Thursday, April 3, 2014

International Rugby: April 2014

Photo CBRu
With the ever expanding product and quality of global rugby it is becoming increasingly important to monitor rugby being played in what is termed Tier Two and Three nations by the IRB. With growth comes progress and for international rugby this has seen an increased awareness outside of the traditional strongholds of the former Tri Nations and Five Nations Championships. The landscape will continue to evolve and having Argentina host Rugby World Cup 2023 would contribute to this by directly rewarding excellence and encouraging progress. 

In the month of April there will be no test matches involving the traditional powers. There will, nontheless, be international matches played featuring some teams who will be playing at Rugby World Cup 2015 and others who are still in with a chance of securing qualification. Matches are to be played in Asia, South America and Europe. 

The Asian Five Nations is to begin in the final week of April. The winner of the premier division of the tournament is to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015 as Asia 1 and face Samoa, Scotland, South Africa and the USA. Japan is expected to win and do so without being troubled. The Japanese will not feature in April though due to the odd number of competitors requiring a bye weekend for each country. Joining Japan in the 2015 competition are to be Hong Kong, the Philippines, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

April 26 Philippines v Hong Kong
April 26 Sri Lanka v South Korea

South America
The new format for the South American Championship is to begin this year. At long last the competing sides are going not be afforded recovery time. For too long the tournament was played over a one week period which saw teams playing three tests in eight or fewer days. Starting this year the tournament will see Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay all both hosting tests and playing abroad. Chile ad Uruguay, as the top two from 2013, are also to both face Argentina.

The tournament will be played in April and May with tests being played on April 26, May 3, May 10, May 17 and May 24. The two tests in April are to see the lower ranked sides playing host to Uruguay and Chile. Paraguay will host Los Teros on April 26 in Asunción and Brazil is to face Chile in São Paulo. Argentina´s involvement will occur in May with the top ranked South American team playing both matches away.

April 26 Paraguay v Uruguay, Asunción
April 26 Brazil v Chile, São Paulo

Despite the Six Nations and Division 1A of the European Nations Cup having been completed there are still tests being played in lower divisions. There are to be six matches played as part of Division 1B this month with the winner of Round 4B advancing to face the Netherlands on May 10. The winner of the Netherlands v Round 4 will advance to face Russia in the final of European qualification for Rugby World Cup 2015. That team is to be Europe 3 and will enter repercharge.

Put differently the six matches in Europe this month are of vital importance to those involved. Germany is presently leading the standings but is far from being secured of top spot. The six competing countries are the Czech Republic, Germany, Moldova, Poland, Sweden and Ukraine.

Lower division sides will also be playing test rugby this month. Countries including Andorra, Austria,  Bosnia and Herzegovnia,  Bulgaria, Croatia,  Denmark, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Serbia and Montenegro and Slovenia, Switzerland will all be playing official test matches.

April 5 Moldova v Poland
April 5 Czech Republic v Germany
April 5 Malta v Holland
April 12 Ukraine v Moldova
April 12 Israel v Andorra,
April 12 Holland v Croatia,
April 12 Switzerland v Malta
April 12 Serbia & Montenegro v Denmark
April 12 Hungary v Austria
April 12 Slovenia v Bulgaria
April 19 Croatia v Lithuania
April 12 Bosnia & Herzegovina v Norway
April 26 Poland v Ukraine
April 26 Germany v Sweden

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