ARC ROUND 3 & GP12!

18 Feb 2017

Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column

ARC ROUND 3 + GP12!

If you spend less than a dollar per week for an annual subscription to The Rugby Channel you will be able to watch a huge amount of rugby.

You’ll see the Men’s and Women’s Eagles play all their 2017 matches, the Guinness Pro12, the Anglo Welsh Cup, the complete Six Nations and Americas Rugby Championships, the Women’s Sevens Series, tests from all over in June and November, numerous domestic club and college tournaments and championships, shows from around the globe like World Rugby TV and TRC Report, and to top it all off, you’ll get unfettered access to our ever-expanding archive.

That’s a fantastic deal by any standard and if you’re a rugby fan you should take advantage of it right now.

But here’s the thing. If you do subscribe and end up watching only one single match all year - specifically last weekend’s Round 2 Six Nations encounter between Wales and England – you will still have gotten your money’s worth!

You never know when a match is going to end up being a quintessential example of the entire sport but this one certainly was. It had all the expected pregame storylines and hype, the play, skill, and heart displayed on the pitch were absolutely top class, the crowd and venue were unmatched, and the finish was either amazingly wonderful or heartbreakingly awful depending upon your allegiance.

Watch it and your love for rugby will be immediately re-energized and you’ll be incredibly proud to call yourself a devotee of this game.

And that’s really the beauty of The Rugby Channel. We give you access to hundreds and hundreds of games and you can either consume every bit of it, just your favorite teams or competitions, or periodically avail yourself of our Video On Demand feature to catch the matches that epitomize the unique character and inherent virtue of the game! Subscribe Now!

Here’s a quick synopsis of what The Rugby Channel showed you last weekend so that you can make better VOD viewing choices, plus previews of what’s coming up.

GLASGOW 14 – 26 SCARLETS

The Warriors started strong but were eventually unable to crack the Scarlets very impressive defense. This was a back-and-forth affair throughout and the ultimate outcome was in doubt until late in the contest. Definitely worth a look or catch the highlights on TRC Report # 38.

MUNSTER 45 – 17 NEWPORT

Even without the stars who were shining for Ireland in Rome, Munster still had plenty of talent to give Newport a sound thrashing in Cork. The Men in Red are an imposing bunch and are looking very strong heading into the last third of the Guinness Pro12 campaign as they vanquish all comers. Simply put, they play hard-nosed rugby that’s fun to watch.

UNITED STATES 51 – 3 BRAZIL

After having disappointingly lost to Brazil on the road in last year’s inaugural Americas Rugby Championship, there was always going to be a hint of the need for some revenge in this fixture. Coach Mitchell put out a younger looking lineup to start then pummeled the Brazilians with veteran replacements in the second forty.

The strategy worked perfectly in Round Rock as the United States ran in eight tries and kept their opponents from crossing the line even once. Check this one out to see the Eagles in full flight, albeit against a side that had seemingly emptied its emotional and physical reserve  beating Chile for the first time in 36 years in Round 1.

ARGENTINA XV 55 – 12 URUGUAY

Uruguay notched the first try in both halves and then allowed virtually nonstop Argentinean scoring thereafter. The Argentina XV that are playing in this year’s tourney are a quality group of players who are using this chance to impress and earn future spots in either the Jaguares or the Pumas. Get a good look at these youngsters now because hopefully the Eagles will be playing them for the tourney title on March 4th.     

CANADA 36 – 15 CHILE

The weather cooperated a bit more for this match after last weekend’s snowfest and the Canadians used the opportunity to overcome Chile. Canada had to work for their win though and will have built some continuity and momentum to take into their test against the USA next Saturday.

ITALY 10 – 63 IRELAND

Italy’s hopes of being competitive in this year’s Six Nations are fading fast. A poor second half versus Wales and a sieve-like defensive effort against Ireland over eighty minutes have left them wondering what to do next. Ireland looked all-conquering against the Azzurri. Even though results against the Italians can be deceptive, their talented youngsters like CJ Stander and Gary Ringrose look to be fulfilling their potential which bodes well for Ireland’s upcoming schedule.

