Langilangi, White, Cotter, Tanaivalu, Solomons, Fruean

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Langilangi Haupeakiui

NEW YORK, NY – Another week is in the books and another action packed weekend of rugby is set to unfold. Before we get to the fixtures though there is plenty of rugby news and transactions to go over. Today’s RWU Weekend Preview has news re Langilangi Haupeakiui, Jake White, Vern Cotter, Seta Tanaivalu, Alan Solomons, Robbie Fruean and more… So, off we go.

News & Transactions:

Jake White:
Jake White

USA Rugby: Glasgow Warriors announced the signing of 27-year-old USA Eightman Langilangi Haupeakui, subject to visa and medical, on a two-year contract… With just over one month to go until “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG,USA Rugby and TLA Worldwide announced they had partnered with onPeak to aggregate a selection of hotels that have incorporated discounted rates for fans visiting Chicago during the Nov. 3-6 weekend. Click here for more info.

Vern Cotter
Vern Cotter

Top 14: Current Scotland head coach Vern Cotter has been confirmed as Jake White’s successor at Montpellier. Cotter will take over at the end of the season after signing a three-year deal to replace White. The former Springbok boss, who last term led his side to Challenge Cup success, has been in charge at Altrad Stadium since December 2014 and will leave at the end of this season. Leaving with White is fly-half Demetri Catrakilis is reportedly set to leave the Top 14 club at the end of his contract. L’Equipe report that Catrakilis will head back to South Africa at the end of the season in June to return to Super Rugby, with the hope of playing for South Africa

Seta Tanaivalu shrugs of a tackler in the ITM Cup
Seta Tanaivalu shrugs of a tackler in the ITM Cup

Super Rugby:  The Crusaders confirmed that they have signed All Blacks midfielder Seta Tamanivalu for next season. Tamanivalu launched his Super Rugby career with the Chiefs in 2015 but will move south to play his third Super Rugby season with the Christchurch-based side… The Western Force have strengthened their coaching team with the appointment of former NSW Waratahs Shaun Berne as the club’s attack coach for the 2017 and 2018 Super Rugby seasons… The Blues announced that they have signed experienced prop Pauliasi Manu for the 2017 Super Rugby season.

Alan Solomons
Alan Solomons

Pro 12: Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons has stepped down from the job with immediate effect, with Duncan Hodge appointed in temporary charge… Connacht and the Irish Rugby Football Union announced that Ireland prop Nathan White is to retire from professional rugby based on medical advice following a concussion injury… Zane Kirchner is open to extending his Leinster contract but the IRFU’s succession plan policy might force him to leave the province at the end of the season… The South African full-back’s contract expires at the end of the season and while Kirchner hopes to stay at the side beyond that he knows it might not be possible… Munster have signed fly-half Steve Crosbie on a short-term deal. The former Leinster academy player has spent the last number of weeks playing Heartland Cup rugby at Wanganui in New Zealand.

Robbie Fruean
Robbie Fruean

Aviva Premiership: Bath confirmed that Robbie Fruean will be joining the club at the culmination of this year’s Mitre 10 Cup, in which he is competing with Hawke’s Bay. According to reports, Bath have also set their sights on signing Western Force and Wallabies midfield back Ben Tapuai. If Bath were to sign Tapuai, he is likely to join them in a month or two, like Fruean.

World Rugby: Federation of Italian Rugby withdrew from the RWC 2023 hosting process. The process continues with three strong applicants, France, Ireland and South Africa… Rugby’s leading decision-makers will meet in Buenos Aires this weekend when the Unión Argentina de Rugby hosts key World Rugby committee meetings. Within a week of scheduled meetings, World Rugby’s Executive, Rugby, Regional, Audit and Risk and Regulations Committees and Rugby World Cup Board will meet with new Chairman Bill Beaumont and Vice-Chairman Agustín Pichot at the helm.

The weekend’s fixtures:

rugbychampThe Rugby Championship: New Zealand have already secured the title and will look keep their unbeaten streak intact in second match of the fifth round of The Rugby Championship against Argentina. In the opener, Australia travels to South Africa as both sides push to claim second place.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 1 Oct 2016
South Africa – Australia
Argentina – New Zealand

