Waldrom, Boudjellal, SANZAAR, Savea, Waldouck, PRO Rugby USA Rugby

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Thomas “The Tank Engine” Waldrom

NEW YORK, NY – Once again we begin the weekend with a heavy heart because of tragedy. We will continue to do the only thing we know how to do, report rugby news. That is how we push back, by refusing to yield to the madness.

For rugby fans, the dog days of July are here. The fixture schedule for international matches becomes lighter and so does the fixture list for club competitions. That doesn’t mean there is not plenty to report on. We have another quality Weekend Rugby Preview for you, with news re: Thomas Waldrom, Mourad Boudjellal, SANZAAR, Ardie Savea, Dom Waldouck and more… so without delay, let’s begin.

News & Transactions:

Aviva Premiership: Eightman Thomas Waldrom and prop Harry Williams are the latest names to commit their futures to Premiership club Exeter ChiefsLeicester Tigers have acquired the signature of rookie prop Ben Betts to bolster their front-row stocks. Betts, who was part of the Irish U20 squad, agreed to leave Ireland after the Irish Rugby Union didn’t offer him a contract according to the Leicester MercuryGloucester announced that Paddy McAllister has signed a new contract with the club and former Australian U20 prop Cameron Orr also has joined the club.

Pro 12: Connacht announced the signing of Irish qualified fullback/wing Josh Rowland. New Zealand born Rowland, whose grandmother is from Dublin, has been in Ireland since April 2016 training and playing with the Ireland Sevens side.

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal

Top14: The 2016/2017 Top 14 schedule has been released, Click here to take a lookToulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has poured cold water over reports that Diego Dominguez is set to leave the club before taking charge. As well as dismissing any talk that he has or will be meeting with Graham Henry and/or Stuart Lancaster about the head coach position. One person that will be leaving Toulon is fly-half Quade Cooper, who confirmed he is leaving the club in a message to supporters on Tuesday. The 28-year-old joined the three-time European champions last year and is now expected to return to Australia, with a return to the Super Rugby Reds speculated in recent months.

Super Rugby: We begin with some of the administrative news. First, SANZAAR defended the play-off system in Super Rugby in a statement ahead of the final round of regular season matches. Speculation earlier this week suggested that the governing body were looking to alter the qualification system for the play-offs ahead of next season following the dominance of New Zealand’s sides in this year’s competition. SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos however explained that the format would not be changed after just one year in a statement released earlier this week… Secondly, The Cheetahs lodged a complaint against referee Stuart Berry for his officiating in their defeat to the Sharks in Durban on Saturday. The men from Bloemfontein said via a statement on their Facebook page that they have reported Berry to the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and SANZAAR. Click here for the full story.

All Blacks and Hurricanes loose forward Ardie Savea has inked a new two-year deal with New Zealand Rugby and the Hurricanes, recommitting through until 2018... Brumbies prop Ben Alexander has signed on to play his 10th successive season for the club, penning a new one-year deal for 2017… The Western Force improved the backline depth for the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the signing of Gloucester center Bill Meakes on a two-year deal… The Lions have finally secured the signature of Bulls lock Marvin Orie after initially trying to sign the 23-year-old two years ago. The Bulls were able to hold onto Orie when he was 21 but after the news of Springbok lock Lood de Jager‘s move to the Pretoria franchise later in the season, Orie decided to find playtime with the Lions.

Dom Waldouck
Dom Waldouck

PRO Rugby: Ohio Aviators and Former England Saxons center Dominic Waldouck will be leaving the franchise at the end of this month to begin an initial month’s trial with the Newcastle Falcons of the English Premiership.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: The 2016 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championships at Dick’s Sporting Good Park in Commerce City, Colo., are less than a month away. Teams like Orlando Women’s Rugby and Atlanta Old White, and Miami on the men’s side, have qualified for regional championship tournaments. Other squads like National Development Academies, American Rugby Pro Training Center and Rugby Utah, look poised to not only earn a spot at the Aug. 13-14 National Championships outside of Denver, but do some serious damage once they get to Dick’s Sporting Good Park. For more info, click here… The USA Rugby Trust will host a gala in Chicago before the Rugby Weekend kickoffs. To RSVP, click here.

World Rugby: The Rio 2016 Olympics rugby balls have been released, see left. The latest teams to name their Women’s and Men’s Olympics sides are available on the World Rugby website.  Click here for the Women’s squads and Click here for the men’s squads… World Rugby has announced details of a new universal approach to its licencing programme as the international federation launches a Request for Proposal (RFP). Click here for the new RFP procedure…  Following World Rugby’s ground-breaking week of rugby medical courses in Japan, which was committed to maintaining medical management best practice within the sport, the Top League in Japan has confirmed that the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) will be made standard throughout the competition from the start of next season… Rugby Canada announced  that Liam Middleton would not have his contract as Mens’ 7s coach renewed following the team’s failure to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The weekend’s fixtures:

pro-rugby-logo_smPRO Rugby: Round 14 of the inaugural season of PRO rugby rolls on. In this round, San Diego heads to San Francisco for a California derby. While Sacramento travels to Denver with the unenviable task of winning in the mile high city. For some predictions of the match-ups this weekend check out Luke Bienstock’s piece.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 16 Jul 2016
San Diego – San Francisco
Sun – 17 Jul 2016
Sacramento – Denver

Super Rugby: This weekend begins the final round of the 20th season of competition for Super Rugby. The last round of fixtures starts with the Blues against the Waratahs in Auckland. Across the Tasman, it will be an Aussie derby as the Reds take on the Rebels and the Sharks host the Sunwolves.  Saturday kicks off with two Kiwi derbies that have playoff position and qualification on the line with Crusaders hosting the Hurricanes and the Highlanders welcoming the Chiefs. The Brumbies will hope to secure 1st place in the Aussie conference by defeating fellow Aussies, the Force. The Stormers have no worries as they take on the Kings, the Cheetahs and the Bulls will play for pride, while the Jaguares host a Lions “B team” as the Lions look toward the playoffs.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 15 Jul 2016
Blues – Waratahs
Reds – Rebels
Sharks – Sunwolves
Sat – 16 Jul 2016
Crusaders – Hurricanes
Highlanders – Chiefs
Brumbies – Force
Stormers – Kings
Cheetahs – Bulls
Jaguares – Lions

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 the 1C, there is a three team, week long tournament between Morocco, Mauritius and Nigeria. Morocco beat Mauritius last Saturday. In midweek action Mauritius fell to Nigeria.

Here are the results:
Wed – 13 Jul 2016
1A: Nigeria 31 – 21 Mauritius

In the 1A this weekend, Namibia will host Kenya while in 1C, Morocco takes on Nigeria for the right to play in the promotion playoff match.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 16 Jul 2016
1A: Namibia – Kenya
Sat – 16 Jul 2016
1C: Morocco – Nigeria

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 fourteen’s fixtures begin with the Sharks hosting the Falcons, Eastern Province welcoming the Griffons and the Pumas against the Leopards in a cat fight. Saturday will begin with Western Province taking on Border, a depleted Golden Lions side will face SouthWest District, the Blue Bulls will likely romp over the Welwitshias and finally, Free State tangles with Boland.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 15 Jul 2016
Sharks XV – Falcons
Eastern Province Kings – Griffons
Pumas – Leopards
Sat – 16 Jul 2016
Western Province – Border Bulldogs
Golden Lions XV – SWD Eagles
Blue Bulls – Welwitschias
Free State XV – Boland Cavaliers

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, 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.