Kurtly Beale Stings Wasps, Maori v Munster, Banks to Italy, World Rugby Council

Please Share.
Kurtley Beale Hurt photo thanks to Getty Images
Kurtley Beale Hurt… photo thanks to Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY – With less Tier 2 and 3 scheduled this weekend, I had hoped that this would be a short preview. No such luck as there was some very serious rugby news – including the breaking news re Kurtley Beale getting hurt – that had to be covered along with a boatload of transactions.  So lets get all that important stuff out the way then we can run down the fixture list in this Weekend Update:

News & Transactions:

Chris Pennell has been spectacular this year for a woeful Worcester side.
Chris Pennell

English Premiership: It was a busy/happy week for Wasps. But now they’re chewing their fingernails to the bone as Australian Wallaby Kurtley Beale – who was to join the club for the 2016/17 season from the NSW Waratahs of Super Rugbyseriously injured his knee last night vs the Bulls. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as Beale signed a 1-year deal in excess of £700,000, which made him the Premiership’s highest paid player. He will likely be sidelined the entire time, if the injury reports are true. We hope for his full recovery… Meanwhile, Wasps also announced the signings of two highly-rated young forwards, backrower Tom Woolstencroft from Bath and lock Marcus Garratt from the Cornish Pirates of the Greene King IPA Championship division (just below the Premiership), both of whom will join up with the squad for pre-season training. However, defense coach Brad Davis will leave Wasps at the end of the season. He has decided to exercise a contract option to join Guinness Pro12 side OspreysBath confirmed the signing of promising young English hooker Jack Walker from Yorkshire Carnegie of the Championship next season. Bath also released Alafoti Faosiliva from his contract with immediate effect, following his recent guilty plea for assault and consequent suspended custodial sentence… Gloucester announced that experienced second row Tom Denton will join the club this summer from Leinster in the Pro 12… Newcastle Falcons confirmed that Loose Head prop Rob Vickers will remain with the club for the upcoming season… Worcester Warriors were delighted to announce that Worcester born-and-bred full-back Chris Pennell has signed a new contract with the Club. Finally, we end with the sad news of the untimely death from a traffic collision of Harlequins and England U-20 prop Seb Adeniran-Olule. Adeniran-Olule was one of the club’s most promising youngsters and an Academy member, who had been involved with the Club since the age of 13, our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.

Steve Mafi
Steve Mafi from his Leicester days

Top14: Castres announced seven new signings ahead of next season. One of the seven is Super Rugby’s Western Force forward Steve Mafi, who has signed a two-year deal with the option of a third. Castres have also confirmed the recruitment of Montpellier utility back Robert Ebersohn, Albi center Afusipa Taumoepeau, Chiefs backrower Ma’ala Vaipulu and props Daniel Kotze (Clermont), Damien Tussac (Montauban) and Tudor Stroe (Tarbes). Those signings join other new faces in Oyonnax hooker Jody Jenneker and Clermont lock Loïc Jacquet.

Marty Banks
Marty Banks

Pro 12: The Maori All Blacks will play Ireland’s Munster in Limerick as part of a northern tour that kicks off with the already-announced Chicago fixture against the USA Eagles… The Ospreys announced that back-rower Gareth Delve has been released from his contract with immediate effect… Newcastle Falcons have confirmed that Italian international Josh Furno will return to the PRO12 next season after agreeing on a contract with ZebreEdinburgh have formed a partnership with George Watson’s College in Edinburgh to play fixtures at its Myreside ground next season… Glasgow Warriors’ wing Sean Lamont will play next season with the club after signing a new one-year deal… Leinster that Hayden Triggs has extended his contract and will remain with the club for the 2016/17 season and a new signing for the 2016/17 season, in the form of Jamison Gibson-Park from the Hurricanes in Super Rugby, with Gibson-Park set to join in time for pre-season training on July 1… Benetton Treviso were excited to announce the arrival of fly-half Marty Banks, who will join the PRO12 side from the Super Rugby franchise the Highlanders ahead of next season… Newport-Gwent Dragons announced that Kingsley Jones will continue to lead the region as Head Coach, and that they have dispensed with the Director of Rugby role previously occupied by Lyn Jones.

