Smith, Carter, Lewis, Kotze, Robson, Marshall

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aaron-smithNEW 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 Aaron Smith, Dan Carter, Steve Lewis, Johnny Kotze, Dan Robson, Rhys Marshall and more… So, off we go.

News & Transactions:

Aaron Smith: The All Black halfback was handed a one-game suspension and faces a misconduct hearing after members of the public spotted him following a woman into a disabled toilet last month, while he and his All Blacks teammates were waiting at Christchurch airport. For the full story including, how it became news, the recording the whistleblower and more, click here.

One French news source has gone as far as to say that Carter has singlehandedly made Racing the best team in Europe

Top 14: Racing 92 superstar trio Dan Carter, Joe Rokocoko and Juan Imhoff allegedly all returned urine tests containing traces of steroids following the Top 14 final. Carter and Rokocoko’s manager at Essentially Group, Simon Porter, has informed NZME that both players did have permission to use the banned substance, supplying TUEs (therapeutic use exemptions) to the appropriate authorities regarding treatment for respective injuries for Carter (calf) and Rokocoko (knee).
Hawke’s Bay and Highlanders wing Ryan Tongia has arrived in Bayonne ahead of signing a contract with the Top 14 outfit as a medical joker.

PRO Rugby: PRO Rugby Director of Operations Steve Lewis has shockingly stepped down from his position with immediate effect to pursue other opportunities.

PRO_Rugby Steve_Lewis Matt_McCarthy Rugby_Wrap_Up BW
Matt McCarthy with Steve Lewis

Super Rugby: The Blue Bulls confirmed the signing of midfielder Johnny Kotze until the end of October 2018… The Sharks announced that prop Thomas du Toit has committed his immediate future to the team by signing a new three-year contract… The Highlanders have signed Jackson Hemopo for three more years, as the versatile forward continues to climb the ladder at the franchise… The Waratahs announced the return of hooker Damien Fitzpatrick who has put pen to paper on a two-year contract with his home side… The Blues have completed their coaching staff for the 2017 season after signing Dave Ellis as their skills coach, returning home from Connacht… The Western Force have added to their backrow stocks with the signing of Fijian number eight Isi Naisarani for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Dan Robson

Aviva Premiership: Wasps announced that lock Kearnan Myall, scrum-half Dan Robson and flanker Thomas Young have all signed new contracts… Harlequins confirmed that tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler has signed a new contract with the Premiership club and that back-row forward Mat Luamanu has committed his future to the club after signing a contract extension… . Saracens confirmed that second-row Alistair Hargreaves has retired from rugby with immediate effect due to concussion. On the plus side, Saracens secured the signature of former London Irish utility-back Andrew Fenby, who joins on a short-term deal with immediate effect… Otago wing Jack Wilson will join Bath until the end of the Premiership season, the Recreation Ground outfit announced… Sale Sharks coaches Mike Forshaw and Paul Deacon have both signed new four-year deals at the club.

Pro 12: Munster have recruited three players in some key positions ahead of the start of the Champions Cup. The Irish side confirmed added some depth to their squad with the signings of Rhys Marshall from Super Rugby’s Chiefs, Thomas du Toit from Super Rugby’s Sharks and Cathal Sheridan.

usa_rugby_logoUSA Rugby: – The Maccabi USA Open Men’s Rugby squad assembled in Aspen, Colo., to accomplish some specific goals in preparation for their goal of winning two Gold medals at the 20th World Maccabiah Games in Israel. Read more by clicking here…The USA Men’s Eagles will follow “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG” with a November trip to Europe, where they will play Romania and Tonga to end the calendar year.  Broadcast information for all three November internationals, will be announced at a later date. Tickets remaining for the Eagles’ match against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks can be purchased via Ticketmaster.

Men’s Eagles | November Tour
v. Maori All Blacks (“The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG“) – Friday, Nov. 4 @ 8 p.m. ET – Toyota Park (Chicago)
v. Romania – Saturday, Nov. 12 @ 11 a.m. ET – Stadionul Arcul de Triumf (Bucharest, Romania)
v. Tonga – Saturday, Nov. 19 @ 11 a.m. ET – Estadio Anoeta (San Sebastián, Spain)

Read more here.

