Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rabo Direct Pro 12: Americas Exports Round 20 Wrap

Photo Welsh Rugby Pics
Córdoba´s Luciano Orquera saw
Zebre defeat Edinburgh
With two rounds remaining the Rabo Direct Pro 12 is far from being decided. The top two is clear with Leinster and Munster all but certain to be hosting Semi Finals. Ulster and Glasgow are likely to be the visitors with the Ospreys being the only other side in contention. The competition though now has added interest due to clubs playing for places in the new European competition which is to allocate slots on merit rather than  nationality. Teams ranked as low as last place now have everything to play for in the final two rounds. Involved were players from Argentina, Canada and the USA. The region of the Americas is the only IRB defined continent to never have been allocated a Rugby World Cup.

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports Round 20 Wrap

Photo Get Reading
England´s domestic championship is approaching the final rounds but with two matches remaining per club it would appear that everything has already been confirmed. The Worcester Warriors will be relegated, Saracens, Northampton, Leicester and Bath will be in the Semi Finals while Harlequins and the Sale Sharks wll be joining them in the new European competition next season. Changes could occur but the chances are low. Involved in round twenty were players from the Americas, the last IRB defined region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup.

Nacional de Clubes: Round Six Wrap

The sixth and final round of the Nacional de Clubes was played in Argentina over the weekend. It confirmed which teams will be playing in the Semi Finals as the four pool winners will be those advancing. Involved were notable players to have featured for Argentina including players involved in Rugby World Cups.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Top 14: Americas Exports Round 25 Wrap

Photo France Info
The penultimate round of the Top 14 was played on Friday and Saturday in France. It featured a host of players from the Americas, the final IRB defined region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup. Players from this region delivered important performances for French clubs who remain fighting hard to secure every competition point possible to secure qualification for the new European competition in addition to the Top 14 play-offs. Many other clubs are also fighting for their survival as a second club will be joining Biarritz in the second division next season. With one round remaining three clubs are tied for the second relegation slot. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

CONSUR: Chile name twenty-two man squad to face Brazil

sula 2014
Chilean rugby coaches Elías Santillán and Mark Cross have announced their squad to face Brazil next weekend in São Paulo. The largest city in South America is to be the setting for a round one match in the much changed South American Championship which is to see the teams ranked second to fifth all host two matches and do so in a manner which puts an end to players backing up by playing two or more matches on a short turn-around.

CONSUR: Venezuela Prepares for South American B Championship

Photo Emilito
Venezuela has named a fifty-eight man training squad to prepare for the 2014 CONSUR B tournament which will take place in August in Colombia. The two day training camp will take place on April 26-27 in Mérida and is to bring together players from the states of Bolívar, Carabobo, Lara, Mérioda, Miranda, Monagas, Distrito Capital, Nueva Esparta and Zulia. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Super Rugby: The Impact of Expansion to South America and Asia

Image Pink Rugby
Super Rugby will change from a fifteen team event involving five teams from three countries to an eighteen team event. Additions are to see South Africa having six teams while both Argentina and Singapore are to join the fold. Argentina 2023 reader Simon Cox has a number of notable opinions on the changes. As a New Zealander who has lived and worked in Asia Simon can offer unique insight into the winners and losers as well as giving the perspective of a rugby enthusiast. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Eric Fry signs for Newcastle Falcons

Photo London Scottish
Aviva Premiership club the Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of a new player, USA Eagles international prop Eric Fry. The Californian front-rower joins the Northern English club from second division side London Scottish in hat is to be a two year deal which will see him playing for the Falcons in the seasons before and after Rugby World Cup 2015. 

Super Rugby: Argentina and Singapore to join in 2016

Image Pink Rugby
An expanded Super Rugby competition is to come into effect in 2016. The existing fifteen teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are to be joined by a sixth South African franchise while Argentina and Singapore are both to have one team each. With two new countries added Super Rugby is to expand for the first time since it became a professional competition in 1996. Argentina will also become a SANZAR member.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Junior World Championship: Uruguay undefeated but miss out on Final

Photo HK Rugby
Questions were raised over the points scoring system used by the IRB in the Junior World Trophy as the only side in Pool B not to drop a match during pool play will not feature in the final. Uruguay defeated Japan and Namibia in addition to drawing with Canada but it will be the Japanese who face Pool A winners Tonga in the final. Japan won two out of three matches but finished with four bonus points to win the group.

Top 14: Martín Bustos Moyano scores 24 points v Paris in Spain

Photo De Rugby
Argentine winger Martín Bustos Moyano remains out of the senior Pumas squad. Capped just four times the Córdoba goal-kicking back has been unable to establish himself in the test team. Others such as Horacio Agulla, Lucas González Amorosino, Gonzalo Camacho, Juan Imhoff, Joaquín Tuculet and the young Santiago Cordero have been preferred. Bustos Moyano, nonetheless, has been a strong performer in France for both Montpellier and Bayonne. On Saturday he single-handedly kicked Bayonne out of the relegation zone by scoring twenty-four points in San Sebastien, Spain. 

