Richard Cockerill, Ben Smith, Jaco Taute and Angus Lloyd

Richard Cockerill
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Richard Cockerill

NEW YORK, NY Happy 2017 to all our fans and readers. It may not be be a great one for some – like Richard Cockerill – but it is still early days yet. Let’s getting into the news for new year re: Richard Cockerill, Ben Smith, Jaco Taute and Angus Lloyd.

News & Transactions:

Aviva Premiership: The aforementioned Richard Cockerill has been fired as Director of Rugby by Leicester Tigers, the club confirmed in a statement on Monday. Former Tigers and England hooker Cockerill, has been on the coaching staff at the club since 2004, becoming director of rugby in 2010. Cockerill said: “It is with great sadness and regret that I leave my position as director of rugby with immediate effect. I still believe that I am the right person to lead the team at this present time but respect the Board’s decision to make change as they see fit in the best interests of the club.

Top14: All Blacks star Ben Smith has attracted a big money offer from French outfit Pau, according to reports. Midi Olympique claims the utility back is on the verge of signing a deal which would reunite him with former team-mate Conrad Smith. Ben Smith’s contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union expires this year… Stade Français loosehead prop Emmanuel Felsina has signed a new two-year contract extension at the Top 14 club, it was confirmed on Monday.

Pro 12: Munster have announced that center Jaco Taute has extended his loan period until June, meaning he will miss a large chunk of Super Rugby. The 25-year-old has made 11 appearances for the province, scoring five tries and joins Angus Lloyd, who joined from Ulster at the start of the season, in remaining with the squad until June. Taute will miss the start of the Super Rugby season as a result.

USA Rugby: USA Rugby had a press release on refereeing and fitness. Click here and you can see the release which includes a fitness training video.

World Rugby: In a press release, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont hails 2016 as a special and game-changing year for rugby that inspired record numbers of young people to get into rugby and anticipates continued record participation and fan growth in 2017. For the full press release, click here.

The weekend’s fixtures:

Aviva Cup

Aviva Premiership: The 2016/2017 Aviva Premiership gets ready to start the second half of the season. This weekend began with Wasps winning a shootout against Newcastle and Bath losing a close one against Exeter in the match of the weekend. Bristol went on the rode and upset Sale with a last minute try. Harlequins surprisingly lost against Worcester, Gloucester lost a narrow one to Northampton and finally Leicester came up short against Saracens which led to the aforementioned Cockerill’s firing.

Here are the results:
Fri – 30 Dec 2016
Newcastle Falcons 30-34 Wasps
Sat- 31 Dec 2016
Bath 11-17 Exeter Chiefs
Sun – 1 Jan 201
Sale Sharks 23-24 Bristol
Worcester Warriors 24-17 Harlequins
Gloucester 12-13 Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers 12-16 Saracens

Top 14 trophy

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. The line-up for the weekend began with Lyon defeating Bordeaux in a tight battle. The weekend continued with Pau knocking off Montpellier, Castres thumped Bayonne, Stade Francis edged out Brive and Clermont Auvergne fell at Toulouse. La Rochelle put Grenoble to the sword and finally the match of the round sees rematch of last year’s final as Toulon won a tight one against Racing.

Here are the results:
Fri – 30 Dec 2016
Lyon 19-16 Bordeaux-Bègles
Sat – 31 Dec 2016
Pau 32-27 Montpellier
Castres 47-18 Bayonne
Stade Français 12-10 Brive
Toulouse 26-20 Clermont Auvergne
Sun – 1 Dec 2017
La Rochelle 40-3 Grenoble
Toulon 17-11 Racing 92

Pro 12: The 2016–17 Pro12 has hit the second half of the season. This weekend saw Edinburgh travel to and defeat Zebre then the other Italian side Treviso lost a tight contest against Glasgow. In the Irish derbies, Ulster fell big to Leinster while Connacht were too depleted to defeat Munster. Other long standing rivalries returned as Cardiff fell to Scarlets and we hadOspreys blanking out Newport-Gwent in a dire affair to complete the round.

Here is the schedule:
Sat – 31 Dec 2016
Zebre 19-24 Edinburgh
Benetton Treviso 28-35 Glasgow Warriors
Leinster 22-7 Ulster
Connacht 9-16 Munster
Sun – 1 Jan 2017
Scarlets 15-10 Cardiff Blues
Newport Gwent Dragons 0-10 Ospreys

That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page, Instagram account @rugbywrapup 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.

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