Joe Schmidt, Hickey, Southern Hemisphere-geddon, USA Rugby and World Rugby News

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Joe Schmidt
Joe Schmidt

NEW YORK, NY – Like most weekends the Rugby News and Transactions was kind of slow this weekend, except for one major development. It was in the fixtures department that all the big news occurred. We had signs Southern Hemisphere-geddon was upon us. The explanation of that is forthcoming, I assure you. And so without further delay, let’s begin the Global Rugby Recap:

News & Transactions:

Super Rugby: Ireland national team coach Joe Schmidt has confirmed that he has been approached by the defending Super Rugby champions, the Highlanders. It means we could see the current Ireland boss take over the reins as head coach at the Dunedin outfit, when his contract runs out at the end of 2017… The Cheetahs have announced that seven centers, including captain Francois Venter, have signed new deals to continue playing til 2017. Joining Venter in inking a contract are Ali Mgijima, William Small-Smith, Michael van der Spuy, Nico Lee, Lihleli Xoli and Tertius Kruger.

Top14: Bordeaux Bègles announced that fly-half Simon Hickey has put his “John Hancock” on a new two-year contract, but is unavailable until November. The 22-year-old is contractually bound to play for Auckland in the Mitre 10(NPC) Cup, which kicks off in July and runs until October.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: Qualification for the 2016 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championships began this weekend when the Midwest, Pacific North, and South Conferences held competitions that will ultimately end in regional championship tournaments. The three aforementioned regions are the only competitions that play towards a championship qualifying tournament, while the other five Competitive Regions compete in a qualifying series, accumulating points at each stop… Seven potential Women’s Eagles debutantes have been selected to head coach Pete Steinberg’s national team for the upcoming Women’s Rugby Super Series, to be held at Salt Lake City’s Regional Athletic Complex July 1-9. For the full roster, click here.

World Rugby: The match schedule was announced for final women’s Olympic qualifier repechage tournament in Dublin, later this month has been announced. Many teams will fancy their chances of claiming the final spot at Rio 2016. Click here for the schedule. Along with the women, the match schedule was announced for men’s Olympic repechage in Monaco, also taking place later this month. There will be 16 teams bidding to secure the final place in the men’s competition at the Olympics. That schedule can be seen by clicking here.

The weekend’s fixtures:

Rugby Europe LogoLadies first:
Rugby Europe Womens Sevens Grand Prix Series: The 2016 Rugby Europe Womens Sevens Grand Prix Series consists of 2 legs. The first leg of the European Womens Sevens Grand Prix was in Kazan, Russia this weekend (the second leg will be after the 2016 Rio Olympics). The top two sides going into the weekend were France and Russia and as expected, it was those two sides that faced off in the final, with France winning. Here are the standings after this round and please note, Great Britain Royals and Lions replaced England and Wales, respectively:

2016 Rugby Europe Womens Sevens Grand Prix Standings
Standings after first leg
1. France
2. Russia
3. Great Britain Lions
4. Ireland
5. Great Britain Royals
6. Spain
7. Netherlands
8. Portugal
9. Italy
10. Belgium
11. Ukraine

pro-rugby-logo_smPRO Rugby: Heading into the ninth week of action in the inaugural season, San Diego traveled to Ohio in the league’s only match-up of the weekend. In what was expected to be a close match, Ohio put a smack-down on San Diego to claim second place.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sun – 12 Jun 2016
San Diego 29-55 Ohio

Logo_Top14_2012Top 14: The playoffs for the Top 14 finally arrived. It was only the quarter-finals but now we are only two weekends from the end of it, so that is a positive. The matches for the weekend were filled intriguing sub-plots. It began when the Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 secured a place in the Top 14 semi-finals after defeating league stalwarts Toulouse while Montpellier, thoroughly beat (as per James Harrington) non-small city upstarts, 2013 Top 14 champions and 2014 finalists Castres.

Here is the weekend’s schedule:
Sat – 11 Jun 2016
Racing 92 21-16 Toulouse
Sun – 5 Jun 2016
Montpellier 28-9 Castres

June Internationals: The Men’s June International season kicked off this weekend and there are a lot matches to go over. It was Southern Hemisphere-geddon with the Northern Hemisphere almost winning every SANZAR match-up.  South Africa ‘A’ fell to England to start the weekend, in a sign of things to come.  Wales begin their tour of New Zealand and for 55 minutes looked like the could do the impossible before they fell short. England didn’t run out of steam as they defeated  Australia in Brisbane for the first time in their history.  South Africa had the most embarrassing loss as they had a man advantage for 2/3rds of the game due to a red card and they could not find a way to win at home against. Italy traveled to play to play their cousins in Argentina and came up just short. Japan with their interim head coach snuck by Canada and finally Georgia began their tour of the Pacific Islands this year a draw against Samoa. In a midweek match, the Super Rugby Chiefs without their All Blacks comfortably rolled the Welsh B team.