Super Rugby: The Highlanders came to terms with wing Patrick Osborne as he signed a new deal for the 2017 season… Matthew Proudfoot looks set to join the new-look Springboks management team after visiting some of the big franchises in South Africa with them. The former Stormers forwards coach, who was assistant to the current Bok head coach Allister Coetzee, was responsible for transforming the Cape side’s pack into a formidable unit.

National-Championship-Series-USA-RugbyUSA Rugby: The 2016 Club Championship contenders that will compete at the May 21-22 Men’s Club Playoffs in either Pittsburgh, Penn. or Tucson, Ariz., have been unveiled courtesy of regional postseason competitions. The May 21 Quarterfinals and May 22 Semifinals for Men’s Divisions I, II, and III will be held at Founders Field in Pittsburgh, while the western playoff rounds of eight and four will be played at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson. Each playoff location will qualify a DI, DII, and DIII team to the June 4-5 USA Rugby Club Championships at the City of Glendale’s Infinity Park. The Men’s DI Champion will be crowned Saturday, June 4, while the Men’s DII and DIII Championship Finals will be played Sunday, June 5. For more information on the teams and schedule check out the USA Rugby webpage… One the Women’s side, the eight quarter-finalists in the Women’s Division II field have emerged will also compete in the May 21-22 playoffs in Pittsburgh or Tucson, Ariz., while only one Women’s DI quarterfinal spot remains unclaimed. The May 21 Quarterfinals and May 22 Semifinals will be held at the same locations as the men in Pittsburgh and Tucson. The four teams capable of winning two games over the playoff weekend will advance to the June 4 Women’s DI and DII Club National Championship Finals at the City of Glendale’s Infinity Park. There is a USA Rugby webpage to click on for more information.

2017 WRWC logo
2017 WRWC logo

World Rugby: World Rugby had it annual council meeting. Some organizations call it a congress or an annual general meeting. There were several developments that came out of it. Here is the cliffnotes version of all the decisions made but it is best to visit the –World Rugby website for a complete list with detailed explanations.
-Bill Beaumont was unanimously elected Chairman and will begin his term on 1 July
-Agustín Pichot becomes first-ever Argentinian to serve as Vice-Chairman
The full Executive Committee is: World Rugby Chairman Bill BeaumontVice-Chairman Agustín PichotChief Executive Brett Gosper, John Jeffrey (Scotland), Brett Robinson (Australia), Pierre Camou (France), Bob Latham (Rugby Americas North), Mark Robinson (New Zealand), Pat Whelan (Ireland); Oregan Hoskins (South Africa), Wendy Luhabe (Independent) and Mervyn Davies (Independent)
Wendy Luhabe and Mervyn Davies are the first independent directors on the newly-appointed World Rugby Executive Committee.
-Elections cap historic day for World Rugby as new governance model is implemented
Georgia, Romania and the USA have achieved governance criteria stipulated within the Bye-Laws following independent analysis and will be entitled to one representative
Argentina and Italy, already represented on Council, will each be entitled to a second representative
-The Nominations Committee will review all members of Council and make a recommendation on voting numbers in accordance with Bye-Law 9.1(e) to the Interim Meeting in November 2016
-A new dedicated Nominations Committee to make recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding persons to be considered for membership of any World Rugby Committee or Working Group
-The Nominations Committee will be made up of the two independent members from the Executive Committee, the Chairman of World Rugby and an elected member of the Executive Committee
-One of the independent members will chair the Nominations Committee
-Dynamic and streamlined environment will allow the Executive Committee to address any urgent decisions between Council meetings. This now includes Laws and Regulations of the game
-All World Rugby standing committees and advisory groups to report to the Executive Committee
-The council approved the applications of Rugby Guatemala (Asociacion Deportiva de Rugby de Guatemala) and Slovenská Rugbyová -Únia (Slovak Rugby Union) to become associate member unions.

The Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 logo unveiled in Dublin click here to visit WRWC 2017 website.
Rugby experiencing record global growth and popularity with 7.73 million registered players.

World Rugby has confirmed that the pool allocation draw for RWC2019 will take place in May 2017 in Japan with the World Rugby Rankings again being used to place teams into bands for the draw.

The weekend’s fixtures:
PRO Rugbypro-rugby-logo_sm: Professional rugby in America continues to have a successful inaugural season. The games are of a higher quality than previous club competition . As the league enters into its fifth round of play we have Denver travels to  to the capital of California, Sacramento and then San Diego get to welcome Ohio. This leaves San Francisco on a bye this round. Our own Jake Frechette will have a preview of this round’s action out shortly.

