A quick look at the World of Rugby as it's happening, around the Regions..
The IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah, from June 18-30 with eight teams in action. Hosts USA are joined by Canada, Chile, Georgia, Japan, Russia, Tonga and Zimbabwe. The winner will be promoted to next year’s IRB Junior World Championship in France.
With the dramatic Rocky Mountains providing a stunning backdrop, the tournament will be played over four match days (June 18, 22, 26 and 30) providing great value for spectators at Murray Field. Preparations are on track with tournament organisers anticipating huge interest in the event as Rugby continues to grow in what is one of the world’s major sports markets, particularly following the decision to admit Rugby Sevens to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. For the first time a female match official, USA’s Leah Berard, has been selected for the tournament panel.
For more information go to www.nacrugby.com and irb.com/jwrt
Preparations for Asia’s first ever staging of Rugby World Cup will be boosted this month when the IRB Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) 2012 is hosted by the Japan Rugby Football Union.
The awarding of this marquee international tournament demonstrates the JRFU’s commitment to delivering major Rugby events in the run up to RWC 2019. It also underscores the massive growth potential within Asia – a Region that has experienced an 18 per cent uplift in participation since 2007.
With the JRFU having recently hosted a very successful leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Tokyo – the first international Sevens event to be hosted in the country in 11 years – these are exciting times for Japanese Rugby.
The PNC also provides a welcome and timely boost for the Game in Japan after the 2011 IRB Pacific Nations Cup was reluctantly moved from the country to allow the Union to concentrate on assisting the Rugby community affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March last year.
Five of the six matches will be played in Japan with double-headers featuring in the first two rounds of matches giving fans the opportunity to see the stars from all four teams. The opening match day on June 5 will see Samoa v Tonga (17.10 local time) and Fiji v Japan (19.10) in Nagoya while the second match day will take place on June 10 in Tokyo with Fiji v Samoa (12.10) and Japan v Tonga (14.10).
The final round will be split over two weeks to accommodate Scotland's tour to the Pacific Islands with Samoa v Japan in Tokyo on June 17 (14:10) and Fiji v Tonga rounding off the action in Lautoka, Fiji, on June 23 (15.40). More information is available at www.oceaniarugby.com and www.irb.com/pacificnationscup.
Meanwhile, it is a busy month elsewhere in Asia with Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers taking place in Malaysia as the HSBC Asian 5 Nations (A5N) Divisions 2 and 3 is happening in Kuala Lumpur. Also in Malaysia, the ARFU Junior Sevens Championships will take place in Johor Baru towards the end of the month. The final divisional tournament of the A5N will be held in Cambodia with Brunei and Laos joining the host team in the tournament.
Find out more at www.arfu.com and for more information about Rugby World Cup 2015 go to www.rugbyworldcup.com
It’s Rugby Sevens time in Europe this month for both men and women. The Women’s European Sevens Championship takes place during June in four locations within the FIRA-AER Region with the added incentive that it is a qualifying event for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, which will be held in Moscow. The Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and Russia will all host different divisions of the tournament with a record total of 34 teams taking part.
Meanwhile, June 2-3 sees the European Grand Prix series staged at Matmut Stadium in Lyon, France, with Europe’s top 12 teams in action. England, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Ukraine and Wales will all be fighting it out in this historical city during what is set to be an exciting festival of Rugby Sevens.
For more information go to www.fira-aer-rugby.com
Scotland is gearing up for a challenging tour to Oceania with Tests scheduled against Australia, Samoa and Fiji. Three matches in less than three weeks against such physical and formidable opposition will make the tour far from easy for Andy Robinson’s men.
Meanwhile, during June’s Pacific Nations Cup, IRB conditioning consultant Matt Blair will monitor in-competition recovery and training processes for all the Pacific Island teams in the tournament.
And it’s not all about the big three Pacific Islands teams with the IRB offering a Level 2 coaching course in Papua New Guinea from May 28 to June 2 and a Level 1 coaching course in the Solomon Islands from June 24-27.
For more information go to www.oceaniarugby.com or www.Rugby.com.au
Who will be the stars of future Rugby Championships, Six Nations and Rugby World Cups? In the years to come, who will be the ones to thrill us with the big hits, electrifying line breaks and individual moments of brilliance? Check out the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa during and you might just find out. Tickets are disappearing fast for the big event, which runs from June 4-22 in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, and priced at just R50 (US$6) and R25 (US$3) each, that’s not surprising.
If you’re not lucky enough to be in South Africa for the tournament you can still keep track of your team’s fortunes because, for the first time, all 30 matches will be broadcast by experienced South African sports network SuperSport. You can find out which station will be carrying the matches in your territory by checking out www.irb.com/jwc/tv.
For details on the rest of the tournament go to www.irb.com/jwc or for general information on African Rugby go to www.confederation-africaine-rugby.com
The first women’s Sevens circuit in South America has been launched in Brazil with the “Super Sevens” getting underway in San Jose at the end of June. The series, which was launched on May 9, is designed to promote the shorter format of the sport ahead of the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro and to assist with the development of women’s teams in Brazil.
“Women’s rugby is growing all over the world and we are proud that Brazil is very much part of that success,” said President of the Brazil Rugby Union (CBRu) Sami Arap.
“Today we have a national team that has been South American champion eight times in a row and has represented the Region proudly on the world stage. We believe we can develop further and achieve even better results. That is why we are rewarding the women’s clubs with this high-level national competition. The more they play together, the stronger they will become,” said Arap.
There will be one Super Sevens event held each month for the next five months with each being hosted by a club with support of the local Union and under the supervision of CBRu. There will be 10 core teams participating, made up of the top six sides in the Brazil Sevens 2011 plus four other teams invited by mutual agreement between the local Union and CBRu. For more information click on: www.brasilrugby.com.br.
For more information on South American Rugby go to www.consur.org