Mighty Connacht, Pocock To Japan, USA College 7s, Saracens, USA Rugby, World Rugby News

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David Pocock
David Pocock

NEW YORK, NY – I just want to take a minute before we go over the weekend’s Rugby News, Transactions and match results to get a bit serious. Monday was Memorial Day in the USA. It is a time when we should be remembering all those that served, especially those that made the ultimate sacrifice for their respective countries. I want to make sure that this was not forgotten and extend my condolences to the families and friends of these young men and women because we will never be able to understand how they feel. With that, let’s begin the Global Rugby Recap:

The Big Story…

The poor relations have struck gold!”

Guinness Pro 12: The Pro 12 also held its championship final this weekend. The impossible dream is now a reality. A longtime developmental province for Irish rugby, Connacht was team where the other three provinces would send their has-beens or soon-to-bes to get game time. However, with the right combination of both, smart buys like USA Eagle AJ MacGinty (our pal) and leadership by head coach Pat Lam, they have reached the summit. Connacht defeated perennial Irish powerhouse province Leinster to win the title.

Here are the results:
Sat – 28 May 2016
Leinster 10-20 Connacht

News & Transactions:

Super Rugby: Wallabies and Brumbies flanker David Pocock has signed a three-year deal with Japanese Top League side, Panasonic Wild Knights, from December 2016 on. Pocock will commence duties with the Japanese team following the conclusion of the Wallabies end-of-the-year tour.

English Premiership: Bristol have announced the players that have signed on to stay with the team and will form part of their Premiership challenge in 2016/2017. Here is the list:

Forwards:  Gaston Cortes, Jamal Ford-Robinson, James Hall, Jack O’Connell, Anthony Perenise, Kyle Traynor,  Chris Brooker, Max Crumpton, Marc Jones, Ross McMillan, Ian Evans, Ben Glynn, Joe Joyce, Mark Sorenson, Glen Townson, Mitch Eadie, Nick Koster, Jack Lam, James Phillips, Olly Robinson, Rayn Smid

Backs: Luke Arscott, Auguy Slowik, Jack Wallace, Charlie Amesbury, Ryan Edwards, David Lemi, Tom Varndell, Nick Carpenter, Gareth Maule, Ben Mosses, Jack Tovey, Gavin Henson, Adrian Jarvis, Callum Sheedy, Will Cliff, Martin Roberts, Andy Uren

New signings: Jordan Crane, Tusi Pisi, Jordan Williams, Rhodri Williams, Nick Fenton-Wells, Sam Jeffries (Academy), Billy Searle (Academy), Ollie Dawe (Academy)

Departing players: Marco Mama (Worcester), Matthew Morgan (Cardiff), Ellis Genge (Leicester), George Watkins (Treviso), Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso), Craig Hampson (Wasps), Josh Ovens, James Stephenson, Darren Hudson

Pro 12: Loosehead prop Kyle McCall has committed his future to Ulster by signing a two-year extension to his current deal, keeping him at Kingspan Stadium until 2019.

USA Rugby: USA Eagle in 15s and 7s, Andrew Duratalo, has announced he will be taking a break from his Super Rugby franchise, the Sunwolves, in order to attempt to make the USA 7s team for the Rio Olympics.

This past weekend was championship weekend for the USA Rugby College 7s National Championships. All of the matches were played in WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. and were broadcast live on therugbychannel.tv

Women’s Division II fifteens champion Davenport were also the class of the Women’s DII tournament as they won the title match  24-14 over Bloomsburgh. Winning or attempting to win titles in both codes was a theme this weekend.

In the Women’s Division I it looked for all the money that Penn State would also hold the national title in both codes. However they were stopped in the semi-finals by Lindenwood, who were then denied the national title by the Life University Women 10-0.

In the Men’s DII division where my alma mater, Niagara University, were competing, we did have a dual code champion. The University of Minnesota-Duluth beat St. Louis 17-5. That made Minnesota-Duluth back to back DII champions in 15s and also the first team in Men’s DII history to win the national championship title in 7s and 15s in the same academic year.

In Men’s DI it took until the final play of the game for it to be decided as great tackle to hold up a try in the in-goal, allowed the St. Mary’s College Gaels to defeat American International College, 7-5 to win the title.

World Rugby: The official squad list for the summer internationals have been released for all the nations involved. For the USA list, go to USA Rugby website which we recommend for all Tier 2/3 nation fans; For fans of Tier 1 nations, you should go here go here. The latest edition of the World Rugby rankings are out, if you follow this link.

The weekend’s fixtures:

Clermont-Ferrand 7s: The 2015/2016 HSBC Womens Sevens Series was in Clermont, this weekend. It was the final leg of the series. As we have done all series we have a review of the tournament and team USA‘s performance, if you just click here.

PRO Rugbypro-rugby-logo_sm: Heading into the seventh week of action in the inaugural season, Denver gets a bye while San Diego hosted Sacramento, in the southern part of the state of California, Ohio were on the road at San Francisco. Our Ronan Nelson has his takeaways from the San Diego-Sacramento match, while San Fran got their first win of the season boasted by appearance of Mils Muliaina‘s PRO Rugby debut.