WALES 16 – 21 ENGLAND

I’ve already talked this one up above but let me reiterate – WATCH THIS MATCH, you’ll be glad you did!

FRANCE 22 – 16 SCOTLAND

If the Scots had a decent scrum they’d be dangerous. So many other aspects of their play are really good right now but their performance at scrum time severely lessens their overall effectiveness and prevents them from being a legitimate threat to win the tournament. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to scare and possibly upset some of their remaining opponents but to do the latter they need to get better up front.

France showed glimpses of what’s in store for the teams they’ll face going forward. A visit from Les Bleus or a trip to Paris in the near future could produce a rough outing if Coach Guy Noves’ charges keep improving and playing their game. I enjoyed watching this one and you will too.   

COMING UP

LEINSTER V EDINBURGH – Friday, February 17 at 2:35 pm ET

Leinster are in third place with 51 points and Edinburgh are in ninth with 20. In their Round 3 meeting back in September Leinster dominated early then held on for a 33-20 win and will be looking to achieve a similar result on Friday. Edinburgh are talented and know how to win (in Europe at least), so this is not a gimme for Leinster. Try scoring bonus points are vital at this stage so look for the Leinstermen to open all the stops in pursuit of one.

ULSTER V GLASGOW – Saturday, February 18 at 10:00 am ET

This is a very intriguing matchup. Both sides are well in the hunt for a playoff spot with Glasgow in fifth on 41 and Ulster in sixth with 38. Glasgow is coming off that tough loss to Scarlets while Ulster squeaked past a determined Edinburgh in Belfast.

In their first meeting at Scotstoun Stadium these two engaged in a rugged defensive battle that was won by the visiting Ulstermen 22-17. Both teams will get a little help from some players being released from national team camp in the Six Nations off week but all signs point to another close affair to be decided by either a mistake or a moment of brilliance.

OSPREYS V MUNSTER – Saturday, February 18 at 12:15 pm ET

The Rugby Channel is bringing you an extra Guinness Pro12 fixture this round and it just happens to be the match of the round. Munster leads the comp with 55 points and Ospreys are second with 54. Munster have won one more match and Ospreys have scored eleven more tries.

Their first meeting appears to have been an anomaly with Munster shutting out Ospreys 33-0 at Irish Independent Park. I highly doubt the final scoreline on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium will bear any resemblance to that one. Can’t wait for this one to kick off!

CANADA V UNITED STATES – Sat., February 18 at 8:00 pm ET

Canada leads the overall series 38-16-1 but hasn’t beaten the United States since 2013. In addition to it always being a fierce struggle when these North American rivals engage, there’s the added element of this being a 2019 Rugby World Cup Qualifying year so the winner of this test will have the mental upper hand heading into their two-test series this summer.

Last year’s meeting in the ARC was a thoroughly entertaining contest and this one promises more of the same. Canada will have home field advantage at Swangard Stadium but top to bottom this is a more talented United States team. Go Eagles!    

CHILE V ARGENTINA XV – Saturday, February 18 at 9:40 pm ET

After being upset in Round 1 by Brazil, Chile showed some positive signs against Canada last week. They’ll need all of that and more against the Argentina XV they face on Saturday night at Estadio CAP. The Argentine youngsters who make up this side can’t afford a loss to a country that has never beaten a full Pumas team.

URUGUAY V BRAZIL – Saturday, February 18 at 11:40 pm ET

The last time Brazil beat Uruguay was 1964. After having recently snapped their thirty-six year winless streak against Chile, they have to believe that a fifty-three year drought can also be ended.

Los Teros will be having none of it though as they look for their first win in the 2017 tourney after a close loss to the USA and a thrashing by the Argentina XV.

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