NEW YORK, NY – It was a long weekend, here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. We celebrated the birthday of vaunted civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. Now it is time to catch you up on what you have missed, re: Alesana Tuilagi, Dean Richards, Sam Underhilll, Tommy Seymour, Champions and Challenge Cup.
News & Transactions:
Top14: Toulon have completed the signing of veteran Samoa international wing Alesana Tuilagi as a medical joker, according to Midi Olimpique. The former Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons star, who turns 36 in February, arrives following the injured forced, four-month lay-off Vincent Clerc sustained. Toulon will be boosted by the signing of rugby league star Semi Radradra in November 2017, with his side Parramatta Eels confirming the move… Toulouse announced that loosehead prop Cyril Baille has signed a new contract that keeps him at the Top 14 club until June 2021.
Aviva Premiership: AP news this week was dominated by Gloucester and Leicester. Gloucester announced the signing of Owen Williams, with the fly-half joining them from Leicester Tigers ahead of the 2017/18 season.The Cherry and Whites also raided Leicester for Fraser Balmain. In addition, Val Rapava Ruskin has signed Worcester and will join the club at the end of the season.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards has no interest in returning to Leicester Tigers following Richard Cockerill’s exit. Leicester second-row Graham Kitchener has put pen to paper on a new contract to extend his stay at the Premiership outfit. Meanwhile, Australia international wing and center Peter Betham has also committed his future to the Tigers after agreeing terms on a new deal. Finally, second-row Dom Barrow has also re-signed with the club. Bath have confirmed that back-row Sam Underhill will join the club on a three-year contract at the end of the season from the Ospreys.
Pro 12: Italy international fly-half Carlo Canna has signed a contract extension at PRO12 side Zebre, which keeps him at the club until June 2019… Glasgow Warriors have received a boost with Scotland wing Tommy Seymour re-signing. Seymour has signed for a further two years through until May 2019.Glasgow Warriors have announced that Scotland international second-row Tim Swinson has put pen to paper on a new contract. Swinson signs a deal that ties him to the club until May 2020.Hamish Watson has extended his stay at Edinburgh with a new two-year deal until May 2019.
Steve Crosbie and Tom Farrell have been added to Connacht’s senior squad for the remainder of the season. Loosehead prop Peter McCabe has also joined the province on a loan deal from Munster. Crosbie, who can also play in midfield, joins the province on the back of a short term contract with Munster where he made two appearances for their ‘A’ side in the British & Irish Cup last month. Ulster backrower, Chris Henry, has signed a new two-year contract that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until June 2019.
USA Rugby: Five members of the American rugby community were recognized during Saturday’s 2016 Coach of the Year Awards at the 2017 USA Rugby National Development Summit Awards Dinner. Read more at here… Our own Matt McCarthy went to the National Development Summit and his report can be found by clicking this.
World Rugby: World Rugby has expressed it’s disappointment in the handling of George North‘s head injury incident while playing for Saints against Leicester on December 3 last year. For the detailed explanation on this new approach, click this… Argentina won the first leg of Sudamérica Rugby Sevens. The Punta del Este Sevens in Uruguay came to a thrilling conclusion with Argentina triumphant over Fiji by the narrowest of margins in the final match of a tournament that also saw Chile emerge with plenty of credit… Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 tickets on sale as pool schedule confirmed. Remarkable value for money with day tickets for each of the three pool days starting at just €5 for schoolchildren and €10 for adults.
The weekend’s fixtures:
European Champions Cup: The 2016/2017 European (Rugby) Champions Cup fifth week of action kicked 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 review 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 Bayonne falling to Bayonne, Grenoble defeated Newcastle, Newport-Gwent cruised past Enisey-STM, Bath trounced Bristol. Saturday saw Romanian side Timisoara Saracens and Stade Francis have their match postponed due to a frozen pitch. Treviso were smashed by Gloucester, Harlequins fell short against Edinburgh, Pau lost to Cardiff by the slimmest margin possible, Worcester fell to Brive, and finally Ospreys thumped Lyon.
Here are the results:
Thu – 12 Jan 2017
Bayonne 14-24 La Rochelle
Fri – 13 Jan 2017
Grenoble 31-27 Newcastle Falcons
Newport Gwent Dragons 34-10 Enisey-STM
Bristol 22-57 Bath
Sat – 17 Dec 2016
Timisoara Saracens P-P Stade Français
Benetton Treviso 0-41 Gloucester
Harlequins 18-23 Edinburgh
Pau 21-22 Cardiff Blues
Brive 17-14 Worcester Warriors
Sun – 18 Dec 2016
Ospreys 47-7 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.