Larkham, NBC, RWC 2023, the AP, T14, Pro12

Stephen Larkham
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Stephen Larkham
Stephen Larkham

NEW YORK, NY – Happy Monday!! It is a really happy Monday for us Yanks, since we have the day off. Well most of us do, yours truly still has to crank out a fixture heavy edition of the Global Rugby Recap . Today’s article is stuffed with news re: Larkham, NBC, RWC 2023, the AP, T14, Pro12 and more… so without further adieu, let’s begin.

News & Transactions:

Super Rugby: Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham will be leading the franchise again in 2017 after agreeing to a one-year deal, it was announced.

Pro 12:  Munster have confirmed that 25-year-old fly-half Johnny Holland has been forced to retire from professional rugby with immediate effect due to a leg injury.

USA Rugby: Following NBC’s historic three-year agreement to broadcast the Aviva Premiership in the USA, the network has revealed its initial eight-week schedule that will be part of more than 70 matches broadcast over the course of the season. Click here to see the schedule.

World Rugby LogoWorld Rugby: World Rugby has confirmed that France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have submitted their bid applications by the required deadline… Canada’s third stop on their November test series, to be played at a neutral venue, appears to have found a home. French media sources are now reporting that the match will be played at the scenic Stade des Alpes in Grenoble. Originally slated for Saturday, November 26, the match will now take place on the evening of Friday, November 25, kickoff time to be confirmed.

The weekend’s fixtures:

Aviva Cup

Aviva Premiership: The 2016/2017 Aviva Premiership kicked off this weekend. The current champions are Saracens. The most recently promoted side is Bristol, who have returned to the top flight after defeating Doncaster in the 2015-16 RFU Championship Play-Off Final. It will be the 30th season of the top flight of English domestic rugby union competition, and the seventh to be sponsored by Aviva Insurance. This weekend began with Gloucester succumbing to a furious come back by Leicester and a Northern derby saw Newcastle holdoff Sale. Saracens thumped Worcester, Northampton fell to Bath and Harelquins barely survived against Bristol. Finally, Wasps had a big comeback against last year’s runners-up Exeter.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 2 Sep 2016
Gloucester 31-38 Leicester Tigers
Newcastle Falcons 19-17 Sale Sharks
Sat – 3 Sep 2016
Saracens 35-3 Worcester Warriors
Northampton Saints 14-18 Bath
Harlequins 21-19 Bristol
Sun – 4 Sep 2016
Wasps 25-20 Exeter Chiefs

Bouclier Brennus – Top 14 trophy

Top 14: If it feels like the Top 14 season just ended, it did. It was less than 60 days between the end of the #Top14 final and the start of the season, not to mention the players also had to deal with pre-season. The season was extended a month because of the Rugby World Cup so hopefully this year, it won’t last as long. The twelve returning teams this season are champions Racing 92, runners-up Toulon, Clermont, Montpellier, Toulouse, Castres, Bordeaux, Brive, La Rochelle, Grenoble, Pau and Stade Français… Two new teams from the 2015–16 Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 this year, Bayonne and Lyon in place of the two relegated teams, Agen and Oyonnax. It marks the first time that both teams relegated are both promoted in the following season (Bayonne and Lyon where both relegated during the 2014–15 Top 14 season). The line-up for the weekend began with heavyweights Stade Francais and Clermont-Auvergne fighting to a draw. Castres fell to La Rochelle, Lyon took down Grenoble, Pau dispatched Bayonne and Toulon shockingly fell to Brive… Bordeaux-Begles became Montpellier’s first victims and in another heavyweight bout to end the weekend, Racing 92 were too much for Toulouse.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 3 Sep 2016
Stade Francais 30-30 Clermont Auvergne
Castres 18-26 La Rochelle
Lyon 32-13 Grenoble
Pau -25-9 Bayonne
Toulon 21-25 Brive
Sun – 4 Sep 2016
Bordeaux Begles 15-32 Montpellier
Racing 92 28-14 Toulouse

Pro 12: The 2016–17 Pro12 (also known as the Guinness Pro12 for sponsorship reasons) will be the sixteenth season of the professional rugby union competition originally known as the Celtic League, and the seventh with its current four-country format. It is the third season to be referred to as the Guinness Pro12. The weekend started with Leinster defeating Treviso, Ospreys thumped the other Italian side Zebre and Ulster won comfortably against Newport-Gwent. Scarlets fell to Munster, Connacht and Glasgow battled in rematch of last year’s final with Glasgow crushing the defending Champs. Finally, Cardiff topping Edinburgh finished of the weekend.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 2 Sep 2016
Leinster 20-8 Benetton Treviso
Ospreys 59-5 Zebre
Ulster 29-8 Newport Gwent Dragons
Sat – 3 Sep 2016
Scarlets 13-23 Munster
Connacht 5-41 Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff Blues 34-16 Edinburgh

