Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
AWC, ARC, AND 6N UPCOMING!
This week’s TRC Report #36 with host Dallen Stanford features some of the most entertaining moments from World Rugby TV’s 2016 Review Show.
Check it out and you’ll see a sampling of fantastic highlights from both men’s and women’s November Tests, a look at World Rugby referee Jaco Peyper’s test day preparations, and a reflective profile of England coach Eddie Jones.
After you watch the Report, you’ll probably want to see the program in its entirety, which you can do by clicking here.
The next several months are filled with outstanding rugby of all types and The Rugby Channel is going to bring it to you for less than a dollar per week.
In the last week of January and the first week of February we’ll deliver four Anglo Welsh Cup fixtures, three Six Nations tests, and three Americas Rugby Championship matches, including the first Eagles tilt of 2017.
Averaged out over the entire year, that’s ten thrilling oval battles for about two bucks, or less than a quarter apiece!
If you are indeed a rugby fan then the question becomes, how can you possibly not Subscribe Now?
And that doesn’t even take into account the multitude of awesome matches from the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series on February 2nd and 3rd.
Here’s a quick snippet of info about each of the ten matches you’ll be enjoying on The Rugby Channel very soon.
BATH V GLOUCESTER
Bath will be looking for their first win in the tourney after suffering a couple of defeats. Gloucester has split their two outings and has garnered a total of six Match Points so far.
The tables are turned somewhat in the Premiership as Bath is in good position for a playoff spot while Gloucester definitely have some work to do.
In their one prior meeting, Bath came out on top at Kingsholm while holding the home side tryless. This encounter will be held at the Recreation Ground where Bath have only lost twice in all comps this season.
LEICESTER V NORTHAMPTON
This is the most intriguing match of the round. The Tigers and Saints are both on 33 points in fifth and sixth in the Premiership, they both lead their pools in the Anglo Welsh Cup, and neither has suffered a loss.
They have met once this season in the Premiership with Leicester getting the job done at Welford Road, the same venue where the two sides will be meeting in this Round 3 match.
Leicester and Northampton won’t qualify for the quarters in the European Cup so if either side has designs on a trophy other than their domestic one, winning this match will play a huge role in obtaining it.
NORTHAMPTON V SCARLETS
If Northampton beats Leicester in the match detailed above, then they’ll have a little breathing room against Scarlets. But if they lose to the Tigers, then they will most likely have to defeat Scarlets in order to make the semifinals.
Scarlets have one win and one loss in the Anglo Welsh Cup and will be facing off against Saracens in Round 3 – the team they drew with last week in the European Cup – which makes this Round 4 matchup against the Saints a very interesting fixture indeed.
The Welsh side will be hosting at Parc Y Scarlets as they look to either claim a semifinal berth or regain momentum heading back into the Guinness Pro12.
SARACENS V LEICESTER
Sarries have already qualified for the European Cup playoffs and they are in second place in the Premiership, but currently find themselves a single point behind Northampton in Pool 1 in the Anglo Welsh Cup. Dreams of a treble season are dependent upon knocking off the Tigers at Allianz Park.
There’s also something else to think about for both teams. The four AWC semifinalists will be ranked by the number of Match Points they’ve earned so the possibility exists that an extra Match Point for scoring a fourth try or finishing within seven might well determine home field advantage for either of these contenders, thus ensuring a lively finish.
The opening round of the Americas Rugby Championship contains three very solid matchups to get the tournament underway.
CANADA V ARGENTINA XV
Canada opens at home in Langford, B.C. at Westhills Stadium and will be looking to exact a bit of revenge against an Argentina XV that thoroughly spanked them 54 – 21 last year in Rosario.
Canada’s third place finish in the 2016 ARC was disappointing for them, especially after they opened with a good win over Uruguay and the USA and Argentina drew in Round 1.
This Argentina XV will obviously be looking to repeat as champions, once again proving their country’s depth while almost all of their regular internationals are getting ready for the Super Rugby season.
BRAZIL V CHILE
Last year these two nations played the inaugural match of the competition in a hard-fought battle in Santiago where the home side barely held off the visitors at the death.
This time the Brazilians will do the hosting honors in Sao Paolo and will be determined to get the better of the Chileans for only the third time in what will be their twenty-fifth meeting.
In 2016 Brazil finished in fifth place, one point and one place above Chile.
UNITED STATES V URUGUAY
This figures to be the closest and most entertaining match of the first round.
The overall series dating back to 1989 has been dominated by the Eagles with twelve wins in fifteen meetings but Los Teros’ final round triumph in Montevideo last year was a much-celebrated victory and will have set the stage for a heavily contested rematch.
The United States has only two home tests in this tourney and they’ll be dead set on winning both as they make a run for the title.
This match will be held in San Antonio, Texas at Toyota Field and if you aren’t watching it LIVE on The Rugby Channel from elsewhere, then do whatever you can to make it out to support the Eagles!
SCOTLAND V IRELAND
Scotland had a decent November in beating Argentina and Georgia while barely losing to Australia. Ireland had a great one in defeating New Zealand for the first time ever, plus Canada and Australia.
Ireland have serious designs on winning this tournament but the only way that’s going to happen is with a road win in Round 1 at Murrayfield.
Scotland will be playing hard for pride and their departing coach Vern Cotter but it will take a supreme effort to get their first win over Ireland since 2013.
ENGLAND V FRANCE
England is the clearly dominant team in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment having won their last fourteen straight matches. They have only lost three Six Nations games in the last four championships.
France have lost eight of their last twelve tests and have finished fifth, fourth, fourth, sixth, and fourth in the five previous Six Nations Championships. They haven’t won it all since 2010.
So will the English take the French lightly at Twickenham? They had better not or they will be in serious trouble. Nothing in French rugby shows that a turnaround is imminent but the Tricolors are perennially dangerous, especially when they are underestimated.
ITALY V WALES
Italy desperately needs a win in 2017, having achieved only one in the last three years. It’s probably not a realistic danger but they still need to quiet the Six Nations promotion/relegation talk that has become all the rage in Europe by getting some victories.
The news in Wales this week has focused squarely on the change in captaincy from Sam Warburton to Alun Wyn Jones after forty-nine matches as their on-field leader. The big lock has already led his country five times during Warburton’s injury woes, so this is not a huge surprise nor something that many of the Welsh players will dwell on.
A subscription to The Rugby Channel is an absolute must for any rugby lover.
Are you a fan of seeing the best Welsh teams going at it against the finest England has to offer in what’s turning out to be a riveting Anglo Welsh Cup?
Are you interested in taking in all the tradition and pageantry of the Six Nations - Rugby’s Greatest Championship - featuring England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales clashing over five rounds from February through March?
Are you ready for all fifteen matches from the second year of the Americas Rugby Championship with Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United States and Uruguay vying for sophomore year honors over five consecutive weeks?
Are you psyched to watch the Guinness Pro12 with top level Irish, Italian, Welsh, and Scottish sides doing battle over twenty-two rounds from September to May in order to crown a champion?
Are you craving more World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series action as the best teams on the planet go at it down in Sydney in early February?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, then Subscribe Now for less than a buck a week!