We bring you a global snapshot of what’s going on in the world of Rugby
Women’s Rugby is on the rise all over Africa and nowhere is that more obvious than in Tunisia. With the national Sevens side preparing for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow at the end of June, there will be a fantastic week of activity taking place in Tunis from April 13-21.
Important from a legacy point of view, the week kicks off on April 13 with a workshop for coaches before the teams arrive the following day to engage in an intensive training camp from April 15-19. This camp will include a wide variety of aspects, including coaches’ training support, sport psychology and nutrition advice for the teams.
The week finishes with a Sevens tournament on April 20 with Tunisia playing host to South Africa, who will also be competing in Moscow, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal and Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, this week, until April 6, there will be a trainer and educator course held in Castres, France, organised by FIRA and CAR under the umbrella of the ongoing partnership with Castres Olympique. Six trainers from Africa, two from France, two educators from Africa and six from France will be there.
Then, from April 8-16, there will be an important IRB Level 2 coaching course, again in Castres, for the coaches from the Under 19 national teams of Tunisia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Madagascar.
Finally, from April 27-28, the CAR Mombasa Sevens will take place in the Kenyan port city with teams competing from Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Nigeria, Madagascar, Namibia, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Zambia, Senegal, Uganda and the home team, Kenya.
For information about African Rugby go to www.confederation-africaine-rugby.com
Always with an eye on the development of the Game beyond its traditional boundaries, the International Rugby Board has facilitated the staging of two Test matches during April between possible future powerhouses of Rugby, Brazil and Mexico. The matches will take place on April 16 in San Jose and April 21 in Sao Paulo with Brazil using them as warm-ups for the next round of qualifiers for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Speaking of which, elsewhere in South America, Uruguay and Chile will host the 35th Campeonato Sudamericano de Rugby Mayor A 2013, organised by the Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby (CONSUR) and the Unión de Rugby del Uruguay. This event forms part of Rugby World Cup 2015 qualification process with Brazil, Chile and Uruguay seeking to stay in the race for a place in England. The winner will play the runner-up from the North American battle between Canada and USA.
It has been a good time of late for South American match officials. No fewer than four of the region’s top up-and-coming referees have been appointed to take part in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2013, which will be held in Antofagasta, Chile, from May 28-June 9.
Through their selection, Juan Sylvestre (Argentina), Platais Henrique (Brazil), Felipe Balbontín (Chile) and Joaquin Montes (Uruguay) have brought pride to CONSUR, according to Santiago Slinger, Regional Refereeing Officer. He said: “They are the doers. They have put in great effort, dedication and preparation and deserve this honour. We celebrate their achievement and it will also serve to motivate other referees in the region to do the same.”
For more information on South American Rugby go to www.consur.org.
Asia sees a month of elite men’s Fifteens action with rounds two and three of the ARFU HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division 1 tournament in Colombo on April 3 and 6. Sri Lanka host Chinese Taipei, Thailand and number-one seeds Kazakhstan in a round-robin tournament with the winner being promoted to A5N Top 5 in 2014 and continuing on their RWC 2015 qualification journey.
A big shock came on the opening day of competition with Thailand beating Kazakhstan for the first time in its history. The home side defeated Chinese Taipei in front of a large crowd that included the President of the nation and the First Lady.
Colombo also plays host to an ARFU referees’ camp, preparing the match officials for the opening two rounds of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Top 5 tournament. Japan takes on debutants Philippines in Fukuoka and Hong Kong hosts the UAE on April 20, followed by the UAE playing Korea in Al Ain on April 26 and Hong Kong hosting Japan on April 27.
Find out more about Rugby in Asia at www.arfu.com
The big event for FIRA-AER in April 2013 will be the first-ever Rugby Sevens tournament in the region organised for Under 19s. This will be held in Palma de Majorca, Spain, from April 13-14. For more details go to the FIRA-AER website.
Maintaining the youth grade Rugby theme, the first week of April will see the Under 18 competitions come to a head with Pool C taking place in Hungary and Pool D in Bosnia.
For more information on Rugby in Europe go to www.fira-aer-rugby.com
The New Zealand series of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2013 concludes this week with the Highlanders and Hurricanes Development teams taking on Junior Japan on April 2 and 7 respectively. The PRC has been the vehicle for trialling a new scrum process that requires prop forwards to bind ahead of the engagement. Initial feedback from the trial has been positive with a marked improvement in scrum stability having been noticed. A detailed report will be published in due course.
The Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) will also be holding its annual general meeting in Nadi, Fiji, on April 19 and 20. Hosting rights for this important event were awarded to the Fiji Rugby Union to coincide with its centenary. Representatives of 15 of FORU’s Member Unions will be in attendance, together with IRB regional staff, IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper, IRB Head of Development and International Relations David Carrigy and, perhaps the most important guest of all, the Webb Ellis Cup.
For more information on Rugby in Oceania go to www.oceaniarugby.com
The next round of the NACRA Men’s Championship takes place this month with the final knockout round of the 2013 tournament with the winners proceeding to the south or north round robins to determine the regional finalists.
The Bahamas and Barbados have been watching their challengers climb up the ladder and now finally get to meet them head on.
In the south, Curacao ventures to Barbados this weekend with aspirations to continue their impressive “rookie” season as a NACRA Member Union. Curacao have already beaten St Vincent and the Grenadines and British Virgin Islands en route to this match so their confidence is high. Barbados performed well last year, narrowly losing to Trinidad and Tobago and will be looking to re-establish themselves as a Fifteens power in the region.
Over to the North, where USA South has climbed the ladder to meet Bahamas in Nassau on April 13. Both teams feel that they can go all the way this year. USA South defeated Mexico and Jamaica in earlier rounds, and last year Bahamas lost a very close match to the region’s eventual champs, Bermuda.
For more information about Rugby in NACRA go to www.nacrugby.com
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