Castres, Montpellier face off with Grenoble, Oyonnax will do battle with La Rochelle and Bordeaux-Begles will tackle Stade Francais. The final match of the round will be the other match of the round as Racing 92 looks to secure their playoff place as a first round bye as they do battle with Clermont-Auvergne.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
Toulon – Toulouse
Agen – Brive
Castres – Pau
Montpellier – Grenoble
Oyonnax – La Rochelle
Bordeaux-Begles – Stade Francais
Sun – 1 May 2016
Racing 92 – Clermont Auvergne

Ulster look to lock in a playoff place
Ulster look to lock in a playoff place

Pro 12: The Pro 12 has a very big round of its own dripping with playoff and European cup permutations. Foot of the table Treviso will travel to top of the table Connacht for a whooping. Glasgow will travel to Italy and thrash Zebre, while Munster face Edinburgh. The Saturday line-up sees 2 Welsh derbies and 1 Irish derby. It begins with Cardiff taking on Ospreys and Newport-Gwent battling Scarlets with Ulster facing off with Leinster.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 29 Apr 2016
Benetton Treviso – Connacht
Glasgow Warriors – Zebre
Munster – Edinburgh
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
Cardiff Blues – Ospreys
Ulster – Leinster
Newport-Gwent Dragons – Scarlets

The many faces of Chiefs coach Dave Rennie.

Super Rugby: The newly re-formatted Super Rugby tournament continues. Under this new format, it has games in 6 countries, crosses more than 7 time zones, features 18 teams,  and four conferences. As for this round of fixtures, it starts with the Sharks taking on the Chiefs and the Force play the Bulls. The Blues will host the Rebels, the Highlanders tackle Brumbies, Reds and Cheetahs do battle, Lions and Hurricanes meet in a huge clash, the Stormers and Waratahs will go at it and the Jaguares and the Kings will seek their first win against each other.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 29 Apr 2016
Chiefs – Sharks
Force – Bulls
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
Blues – Rebels
Highlanders – Brumbies
Reds – Cheetahs
Lions – Hurricanes
Stormers – Waratahs
Jaguares – Kings

Rugby Europe Logo

European Nations Cup: The ENC, or the 6 Nations “B” , is the premier tournament for the second-tier nations of Europe. Unbeknownst 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 1B this weekend, Netherlands host Poland, Sweden travel to Ukraine meanwhile Denmark and Luxembourg do battle in 2C and finally in 2D, Turkey clashes with Norway.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
1B: Netherlands – Poland
1B: Ukraine – Sweden
2C: Denmark – Luxembourg
2D: Turkey – Norway

Asia_Rugby_Championship_logoThe Asian Rugby Championship: which is similar to the ENC (European Nation’s Cup) but with 5 divisions with the 3 most dominant teams, the tri-nations of Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan in the top division. There are 4 teams in division 1 and 2 then division 3 is broken up into East, Central and West with 3 teams each before we finally get to division 4 with 7. Believe it or not this is allegedly streamlined from previous years where it was just 5 divisions and 5 teams in each. This week, Division 3 West/Central , West and the Top 3 are in action. On Tuesday, Jordan crushed the United Arab Emirates in match whose test status is yet to be confirmed, so lets call it a friendly. In an historic occasion Saudi Arabia play their first ever test against that same Jordan side that played earlier in the week. In the Top 3, Japan and Korea will go at it.

Here are the results:
Tue – 26 Apr 2016
D3 West/Central: Jordan 41-14 United Arab Emirates XV (Friendly. Test Status TBD)

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 29 Apr 2016
D3 West:
Jordan v Saudi Arabia
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
Top 3: Japan v Korea

Rugby AfriqueAfrica Cup: The Africa Cup 2015 will be the fifteenth edition of the continental tournament that involves the best African national teams, organized by the Rugby Afrique , formerly known as the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR). Given their superiority, the South African national team has rarely participated in most tournaments. The four times the SARU has participated, they sent either a U-23 team or amateur side, and went on to win it. Beyond South Africa, there are up to 27 rugby countries in the Cup with the national participants in the two divisions with each division divided into three groups (1A, 1B, 1C, 2West, 2SouthEast, and 2South), with promotion and relegation. Tournament Divisions 1A and 1B’s games often double as qualification games for the Rugby World Cup. In a friendly this weekend, Lesotho will face Botswana.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
Lesotho – Botswana

Sudamerica RugbySudamerica Rugby: Formerly the SAMC now just Sudamerica Ruby is the same as the ENC – except it’s South America, a minor detail – and that it has 4 divisions featuring 15 teams. It is the battle to find the 2nd best team in South America with Argentina the firm number 1. The top division is called the Sudamerica Rugby Cup division and features Argentina’s B team, Uruguay and Chile. There are 3 division after that known as Division A,B, and C. This weekend was the first round in the South American A Championship and it will see Brazil play Chile and Paraguay host Uruguay.

Here are the results:
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
Division A: Brazil – Chile
Division A: Paraguay – Uruguay

Junior World Trophy and Captains

Junior World Rugby TrophyThe Junior (Under-20) World Rugby Trophy is a tournament for the second tier nations of rugby at the U-20 level. The winner gets promoted to the Junior World Cup competition which features, the top tier nations in international rugby. It is being held in Harare, Zimbabwe this year. The teams playing this year are the USA, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, Spain, Namibia, Fiji, Samoa and Hong Kong. This week will be the start of pool play. Fans can watch live streaming of the tournament around the world on the World Rugby site. In the final round of play earlier this week Fiji defeated Zimbabwe, Samoa cruised past Uruguay, Namibia crushed Hong Kong, and Spain nipped the USA to qualify for the final.

Here are the results:
Wed – 27 April 16
Pool A: Fiji 42-22 Zimbabwe
Pool A: Samoa 56-22 Uruguay
Pool B: Namibia 70-8 Hong Kong
Pool B: United States 16-18 Spain

2015 Currie Cup qualification: The tournament is a competition between which will be played between 9 April and 23 July 2016. It will feature all fourteen South African provincial unions plus the Welwitschias from Namibia and will also serve as a qualifying competition for the 2016 Currie Cup, the 78th edition of South Africa’s premier domestic rugby union competition. Nine teams from this competition will play in the 2016 Currie Cup Premier Division, while the remaining six teams will play in the 2016 Currie Cup First Division. Round four’s fixtures began on Thursday as Griffons defeated Falcons and SouthWest District outlasted Leopards. On Friday, Boland welcome Griquas, Border take on Pumas. The Welwitschias will host Eastern Province on Saturday as will Western Province, who will welcome the Golden Lions.

Here are the results:
Thu – 27 Apr 2016
Falcons 26–49 Griffons
SWD Eagles 26–21 Leopards

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 29 Apr 2016
Boland Cavaliers – Griquas
Border Bulldogs – Pumas
Sat – 30 Apr 2016
Welwitschias – Eastern Province Kings
Western Province – Golden Lions XV

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 and Declan Yeats.

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.