Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
ARC, GP14 & GKIPA!
Last weekend The Rugby Channel delivered two crucial Anglo-Welsh Cup clashes, a Division 1A collegiate curtain raiser, plus the remaining two contests from the first round of the Americas Rugby Championship, one of which was the USA’s thrilling victory over a talented Argentina XV.
This week we’re taking it up another notch by bringing our viewers a #1 versus #2 Greene King IPA duel, two fixtures from the Guinness PRO14, and LIVE coverage of the United States squaring off against archrival Canada in ARC Round Two!
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The last round of pool play in the Anglo-Welsh Cup featured do-or-die matchups with semifinal berths on the line.
Heading into kickoff on Friday night the Saints needed a win to ensure that their season would continue while Quins required just a single bonus point of any type to earn a playoff spot. Reflecting the importance both sides placed on advancing, the lineups were liberally sprinkled with internationals and Premiership first teamers.
Northampton’s squad choices paid off early with Wales winger George North crossing the line just five minutes into the first half. The home team never looked back from there and ran in four more tries while Harlequins never seriously threatened them.
Give this one a look to get yourself ready for the Saints semifinal versus Bath at the Recreation Ground in early March, which The Rugby Channel will show you LIVE!
Leicester had a slight chance of making the semis – they needed to win and score thirteen tries – but Wasps were simply too tough at home in Coventry. After trailing heavily in the early going the Tigers fought back to cut the halftime deficit to five points but Wasps added four more tries in the second forty for a big win.
Watch this one to see young Wasps flyhalf Jacob Umaga display some of the skills and talent that run in his family. His dad is Mike who played for Samoa and his uncle is Tana who captained the All Blacks.
Chile went into this match as favorites, having a decided historical advantage over their South American neighbor with twenty-one wins, three losses and two draws. Plus, Los Condores had never lost to Os Tupis at home.
This ARC test was hard-fought and the winner was in doubt right until the very end. Check it out to see Brazil fall behind, charge back, and ultimately hold on for the victory.
The crowd at the StubHub Center in Carson was treated to a nail-biter between the ARC’s reigning and previous champions on a glorious Southern California Saturday afternoon. Both sides played with a tremendous amount of passion and physicality for more than eighty minutes and ultimately it was defense that determined the outcome.
The Eagles’ victory came despite having to play a quarter of the match with just fourteen players after yellow cards for Tito Lamositele and Cam Dolan. The home side showed plenty of heart in continuing to make crucial tackles right up until the final play of the match when Hanco Germishuys caused Rodrigo Bruni to knock-on as he attempted to dot down a try that might have allowed the Argentina XV to tie the contest at the death.
If you haven’t seen it yet, sit down, watch the whole thing, and you’ll be impressed by the determination of the USA and will probably come away liking their chances to repeat as champions.
The crowd that came in early to StubHub saw two quality D1A teams go at it in a PAC Conference matchup.
Arizona has long been a regional power in collegiate rugby and their superiority was on full display against an up-and-coming UCLA team.
For both of these countries there is no greater foe than each other. Canada leads the series 38-18-2 but recent results have mostly gone the way of the United States, including both ARC battles. The USA has won six of the last seven tests but before that Canada won eleven of twelve.
This is definitely a down moment for the Canadians. They just lost two in a row to Uruguay in their RWC qualifying series and now they’re going to have to win the repechage tourney in order to keep their streak alive of being at every World Cup. USA beware though, a wounded team can often turn dangerous, especially in a rivalry match.
The United States will likely play an unchanged but for injury team and they’ll be feeling good about their performance versus the Argentina XV. Defense will again be key against Canada and lately the Eagles have shown that they are up to the task of putting in the work necessary to stop whatever the opposition throws at them.
If you can’t make it to Sacramento, settle in for a doozy of an encounter on Saturday!
The Guinness PRO14 re-starts this weekend and The Rugby Channel will have the match of the round for you LIVE on Friday! Both teams need a win to keep pace with the team just in front of them so this should be a ferocious clash at Myreside.
Edinburgh are in fourth with 37 points, three behind Ulster and a playoff spot. Leinster are in second with 51 points, two behind Scarlets and a home semifinal. Both teams have made it into the quarters in Europe but their main focus for the next couple of months is securing PRO14 postseason places.
This is a great way to get your rugby weekend underway. Enjoy!
BENETTON v SCARLETS – Sunday, Feb. 11 at 8:05 AM ET
Benetton is having a decent season and have won three straight. They have six wins and seven losses for 29 points and are in fifth position in Conference B. So far they’ve toppled Edinburgh, Ospreys, Southern Kings, Cheetahs, and Zebre twice. In their Round 8 meeting with Scarlets they kept it close in a 20-8 loss.
The defending champion Scarlets are 11-2 with 53 points in the PRO14 and won their pool in Europe. Their last loss was on December 1 in South Africa to the Cheetahs and before that to Ulster in September. The challenge for them in Italy will be that 10 of their players were in the starting lineup for Wales last week on international duty.
Should be a good one!
EALING v BRISTOL – Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2:00 PM ET
Bristol is undefeated in the competition despite being tested in recent weeks. Fourteen matches and fourteen wins thus far makes it very likely that they’ll return to the Premiership but there is one more match that could derail them and that’s this Saturday’s in London versus the Ealing Trailfinders. Ealing has won twelve of fourteen and played Bristol tough back in Round 5, losing 32-23.
A bonus point win for Ealing (currently on 59) would put them within striking distance of Bristol (currently on 68). A victory for Bristol makes their promotion almost inevitable.
See it unfold LIVE on The Rugby Channel on Saturday or any time you want on VOD!
The Eagles are playing their fiercest rivals, the Guinness PRO14 is back in action after a three-week layoff, and the Greene King IPA is essentially being decided this weekend. Subscribe Now to The Rugby Channel for $59.99 and you can watch all of it LIVE or at your leisure on VOD!