MacGinty, Kockott, Halaholo, Pisi, PRO Rugby, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

AJ McGinty
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AJ MacGinty
AJ MacGinty

NEW YORK, NY – Welcome to another weekend of fantastic rugby action. Our coverage begins with looking at the top three domestic competitions in Europe as playoffs loom. Then we take a look at all of Super Rugby action this weekend along with some Tier 2 coverage. Before we get to that though we have to cover all of the Rugby News and Transactions that occured over the course of the week. So without further adieu, let’s get into the Weekend Rugby Preview.

News & Transactions:

Aviva Premiership: USA fly-half AJ MacGinty joins the contingent of American players in the English Premiership as he signs with the Sale Sharks. Strangely, former USA fly-half Mike Hercus also played for Sale. Sale continued to gear up for next season by signing Rugby League star Josh Charnley from Wigan. Still only 24 years of age, Charnley has played 152 games for Wigan and scored an incredible 148 tries and kicked 94 goals… London Irish have completed the signing of South African born second-rower Sebastian De Chaves from Leicester Tigers on a two-year contract. De Chaves will be packing down with another new London Irish signee. The club have secured the services of 22 year-old prop Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, a former Junior World Cup Champion with England U-20s, who will join from Northampton Saints ahead of the 2016/17 season on a two year contract… Northampton Saints fans can console themselves with the news that the club have announced that full-back Ahsee Tuala has put pen to paper on a new deal with the Saints…  Gloucester confirmed the signing of tighthead prop Josh Hohneck, who will join the club for the 2016/17 season from the Highlanders in Super Rugby.

#Top 14: Castres announced that France international scrum-half Rory Kockott has put pen to paper on a new three-year contract at the club.

Pro 12: Edinburgh announced that lock Fraser McKenzie signed a new deal which will see him remain at the PRO12 club until May 2019… Cardiff Blues announced the signing of flamboyant center Willis Halaholo from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes.

Super Rugby: Sunwolves and Samoa international fly-half Tusi Pisi will play for Bristol next season after signing a two-year deal at the Championship side.

Mils Muliaina
Mils Muliaina

Pro Rugby: Former All Black great Mils Muliaina has signed with PRO Rugby. The organization ended speculation that had emerged in recent weeks by today announcing that the 35-year-old fullback will indeed be joining the San Francisco franchise… Jake Anderson and Alec Gletzer will play for San Francisco in the inaugural PRO Rugby season. The UCal Golden Bears alumni and current Olympic club members have joined the team at their Life West training camp… Tongan World Cup flyhalf Kurt Morath is joining PRO Rugby. Rumored for several weeks to be joining the new American professional competition, league Director of Rugby Operations Stephen Lewis confirmed in an interview with Matt McCarthy of the Rugby Wrap UpKyle Baillie is the latest Canadian international set to take part in PRO Rugby’s inaugural season. The versatile lock/backrow is expected to join the Ohio franchise once he receives visa approval.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: Carlin Isles, Zack Test, and Maka Unufe all return to the Men’s Eagles Sevens for Cathay Pacific/ HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and HSBC Singapore Sevens, the seventh and eighth legs of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, respectively. For the full squad list, Click here… Richie Walker has named his first Women’s Eagles Sevens touring side ahead of the home leg of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, HSBC Atlanta Sevens. Click here for the full squad list…  The dates and locations for the 2016 USA Rugby Women’s Division I and II Spring Championships, and Men’s Division 1AA National Championship playoffs, have been announced, with six sites hosting 32 collegiate programs throughout the month of April. The Women’s DI Spring Championship Round of Eight, as well as the Women’s DII Spring Championship Round of 16, kicks off the playoff season April 9-10 at five venues. The DII Spring Championship Semifinal and Final will be held at University of California, Davis, April 23-24, not far from Moraga, Calif., where the championships season will culminate at Saint Mary’s College Saturday, May 7… French Top 14 giants Racing 92 is developing new markets with Texas set to benefit. The Parisian club has set up a partnership with Austin Huns in the Texan capital.

World Rugby: Welsh match official Nigel Owens will take charge of his 71st test match when he runs out for Fiji v Tonga in Suva on 11 June and in the process will become the most experienced international referee of all time, taking over from Jonathan Kaplan of South Africa, who refereed 70 tests during his career.

The weekend’s fixtures:

Bath and Saracens meet in a rematch of last year’s final

Aviva Premiership: The 2015/2016 Aviva Premiership clubs have begun their European Cup place and playoff push. Things are only getting more intense for here on out. This weekend will begin with the match of the round as Bath welcome Saracens, Worcester travel to ExeterHarlequins play Newcastle, Sale and London Irish do battle and Leicester will host Gloucester. Finally, on Sunday, in the other clash of the weekend, Northampton meets Harlequins.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 1 Apr 2016
Bath – Saracens
Sat – 2 Apr 2016
Exeter Chiefs – Worcester Warriors
Harlequins – Newcastle Falcons
London Irish – Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers – Gloucester
Sun – 3 Apr 2016
Wasps – Northampton Saints

Clermont and Toulon meet… again

Top 14: The Top 14 has a full slate of matches this weekend also. There are 7 rounds left and the heat is on to make the playoffs or avoid relegation. The first match of the weekend sees Montpellier host Brive, then Toulouse travel to Castres as Agen roll out the red carpet for Pau, Stade Francais and La Rochelle do battle, Oyonnax and Grenoble are set to clash, and Bordeaux-Begles will challenge Racing 92. In the big match of the round, Toulon will face arch rivals Clermont Auvergne.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 1 Apr 2016
Montpellier – Brive
Sat – 2 Apr 2016
Castres – Toulouse
Agen – Pau
La Rochelle – Stade Francais
Oyonnax – Grenoble
Bordeaux Begles – Racing 92
Sun – 3 Apr 2016
Toulon – Clermont Auvergne

The O'Classico
The O’Classico

Pro 12: The Pro 12 has a very big round of its own as the playoffs loom. Ospreys will travel to Newport-GwentItalians Zebre head over to Scotland to face the Edinburgh. In an important clash with playoff ramifications, Ulster and Connacht will do battle. Also on the menu this weekend are Scarlets battle Cardiff Blues, Treviso will host Glasgow. Final match of the weekend will be The O’Classico as Leinster and Munster do battle.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 1 Apr 2016
Newport Gwent Dragons – Ospreys
Sat – 2 Apr 2016
Edinburgh – Zebre
Ulster – Connacht
Scarlets – Cardiff Blues
Benetton Treviso – Glasgow Warriors
Sun – 3 Apr 2016
Leinster – Munster

Tevita Kuridrani and the Brumbies meet the Chiefs

Super Rugby: Super Rugby continues into the fifth round of the newly re-formatted tournament that crosses 7 time zones. As for this round of fixtures, it starts with the Crusaders up against the Lions. In the other matches this weekend, the Blues will look to show off to their fans after being on the road 3 straight games against the Jaguares and the Brumbies will host the Chiefs. The Sunwolves travel to South Africa and play the Kings, The Cheetahs will face the Bulls in a SA local derby. The final match will see the Rebels and the Waratahs will do battle.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 1 Apr 2016
Lions – Crusaders
Sat – 2 Apr 2016
Blues – Jaguares
Brumbies – Chiefs
Kings – Sunwolves
Bulls – Cheetahs
Sun – 3 Apr 2016
Waratahs – Rebels

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 2B this weekend, Israel will face a physical match up against Latvia.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 2 Apr 2016
2A: Israel – Czech Republic

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.

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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.