Dean Ryan, Todd Blackadder, Fall, PRO Rugby finale, Super Rugby Playoffs

Dean Ryan then and now
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Dean Ryan then and now
Dean Ryan then and now

NEW YORK, NY – Another incredible week is behind. For us rugby journalists, there was loads of good news to report. With that, here’s what’s happening, including updates re: Dean Ryan, Todd Blackadder, Fall, PRO Rugby finale, Super Rugby Playoffs and more… so without delay, here you go.

News & Transactions:

Dean Ryan: Former Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan is set to join the Rugby Football Union in August as head of international player development. He will work with players on the England U-16 team, all the way up to the senior men’s international side.

Aviva Premiership: Bath announced the appointment of Todd Blackadder as Director of Rugby and Tabai Matson as head coach.

Newcastle Falcons announced that club captain Will Welch and back-row Mark Wilson have both signed four-year contracts… Sale Sharks had a very week. They  announced that 22-year-old full-back Mike Haley had signed a new three-year deal and they secured to a back-up to Haley with signing of Namibian international full-back Byron McGuigan from Premiership rivals Exeter Chiefs on a two-year deal. Not satisfied with that, Sale  announced that 27-year-old back-rower TJ Ioane signed a new three-year contract and they also bolstered the pack by announcing that former All Blacks lock Bryn Evans had agreed and signed an new three-year deal with the club… Harlequins confirmed the signing of New Zealand born number eight George Naoupu from Connacht for the upcoming season… Gloucester confirmed that loosehead prop Dan Murphy has left the club, with boss David Humphreys explaining it was a hard call to make.

Top14: Montpellier wing Benjamin Fall has extended his contract with last season’s Top 14 semi-finalists… France international back-row Antonie Claassen has signed a new contract with Top 14 champions Racing 92.

Super Rugby: Montpellier star signing Nemani Nadolo will link up with his new club in the first week of August. Rugbyrama report that Nadolo is due to arrive in France next week as the club continue their pre-season preparations ahead of the first round of the Top 14 season on August 20… The Waratahs announced the re-signing of 21-year-old prop, Tom Robertson who has committed to the club for a further two seasons until 2018… Sharks defence coach, Omar Mouneimne, has requested an early release from his contract, which was granted, to pursue an offer from Stade Français.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: The USA Rugby Girls High School All-Americans powered by ATAVUS kick off their summer 2016 schedule Friday, July 29, as they take on Rugby Québec’s U18 side at Mount St. Mary’s University. There will be two GHSAA teams competing in Marylanda U16 side has also been assembled – and Head Coach Farrah Douglas has named the 23-player squads for both. For a look at the team and recap of the matches, click here…The final nine seeds to the 2016 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championships at Dick’s Sporting Good Park in Commerce City, Colo., will be earned over two regional championship events Saturday, July 30. In the Midwest Championship, 1823 Rugby and the Chicago Lions have hopes of qualifying both their men’s and women’s sides, while Life West and Seattle Saracens will have plans to do the same at the Pacific North Championship in San Francisco. Both qualifying events are chock-full of talented teams, making this weekend’s top finishers honest contenders at the Aug. 13-14 National Championship event in Colorado. For more info, click here.

World Rugby: World Rugby confirms the most scientific and extensive pre-event anti-doping program ever undertaken in rugby has resulted in well over 1,000 samples being taken from aspiring Olympians since the turn of the year. Click here to see the results.

The weekend’s fixtures:

pro-rugby-logo_smPRO Rugby: The final round of the inaugural season has arrived.  San Francisco travels to Sacramento for the northern California derby. Meanwhile Denver travels to Ohio, in the de facto championship match. The two teams are the top two teams on the PRO Rugby table separated by 4 points in Denver’s favor.. The Aviators trial the Stampede by 4 points. Ohio’s dangerous attack just need a bonus point win to secure the inaugural trophy. Denver’s stifling defense need to ensure a win, a losing point or deny Ohio a bonus point win to secure the title. For some predictions of the match-ups this weekend check out Luke Bienstock’s piece.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 30 Jul 2016
San Francisco – Sacramento
Sun – 31 Jul 2016
Denver – Ohio


Super Rugby: It has been 5 long months, 4 if you count the international season break, since the start of the Super Rugby season but we have finally reached the playoffs. The semi-final begin with the Highlanders traveling to Johannesburg to take on the second seed and most exciting team of the season, the Lions. Meanwhile the top seed Hurricanes will take on New Zealand rival, the Chiefs.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 30 Jul 2016
Hurricanes – Chiefs
Lions – Highlanders

Premiership 7s: The play-in qualifiers for entry, groups C and D, in England’s Premiership Rugby 7s finals will be played in Newcastle at Kingston Park and Northampton in Franklin Gardens. The 4 teams in group C are Harlequins, Saracens, Gloucester and Northampton meanwhile group D will feature the Newcastle, Sale, Leicester and Worcester. The top two teams from each group will qualify to be one of the 8 teams the Singha Premiership 7s finals.

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 1A action this weekend Uganda will travel to Nairobi to face Kenya in the return match of the Elgon Cup. The Elgon Cup is held annually and contested between the rugby teams of Kenya and Uganda. The competition and the cup are named after Mount Elgon, a mountain on the border of the two countries. The men’s and women’s teams of these countries compete for their respective Cups on a Home-and-Away basis. The mens’ competition has been rolled into the 1A matches for both sides, so the match will be both a RWC qualifier and an Elgon Cup match. Kenya won the first leg by 38 points are favorites to win this home match.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 30 Jul 2016
1A: Kenya – Uganda

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, @Luke Bienstock, @MeetTheMatts, @Ronan Nelson, @Zack Stryfeller, @Brian C Cole, @Garrett Harper, @James Harrington and @Declan Yeats.

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.