Here are the results:
Fri – 10 Jun 16
South Africa ‘A’ 24-32 England Saxons
Sat – 11 Jun 16
New Zealand 39-21 Wales
Australia 28-39 England
South Africa 20-26 Ireland
Argentina 30-24 Italy
Canada 22-26 Japan
Samoa 19-19 Georgia

Tue – 12 Jun 16
Chiefs 40 – 7 Wales

Junior World Cup: The JWC is the yearly World Cup held for U-20 teams of the top tier rugby playing nations. Georgia qualified for it by winning last year’s Junior World Trophy, the second tier competition. This year’s tournament is being held in Manchester, England. For those looking to watch the action in the USA, the JWC can be seen using the Watch ESPN app on your Roku, Firestick and other devices or on As for the second round of pool matches this weekend, Southern Hemisphere-geddon continued when in a big upset New Zealand fell to Ireland. Meanwhile Australia defeated Italy, South Africa lost their battle to SANZAAR rival Argentina and England crushed their ancient foe Scotland. Finally, Wales barely edged out Georgia and France crushed Japan.

Here are the results:
Sat – 11 Jun 16

New Zealand 24 – 33 Ireland
Australia 38-10 Italy
South Africa 13 – 19 Argentina
England 44 – 0 Scotland
Wales 10 – 9 Georgia
France 46 – 14 Japan

In the third and final round of pool matches this Wednesday, Argentina face Japan, Scotland clash with Italy, and Ireland play Georgia. New Zealand and Australia emulate their senior sides as they face Wales and England, respectively while South Africa take on France.

Here is the schedule:
Wed – 15 Jun 16
Argentina  – Japan
Scotland  – Italy
Ireland – Georgia
New Zealand  – Wales
England  – Australia
South Africa  – France

WRO NAtions Cup 2016Nations Cup – The 11th annual World Rugby Nations Cup will be held in Bucharest, Romania for the tenth time in a row. It will be played between 9th and 18th of June. Normally it is run alongside the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup in Georgia but due to Georgia’s tour of the Pacific Islands in June, the Tbilisi Cup will not take place this year. Instead, the Nations Cup will feature six teams split in two pools of three, where the three European teams play the other three teams. All fixtures will be played at the 5,000 capacity Stadionul National de Rugby. The other teams in the tournament are Namibia, Spain, Emerging Italy, Uruguay and the Argentina XV. Argentina XV and Namibia won on day two against Emerging Italy and Spain, respectively. Romania’s game against Uruguay was suspended at the 36 minute mark due to thunderstorms with the Oaks leading 18-0. The game will resume on Tuesday.

Here are the results:
Mon – 14 Jun 16
NC: Argentina XV 40 – 30 Emerging Italy
NC: Namibia 34 – 32 Spain
NC: Uruguay 0 – 18 Romania (suspended after 35 minutes)

Pacific Nations Cup: Of all of World Rugby’s Cup tournaments to benefit Tier 2 and Tier 3 nations, the Pacific Nations Cup is arguably the biggest and best. The Pacific island nations of Tonga, Fiji and Manu Samoa are the top tier 2 nations in the world. They produce some of the world’s best players and on occasion a side can be found to be ranked higher than a 6 Nations side. This year’s PNC doubles as Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying matches. With Georgia‘s tour of the Pacific Islands, it appears that when one of the three nations is suppose to be on a bye, they will be playing Georgia. While Samoa played Georgia as we previously mentioned,  Fiji did battle with Tonga in the first round of action. Fiji overcome a 15-0 half-time deficit to beat Tonga.

Here are the results:
Sat – 11 Jun 16
Fiji 23-18 Tonga

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 we were suppose to see a promotion/relegation match when Ecuador and Guatemala do battle for Division B status. However, the play-off match between has been postponed until August 27. The fixture had been set to take place this weekend but has been delayed due to problems in Ecuador.

Here are the results:
Sat – 11 Jun 16

Ecuador – Guatemala (postponed)

Rugby AfriqueAfrica Cup: The Africa Cup 2016 will be the sixteenth 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, 2 West, 2 East, and 2 South), with promotion and relegation. In 1B, the teams are divided into pools and in pool A action this weekend, Madagascar made Zambia the latest side to fail to defeat them at fortress Antananarivo.

Here are the results:
Sun – 12 Jun 16

1B (Pool A): Madagascar 24 – 15 Zambia

2016 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 nine’s fixtures started the Blue Bulls edging the Sharks and SouthWest District defeated rivals Border. Saturday saw the Falcons trounce the Welwitschias and finally the Golden Lions upset the Griquas.

Here are the results:
Fri – 10 Jun 16
Blue Bulls 22–18 Sharks XV
SWD Eagles 39–22 Border Bulldogs
Sat – 11 Jun 16
66–5 Welwitschias
Golden Lions XV 52–37 Griquas

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, Luke Bienstock, Ronan Nelson, Crawford Miller, 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