NEW YORK, NY – IT took far too long for this week to end. Now that it has, it is time to catch you up on what you have missed, re: Johan Goosen, Rabah Slimani, Freddie Michalak, Gloucester Rugby, Fumiaki Tanaka, Champions and Challenge Cup.
News & Transactions:
Top14: According to his club Racing 92, South Africa international Johan Goosen has reportedly retired from rugby at the age of 24. Racing broke the news in a statement from club president Jacky Lorenzetti on the club’s website on Friday, saying: “Goosen, whose contract was overwhelmingly re-structured a year ago, now claims to be free in an incredible way. “He has announced today that he has taken the incredible decision to end his playing career, to return to South Africa for a strong role as a commercial director.” The rest of the press release can be read here. Essentially, Racing are indicating that Goosen has retired as a way to get out of his contract with the club and want to put the whole rugby world on notice of this.
France tighthead prop Rabah Slimani has signed a three-year deal with Clermont to join the side next season. Slimani, 27, also has the option for a further year, as he makes the moves from Stade Français. As one enter another exits as Clermont flanker Julien Bardy is set to leave the club at the end of the season to join fellow Top 14 outfit Montpellier, according to French Media reports. Stade Français have re-signed three players ahead of next season. They are former Super Rugby Melbourne Rebels second-row Hugh Pyle, Clément Daguin and Matthieu Ugena… Toulouse announced the signing of fly-half Zack Holmes, who will join them from La Rochelle ahead of the 2017/18 Top 14 season… Lyon announced the signing of former France international Lionel Beauxis for the 2017/18 season.
Former France international fly-half Frédéric Michalak has been announced as the new majority shareholder of a Fédérale 1 club. Michalak’s proposed takeover was accepted at a general meeting for Blagnac SRC, who played in France’s third division and are based in the suburbs of Toulouse. The club have also appointed a new president following the takeover. Michalak, 34, retired from international rugby following last year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks announced the signing of former Rugby League utility back Denny Solomona on a three-year contract… Bristol signed Tongan center Siale Piutau until the end of the 2016/17 season. Piutau, who captains Tonga, has represented his country 24 times and will make the switch from Japanese club Yamaha Jubilo in January. This will not be his first taste of English rugby as Piutau played for Wasps last season… European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) on Friday issued a statement confirming interest from Montpellier’s owners in acquiring shares in Gloucester. Read the press release.
Pro 12: Glasgow Warriors announced that Scotland international Henry Pyrgos has signed a new two-year deal with the PRO12 club. It means the scrum-half will be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2019… Munster announced that experienced tighthead prop John Andress has retired from the game after 12 seasons in professional rugby.
Super Rugby: Giant lock Rory Arnold has committed his immediate future to the Brumbies, and Australian rugby, by signing a three-year contract with the Super Rugby club and the Australian Rugby Union. The Western Force announced that club stalwarts Ben McCalman and Heath Tessmann will be their new captains in 2017… Sunwolves head coach Filo Tiatia has revealed his squad for the upcoming Super Rugby season, with Fumiaki Tanaka one of the new signings.
Wales: Wales head coach Rob Howley has welcomed the appointment of Alex King to his backroom staff for the 2017 Six Nations. King, the former Northampton Saints and Clermont Auvergne coach who was a playing contemporary of Howley’s at London Wasps, joins Wales as attack coach for the duration of the Championship campaign.
USA Rugby: The San Francisco Rush are no more as PRO Rugby folded the team. We will have to wait and see who they are replaced by.
World Rugby: World Rugby has further strengthened its commitment to injury prevention by announcing details of a zero-tolerance approach to reckless and accidental head contact in the sport. For the detailed explanation on this new approach, click this.
The weekend’s fixtures:
As always, Ladies first…
Women’s International: The biggest match of the weekend, in terms of importance was the Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers between, Hong Kong, Japan and Fiji. A victory for Japan over Fiji in the second match of the Asia/Oceania regional qualification tournament for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 ensures the Sakura 15s and Hong Kong of their place at next year’s showpiece event in Ireland.
Here are the results:
Thu – 15 Dec 2016
Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 Qualifying: Japan 55-0 Fiji
European Champions Cup: The 2016/2017 European (Rugby) Champions Cup fourth week of action kicks off this weekend. With two rounds left after this weekend fewer and fewer teams still have a chance of making the quarterfinals. We have a fantastic preview of the round, if you CLICK HERE.
European Challenge Cup: The second tier European Challenge Cup is a quality tournament in its own right. It is played by mid-table European clubs, they play good rugby and are looking to move up to the Champions Cup next season. The weekend began with Bath thumping Cardiff, Stade Francais defeated Edinburgh, Newport-Gwent cruised past Worcester, Pau fell to Bristol and Enisei-STM fell to Brive. Saturday sees Harlequins welcome Romanian side Timisoara Saracens, Treviso go up against Bayonne, Ospreys clash with Grenoble, La Rochelle host Gloucesters, and finally Newcastle challenge Lyon.
Here are the results:
Thu – 15 Dec 2016
Bath 38-3 Cardiff Blues
Stade Français 26-20 Edinburgh
Fri – 16 Dec 2016
Newport Gwent Dragons 22-7 Worcester Warriors
Pau 18-28 Bristol
Brive 38-18 Enisey-STM
Here is the schedule:
Sat – 17 Dec 2016
Benetton Treviso – Bayonne
Ospreys – Grenoble
Harlequins – Timisoara Saracens
La Rochelle – Gloucester Rugby
Sun – 18 Dec 2016
Newcastle Falcons – Lyon
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, @Brian C Cole and @Declan Yeats.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.