The Currie Cup

2016 Currie Cup qualification: The tournament is a competition that will be played between 5 August and 15 October 2016 and will feature nine teams that qualified through the 2016 Currie Cup qualification competition. The 9 South African provincial unions are Pumas, Sharks, Blue Bulls, Western Province, Eastern Province, Boland, Griquas, Free State and Golden Lions. This will be the 78th edition of South Africa’s premier domestic rugby union competition. The fourth round of fixtures began when Griquas smashed Eastern Province. The weekend would be a clean sweep for all the home sides. Boland edged out the Pumas and the Blue Bulls upset the Golden Lions. Free State crushed Eastern Province and Western Province comfortably defeated the  Sharks.

Here are the results:
Wed – 31 Aug 2016
47-24 Eastern Province
Here is the schedule:
Fri – 2 Sep 2016
Boland 25-22 Pumas
Blue Bulls 31-17 Golden Lions
Sat – 3 Sep 2016
Free State 57-25 Eastern Province
Western Province 34-27 Sharks

The Kel Tremain Memorial Trophy now the Mitre 10 Cup rugby trophy.

Mitre 10 Cup: The Mitre 10 Cup (formally known “National Provincial Championship” or “NPC“) is the highest level of New Zealand domestic professional rugby union competition, contested annually from late August to early November and managed by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU). Building off competitions dating back to the National Provincial Championship in 1976, with teams from a number of provinces, the Mitre 10 Cup officially started with the 2006 season with 14 teams after the National Provincial Championship (NPC) was split into this professional competition and the amateur Heartland Championship competition. The competition was known as the Air New Zealand Cup to the end of the 2009 season; the name then changed to the ITM Cup for the 2010 season after ITM, the trading name of Independent Timber Merchants Co-operative Ltd., a New Zealand building supplies retailer took over as lead sponsor. In 2016 the New Zealand-owned home improvement and garden retailer, Mitre 10 took over sponsorship after out-bidding ITM. For the Mitre 10 Cup competition it will involve the top 14 provincial unions of New Zealand. With 12 All Blacks released back to the provincial sides for the weekend, it guarantees that the action will only get more intense. The schedule for week three began with Otago beating Northland. Hawkes Bay fell to Counties Manukau on the Thursday night ticket, with Southland being demolished by Auckland in a Friday night lights affair. Saturday saw Tasman up-end Taranaki, Wellington beat North Harbour, Northland were no match for Canterbury and Bay of Plenty were edged out by Otago while Waikato overpowered Manawatu.

Here is the schedule:
Wed – 31 Aug 2016
Otago 33-28 Northland
Thu – 1 Sep 2016
Hawkes Bay 20-48 Counties Manukau
Fri – 2 Sep 2016
Southland 16-51 Auckland
Sat – 3 Sep 2016
Tasman 25-20 Taranaki
Wellington 21-17 North Harbour
Northland 34-52 Canterbury
Sun – 4 Sep 2016
Bay Of Plenty 32-33 Otago
Waikato 19-10 Manawatu

Aus. NRC: Australia’s third tier competition goes into its third year as the National Rugby Championship kicks off. Those with New York Rugby Club ties like me, will be supporting the two-time defending champs Brisbane City since one of their feeder clubs, is New York’s sister club West (Brisbane) Bulldogs. This weekend saw the Sydney Rays defeated the Perth Spirit, Brisbane City were too strong for Western Sydney, the Melbourne Rising won a shootout against Queensland County and the University of Canberra were crushed by the New South Wales Country.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 2 Sep 2016
Sydney Rays 28-8 Perth Spirit
Sat – 3 Sep 2016
Brisbane City 44-36 Western Sydney Rams
Melbourne Rising 46-32 Queensland Country
Sat – 4 Sep 2016
UC Vikings 28-60 NSW Country Eagles

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 Championship, Trophy, Conference 1 North &1 South and 2 North & 2 South over a two-year cycle. The Championship, 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.

In Conference 1 North this weekend, Sweden hosted the Czech Republic. The Czech made a flying start to their 2019 World Cup qualifying with a dominate win on foreign soil.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 3 Sep 2016
C1N: Sweden 14-56 Czech Republic

That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Pageand follow us on Twitter@: @RugbyWrapUp, @Junoir Blaber, @MeetTheMatts, @Luke Bienstock, @Ronan Nelson, @Zack Stryfeller, @Brian C Cole, @Garrett Harper, @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