Top 14: Rodrigo Capó Ortega scores against Clermont Auvergne

Photo Rugby Rama
Thirty-three year old Uruguyan second-rower Rodrigo Capó Ortega went over for a first half try in Friday´s Top 14 match against Clermont. It was his first try in nineteen Top 14 appearances this season for the 2013 champions Castres Olympique. Capped thirty-seven times by Uruguay but not having played a test since 2009 Capó Ortega is expected to return for international duty for the repercharge phase of Rugby World Cup 2015 qualification. Uruguay will face the runner-up of the Asian Five Nations and, if successful, then face the winner of Europe 3 v Africa 2, likely Russia in November. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Agustín Creevy scores first try for Worcester Warriors

Photo Worcester Warriors
Argentine international hooker Agustín Creevy scored his first try in Worcester colors on Saturday. Starting for the Aviva Premiership club the twenty-nine year old went over in the second half in what was a high scoring game which Worcester came close to winning. Creevy has missed a lot of rugby this season due to a knee injury but in making nine appearances he has, nonetheless, played more than Eusebio Guiñazú whose five premiership matches for Bath have all been from the bench. 

Junior World Trophy: Teritos named to face Namibia

Photo URU
Former Uruguayan internationals Martín Mendaro and Nicolás Grillé have named their starting lineup to represent Uruguay at under 20 level for Tuesday´s IRB Junior World Trophy match against Namibia in Hong Kong. The South American country enters the match in fine form having defeated Japan and competing to a draw with Canada. The match is the final one for both teams in the pool. Victory for Uruguay could see Los Teritos secure top spot in the pool.

Aviva Premiership: Marcelo Bosch kicks a 56 metre Penalty

Photo Veeoz
Argentine international mid-fielder Marcelo Bosch landed a long range penalty goal for Saracens in the Northern London club´s home Aviva Premiership match against the Northampton Saints on Saturday. Kicked from six metres within his own half and on an angle Bosch was applauded for kicking one of his two goals. He also scored a try in what was a man of the match performance for the leading team in England today. Bosch landed a similar penalty against New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup 2011 Quarter Final in Auckland.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports Round 19 Wrap

Photo Rugby Redefined
Organizers of the Aviva Premiership would have the public believe that it is the most competitive league in the world. But after 19 rounds of the 2013-2014 season it appears to be significantly less competitive than the Top 14 in France. Saracens leads the competition with 17 wins and 76 competition points while Worcester has 1 win and 12 points. The Salary Cap is not making it as close as the French league and nor are English sides performing as well on the European stage. It is a league with many imported players and there were  notable players from the Americas involved. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

International Rugby: USA v Scotland reaching billboards in Houston

The governing body of rugby in the United States of America, USA Rugby is heavily promoting the upcoming home international against Scotland in Houston. With the union aiming to beat the record attendance of 20,181 set last June efforts have been made including billboards as shown to the right. The form of Scotland shown thus far in 2014 suggests that the North Americans are in with a realistic chance of causing an upset.

Rabo Direct Pro 12: Americas Exports Round 19 Wrap

Photo Wales Online
Canadian Jeff Hassler
With changes in the qualifying laws for European competition having been implemented for what is to replace the Heineken Cup there is, at long last, reason for teams to take the Rabo Direct Pro 12 as seriously as English and French sides do in the Aviva Premiership and the Top 14. Indeed, the likes of the Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Edinburgh, Connacht and Zebre are no longer assured of their places in the competition. Of these sides only the Scarlets would appear to have any real chance of playing in the 2014-2015 season of the new European competition. In round 19 there were upsets and there were players from the Americas, the final IRB identified region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup. 

Nacional de Clubes: Round Five Wrap

Round five of Argentina´s domestic club competition, the Nacional de Clubes took place on Saturday afternoon. The competition serves not only to crown a national club champion but also to identify potential players for national duty. Involved in round five were players of the past and present with there being not  only players to have played in Rugby World Cups but even one to have captained Argentina. 

Top 14: Americas Exports Round 24 Wrap

Photo de Rugby
The race for the play-offs continues to heat up in France as the current Top 14 season is proving to indeed be the most competitive of all time. The headlines of Round 24 will be more about the bottom of the table than the top however as both Perpignan and Bayonne were able to win to put Oyonnax back in thirteenth position. The western French side is far from being relegated though with Grenoble´s concerning form having the club dropping further down the standings as it continues to struggle to win games in the second half of the season. A host of players from the Americas featured in round 24 and did so wth distinction to underline the strength of Argentina hosting the World Cup in 2023.

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