Here is the schedule:
Sun – 15 May 2016
Denver – Sacramento
Ohio – San Diego

Paris 7s: The 2015/2016 HSBC World Rugby Mens Sevens Series is nearing its conclusion. The penultimate leg in the circuit kicks off this weekend in Paris and for a complete preview of the tournament and team USA analysis, just click here.

European Rugby Champions Cup: And then there were two. The European (Rugby) Champions Cup final has arrived and fittingly it is an Anglo-Franco affair. It is fitting because England and France were the two nations that pushed for the re-modeled version of European club competition and the scraping of the Heineken cup.  Once again, the RWU Wolf Man Ronan Nelson has put together an enthralling preview featuring the RWU Analysts’ picks, that he will be out in just a bit.

EPRC Trophies

European Rugby Challenge Cup: The second tier, European Challenge Cup tournament should not be dismissed because it is a second tier competition. It holds important value for those teams trying to build a foundation of success. This season it is the only avenue to Champions Cup rugby for Harlequins because of their dismal domestic season. Meanwhile their opponents Montpellier have qualified for the Top 14 playoffs but would love to go into them having already secured some hardware.

Here is the Schedule:
Fri – 13 May 2016
Harlequins – Montpellier

Super Rugby: Super Rugby has gone from 6 teams in 1996 to 18 teams in 2016. It only cover 3 countries and 3 times zones then, no since it has games in 6 countries, crosses more than 7 time zones and has four conferences. The 12th round of fixtures, it started with the Crusaders falling to the Highlanders and the Brumbies securing first place in the Australia conference by defeating the Rebels. The upcoming matches will see the Hurricanes welcome the Reds, the Waratahs will host the Bulls, and the Sunwolves take on the Stormers. Other matches on the menu will have the Cheetahs versus the Kings in the least anticipated match of the round with the Lions-Blues match one of the more anticipated matches of the round. The final match of the weekend will have the Jaguares against the Sharks.

Here is the Schedule:
Fri – 13 May 2016
Highlanders 34–26 Crusaders
Rebels 22-30 Brumbies
Sat – 14 May 2016
Hurricanes – Reds
Waratahs – Bulls
Sunwolves – Stormers
Cheetahs – Kings
Lions – Blues
Jaguares – Sharks

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. This weekend in 1B, the Netherlands travel to Sweden, while in 2B Hungary and Andorra do battle and finally in 2C, Luxembourg host Slovenia.

Here is the Schedule:
Sat – 14 May 2016
1B: Sweden – Netherlands
2B: Hungary – Andorra
2C: Luxembourg – Slovenia

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 weekend in Division 1 there is a 2 week tournament in Kuala Lumpur to find out the best team between the Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Singapore, who are replacing the withdrawn Kazakhstan.  In midweek action, the second round of play Malaysia easily defeated Sri Lanka and Singapore nudged past the Philippines.

Here are the results:
Wed- 11 May 2016
Division 1:
Malaysia 42-17 Sri Lanka
Division 1: Philippines 24-28 Singapore

As for the scheduled matches for this weekend, Korea will host Hong Kong in the Top 3. In Division 1, Sri Lanka will play the Philippines and Malaysia will seek to go undefeated when they face Singapore.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 14 May 2016
Top 3: Korea – Hong Kong
Division 1:
Sri Lanka – Philippines
Division 1: Malaysia – Singapore

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 six’s fixtures begin with the Blue Bulls hosting the Pumas, Border against Leopards and SouthWest District challenge Falcons. On Saturday Free State take on Sharks, Boland battle Griffons, the Welsitschias and Griquas go at it and finally it is the battle of the provinces as Western takes on Eastern.

Here are the results:
Fri – 13 May 2016
Blue Bulls – Pumas
Border Bulldogs – Leopards
SWD Eagles – Falcons
Sat – 14 May 2016
Free State XV – Sharks XV
Boland Cavaliers – Griffons
Welwitschias – Griquas
Western Province – Eastern Province Kings

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.

Former Argentina scrum-half and new WR VC Augustin Pichot and Former England lock and new WR Chair Bill Beaumont
Former Argentina scrum-half and new World Rugby Vice Chair Augustin Pichot & former England lock and new World Rugby Chair Bill Beaumont
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.