Here are the results:
Sat – 28 May 2016
Sacramento 23-44 San Diego
Sun – 29 May 2016
Ohio 20-35 San Francisco

Who is the European Double winning Eagle in the middle?

Aviva Premiership: The best team all season deservedly won the championship final of the 2015/2016 Aviva Premiership season. It was a game of two halves as top seeded Saracens ran out to huge first half lead against Exeter. The Chiefs fought back in the second half but couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole they created. The win makes Saracens’ England’s first Premiership and European Champions since Wasps in 2004.

Here are the results:
Sat – 28 May 2016
Saracens 28-20 Exeter Chiefs

Logo_Top14_2012Top 14: There are only a couple more rounds left in the Top 14 and with relegation already decided, it is all about making the playoffs or securing a spot in the Champions Cup. The first match of the weekend saw La Rochelle fell to Racing, then Bordeaux-Begles easily defeated Brive, Pau cruised to victory against Grenoble, Stade Francais narrowly defeated Agen and Oyonnax fought bravely in their lost to Castres. The last two games of the weekend featured the two matches of the round. The first match saw Toulouse double up on Clermont-Auvergne and the second “match of the round” witnessed Montpellier be too good at home against Toulon.

Here are the results:
Sat – 21 May 2016
La Rochelle 14-30 Racing 92
Sat – 21 May 2016
Bordeaux-Begles 34-7 Brive
Pau 29-12 Grenoble
Stade Francais 28-26 Agen
Oyonnax 20-25 Castres
Sun – 22 May 2016
Toulouse 22-11 Clermont-Auvergne
Montpellier 36-21 Toulon

Super Rugby: Super Rugby has gone from 6 teams in 1996 to 18 teams in 2016. It only covered 3 countries and 3 times zones then, now it has games in 6 countries, crosses more than 7 time zones and has four conferences. The latest round of fixtures, started with the Hurricanes winning at home against Highlanders. Following that match, the Waratahs thrashed the Chiefs and the Kings defeated a 12 man Jaguares courtesy of 3 red cards that would not have been given to any other team in the competition. The Blues fell in the other big New Zealand derby match to the Crusaders, while the Brumbies shellacked the Sunwolves. In two big South African derbies, the Stormers beat the Cheetahs and the Bulls fell big to the Lions. Meanwhile in the Australian derby, the Rebels edged the Force.

Here are the results:
Fri – 27 May 2016
Hurricanes 27-20 Highlanders
Waratahs 45-25 Chiefs
Kings 29-22 Jaguares
Sat – 21 May 2016
Blues 21-26 Crusaders
Brumbies 66-5 Sunwolves
Stormers 31-24 Cheetahs
Bulls 20-56 Lions
Sat – 21 May 2016
Rebels 27-22 Force

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 2D, Finland beat Bulgaria in Helsinki.

Here are the results:
Sat – 28 May 16
2D: Finland 24-13 Bulgaria

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 the Top 3, Japan crushed Hong Kong.

Here are the results:
Sat – 28 May 16
Top 3: Japan 59-17 Hong Kong

2016 Women’s Asia Rugby Championship: The Women of Asia also have their tournament and they are structured similar to the men. In their top 3 contest this weekend, it was the second part of a double header as Japan did the double over Hong Kong.

Here are the results:
Sat – 28 May 16
Top 3: Japan 30-13 Hong Kong

Sudamerica RugbySudamerica Rugby: Formerly the SAMC now just Sudamerica Rugby, is the same as the ENC – except it’s South America, a minor detail – and 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 divisions after that known as Divisions A, B, and C. This weekend was the first game in the Sudamerica Rugby Cup division as Uruguay fought hard but fell short to Argentina.

Here are the results:
Sat – 28 May 16
SR Cup: Uruguay 8-18 Argentina

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 seven’s fixtures began with Boland doubling up on SouthWest District, Free State narrowly fell to Pumas and Border edged out the Falcons. Saturday saw Western Province scrape past Griquas, Blue Bulls fell hard to Leopards, Golden Lions drew with Eastern Province and the Welwitschias gave up a century to the Griffons.

Here are the results:
Fri – 27 May 2016
Boland Cavaliers 32–16 SWD Eagles
Free State XV 26–29 Pumas
Border Bulldogs 29–24 Falcons
Sat – 28 May 2016
Western Province 24–23 Griquas
Blue Bulls 26–51 Leopards
Golden Lions XV 35–35 Eastern Province Kings
Welwitschias 0–101 Griffons

Exhibition Matches – In a match that has been labelled by fans as nothing more than a wallet stuffer aka the Old Mutual Wealth Cup, England handily beat Wales in Twickenham in a warm-up match before each nation goes on their summer tours to the southern hemisphere.

Here is the Schedule:
Sun – 29 May 16
England 27-13 Wales

That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, @MeetTheMatts, Ronan Nelson, Crawford Miller, Luke Bienstock, James Harrington 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.