Aviva_Premiership_Rugby_Logo.svgAviva Premiership: The 2016/2017 Aviva Premiership will be the 30th season of the top flight of English domestic rugby union competition, and the seventh to be sponsored by Aviva Insurance. 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. This weekend will have Bristol hosting Saracens and Northampton welcoming Exeter. Sale tackle Leicester, Gloucester play Bath. Wasps will face Harlequins and finally Worcester battle Newcastle.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 30 Sep 2016
Bristol – Saracens
Northampton Saints – Exeter Chiefs
Sat – 1 Oct 2016
Sale Sharks – Leicester Tigers
Gloucester – Bath
Sun – 2 Oct 2016
Wasps – Harlequins
Worcester Warriors – Newcastle Falcons

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 begins with Casters and Clermont-Auvergne doing battle… There’s also Bayonne against Lyon, Pau versus Bordeaux-Begles, Toulouse plays Grenoble and Brive challenges Stade Francais. Finally, Montpellier travels to Toulon and in a heavyweight bout and Stade Francais and La Rochelle clash.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 1 Oct 2016
Clermont-Auvergne – Castres
Bayonne – Lyon
Pau – Bordeaux-Bègles
Toulouse – Grenoble
Brive – Racing 92
Sun – 2 Oct 2016
Stade Français – La Rochelle
Toulon – Montpellier

Guinness Pro12Pro 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 starts with Connacht welcoming Edinburgh, Newport-Gwent host Glasgow. Munster go against Zebre. Ulster will face Ospreys and the other Italian side Treviso host the Scarlets while Cardiff versus Leinster finish off the weekend.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 30 Sep 2016
Connacht – Edinburgh
Newport Gwent Dragons – Glasgow Warriors
Sat – 1 Oct 2016
Munster – Zebre
Ulster – Ospreys
Benetton Treviso – Scarlets
Cardiff Blues – Leinster

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 seventh round of fixtures begins with Golden Lions against the Sharks, Eastern Province take on the Pumas, Western Province welcome Boland and Free State will tangle with Griquas.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 30 Sep 2016
Golden Lions – Sharks
Eastern Province Kings – Pumas
Western Province – Boland Cavaliers
Sat – 1 Oct 2016
Free State Cheetahs – Griquas

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 5 began with Waikato falling to Canterbury as the red and black won the Ranfury shield. Tasman fell against Counties Mankau on the Thursday night ticket. In a Friday night lights affair Wellington will be at home against Southland. Saturday sees Bay of Plenty and North Harbour to do battle, Manawatu clash with Hawkes’ Bay, Auckland battle with Otago while Taranaki at Canterbury and Northland versus Waikato ends the weekend.

Here are the results:
Wed – 28 Sep 2016
Waikato 23-29 Canterbury
Thu – 29 Sep 2016
Tasman 15-10 Counties Manukau
Fri – 30 Sep 2016
Wellington 60-21 Southland

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 1 Oct 2016
North Harbour – Bay of Plenty
Manawatu – Hawkes’ Bay
Auckland – Otago
Sun – 2 Oct 2016
Taranaki – Canterbury
Northland – Waikato

NRC logoAus. 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 will see the NSW Country Eagles visit the Queensland Country, Sydney Rays go against the Canberra Vikings, the Perth Spirit tackle Brisbane City and the Western Sydney Rams will travel to face the Melbourne Rising.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 1 Oct 2016
Queensland Country – NSW Country Eagles
Sydney Rays – Canberra Vikings
Sat – 2 Oct 2016
Perth Spirit – Brisbane City
Melbourne Rising – Western Sydney Rams

Rugby Americas North

Rugby Americas North: An on-going regional tournament is the Rugby Americas North (formerly the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association or NACRA) Championship. The RAN Championship is for the countries in North America and the Caribbean. RAN has 2 zones with top level (championship) and a bottom level (cup). Each Championship zone has 3 teams while the Cup Zones have 4 each. The Zones are regionally divided, so there is a North Zone and South Zone. USA Rugby competes in the North Zone Championship division. The USA is represented by the USA South Regional all-star team, in order to develop talent and make the competition a much fairer one. This weekend in the North, Guyana will be on the road, as they take on Mexico.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 1 Oct 16

North: Mexico – Guyana

Rugby Europe LogoEuropean 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 the Conference 2 North this weekend, Estonia hosts Hungary.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 24 Sep 2016
C2N: Estonia – Hungary

Sudamerica RugbySudamerica Rugby: Formerly the SAMC now just Sudamerica Ruby is the same as the ENC – except it’s South America, a minor detail – and that 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 CONSUR division and features Argentina’s B team, Uruguay and Chile. Speaking of the CONSUR, there B division championship starts this weekend. Columbia are against Ecuador and Venezuela take on Peru.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 27 Aug 2016
B Division: Columbia – Ecuador
B Division: Venezuela – Peru

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, @Brian C Cole 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