World Rugby: World Rugby is delighted to announce Toshiba Medical as an event partner of the World Rugby Conference and Exhibition 2016 (ConfEx). They will be present at the two-day conference, which runs alongside ConfEx 2016 on 14-15 November at the Hilton London Metropole.

The weekend’s fixtures:

rugbychampThe Rugby Championship: New Zealand have already secured the title and will look keep their unbeaten streak intact when they open the sixth and final round of The Rugby Championship against South Africa in Durban. In the other match, Australia travels to Twickenham, yes your read that right. The Aussies will be playing Argentina in England as the Argies wanted to forgo a game in Argentina hoping that the game in England will be a big money-maker.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 10 Oct 2016
South Africa – New Zealand
Argentina – Australia

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 Bath hosting Sale. Exeter welcome Gloucester, Harlequins tackle Northampton, Leicester play Worcester, Newcastle will face Bristol and finally Saracens battle Wasps.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 7 Oct 2016
Bath – Sale Sharks
Sat – 8 Oct 2016
Exeter Chiefs – Gloucester
Harlequins – Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers – Worcester Warriors
Newcastle Falcons – Bristol
Sun – 9 Oct 2016
Saracens – Wasps

Top 14: The Top 14 season continues. The twelve 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 Racing and Stade Francais doing battle… There’s also Montpellier against Castres, Bordeaux-Begles versus Brive, Grenoble plays Bayonne and La Rochelle challenges Toulon. Finally, Lyon travels to Pau and in a heavyweight bout and Clermont and Toulouse clash.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 8 Oct 2016
Racing – Stade Français
Montpellier – Castres
Bordeaux – Brive
Grenoble – Bayonne
La Rochelle – Toulon
Sun – 9 Oct 2016
Lyon – Pau
Clermont – Toulouse

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 Ulster, Edinburgh host Treviso, Ospreys go against Cardiff. Leinster will face Munster in the O’Classico and the other Italian side Zebre host the Glasgow Warriors while Scarlets versus Newport-Gwent finish off the weekend.

Here is the schedule:
Fri – 7 Sep 2016
Connacht – Ulster
Edinburgh – Benetton Treviso
Ospreys – Cardiff Blues
Sat – 8 Oct 2016
Leinster – Munster
Zebre – Glasgow Warriors
Scarlets – Newport-Gwent Dragons

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 this week began with Wellington falling to Manawatu. Tasman knocked off Auckland on the Thursday night ticket. In a Friday night lights affair Canterbury won at home against North Harbour. Saturday sees Southland and Northland do battle, Otago clash with Counties-Manukau, Waikato battle with Hawkes Bay while Wellington at Taranaki and Bay of Plenty versus Manawatu ends the weekend.

Here are the results:
Wed – 5 Sep 2016
Manawatu 50-28 Wellington
Thu – 6 Sep 2016
Auckland 31-49 Tasman
Fri – 7 Sep 2016
Canterbury 47-18 North Harbour

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 8 Oct 2016
Southland – Northland
Otago – Counties Manukau
Waikato – Hawkes Bay
Sun – 9 Oct 2016
Wellington – Taranaki
Bay of Plenty – Manawatu

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 Western Sydney visit the NSW Country Eagles, Canberra go against the Perth Spirit, the Melbourne Rising tackle the Sydney Rays and the Brisbane City will  face Queensland Country.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 8 Oct 2016
Western Sydney Rams – NSW Country Eagles
Canberra Vikings – Perth Spirit
Sun – 9 Oct 2016
Melbourne Rising – Sydney Rays
Brisbane City – Queensland Country

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, Norway hosts Finland, Hungary take on Denmark and Bosnia-Herzegovina travel to play Austria.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 8 Oct 2016
C2N: Norway – Finland
C2N: Hungary – Denmark
C2S: Austria – Bosnia-Herzegovina

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 started last weekend. In the midweek matches Columbia crushedt Peru and Venezuela did likewise to Ecuador.

Here are the results:
Wed – 5 Oct 2016
B Division: Colombia 41-14 Peru
B Division: Venezuela 52-10 Ecuador

This leaves this weekend to be the final. Venezuela will battle Colombia in final while, Peru plays Ecuador for 3rd place.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 8 Oct 2016
B Division Final: Venezuela – Colombia
B Division 3rd/4th Place: Peru – Ecuador

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