Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
WOMEN’S 7s, FALL CHAMPS, GP14, & GKIPA!
It’s not over til it’s over!
The Rugby Channel’s November to Remember is finishing strong with the first round of the Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series from Dubai, then we’ll kick off December with eight USA Rugby Fall Collegiate Finals matches from South Carolina, a Guinness PRO14 clash in Cork and a Greene King IPA Championship contest in Richmond.
The last full weekend of a November to Remember featured some incredible Autumn tests from Tbilisi, London, and Paris, as well as a GP14 thrashing in Dublin. And as usual, The Rugby Channel brought it all to you LIVE and continues to offer every minute of it to our subscribers through our Video On Demand option.
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The Dragons got off to a good start at the RDS in Dublin but after going up 10 – 0 it was all downhill for the visitors. Leinster got their bonus point before halftime and kept the scoreboard ticking over in the second half as well with seven tries overall.
With many of their stars still away on Ireland duty, Leinster got good performances from youngsters and backups who gained valuable match experience that will prove crucial as the long season goes on.
Watch this one for a bunch of great tries by Leinster.
The United States went up early and came back late in Tbilisi but ended up just short of victory as AJ MacGinty’s conversion sailed wide in front of the posts.
The most impressive aspect of the loss was the Eagles’ grit and determination to fight until the end even when things weren’t going their way, especially at scrumtime.
A successful November Tour for the Eagles? Yes.
A heartbreaking loss to end it? Yes.
A test worth watching again or for the first time? Absolutely!
England put out a less than top-notch team and they still got the job done in an adequate fashion, really dominating only at the beginning and the end. Samoa showed some flashes of their old selves but were never cohesive as a squad, not surprising considering all the problems their national union is facing.
Watch it to get a glimpse of just how much depth England is currently building with one eye on the Six Nations and one on 2019.
For the third time in just over a week England’s women were just too good for Canada to stop. Once England got the ball and any kind of space it was trytime over and over again at Twickenham.
Both teams set out to give youth an opportunity in this series. Canada’s youngsters will learn from these hammerings. England’s youngsters have obviously already learned how to finish chances with ball in hand! Very fun to watch.
A relatively simple missed conversion by Japan in the 74th minute was all that prevented the visitors from pulling off a huge upset at the U Arena on the outskirts of Paris. That’s what most people will remember about this test but the real story should be how much Japan has improved and how far France has fallen.
Definitely give this one a look and you’ll be impressed by Japan’s progress as a rugby team as they gear up for Rugby World Cup hosting duties in 2019.
The tournament and the season get underway early on Thursday morning on the East Coast with Fiji and Ireland squaring off in the opener. The Rugby Channel will provide coverage of every single pool match, including all three of the USA’s games.
The Eagles were one of the most improved teams last year and this season they are very likely to be in the hunt for hardware at every stop on the worldwide tour. They kick off their campaign against France at 4:28 AM ET, then meet South Africa at 7:24 AM ET, and wrap up pool play versus New Zealand at 10:43 AM ET.
HSBC WOMEN’S 7s DUBAI – Friday, Dec. 1 at 12:00 AM ET
Day Two is when these tourneys get really heated and The Rugby Channel will bring you every knockout match from Dubai, beginning with the four Cup Quarterfinals starting just after midnight on Friday morning.
MUNSTER v OSPREYS – Saturday, December 2 at 12:30 PM ET
Last season Munster and Ospreys met in the GP12 semifinal with the men in red easily advancing to the final. A repeat of that fixture seems unlikely in the GP14 with Munster sitting in second place in Conference A and Ospreys languishing at the bottom of the ladder in seventh.
Back in Round 3 in September, Munster got a solid road win over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium in a close 21 – 16 encounter. This match will be in Cork, a much harder ask for Ospreys as they try to revive their campaign before it’s too late.
Ospreys are definitely the most talented underperforming side in the competition right now, which makes them dangerous because who knows when they’ll finally put it all together. Should be a good one to check out!
LONDON SCOTTISH v RICHMOND – Sunday, Dec. 3 at 10:00 AM ET
The Greene King IPA has reached Round 11 and this week’s fixture on The Rugby Channel will feature London Scottish and Richmond. Both teams are on a bit of a hot streak of late, each having won two of their last three.
Last time out London Scottish edged the Rotherham Titans 27 – 24 while Richmond fell to the Cornish Pirate 15 – 28. Scottish currently sit in eleventh place with 19 points and Richmond hold down eighth on 23. These matches are always filled with lots of young talent, plenty of passion, huge amounts of energy, and are subsequently very entertaining to watch!
FALL COLLEGIATE FINALS – Saturday, Dec. 2 at 9:00 AM ET
On Saturday there will be four consecutive semifinals from the John S. Roberts Rugby Pitch on the campus of Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
The Rugby Channel will begin coverage at 9:00 AM ET with the first Women’s DII semi between Coast Guard and Vassar. Coast Guard earned their berth with a victory over Marist while Vassar triumphed over Buffalo State in their quarterfinal.
The second semi kicks off at 11:00 AM ET with Cincinnati taking on Winona State. Cincinnati advanced by beating Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Winona State returned to the semifinals with a big win over Colorado School of Mines.
Up next it’s Men’s DII semifinal action as Norwich University clashes with the Virginia Military Institute at 1:00 PM ET. Norwich had to get by North Carolina State and Hartford University last weekend. VMI easily handled both Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Bloomsburg to make it into the semis.
The last match on Saturday is the second Men’s DII semifinal at 3:00 PM ET pitting North Dakota State against University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. ND State had to defeat Furman University and Illinois State to slot into the semis while defending champs UWW got wins against Pittsburg State and Grand Valley State to move on to the championship weekend.
FALL COLLEGIATE FINALS – Sunday, Dec. 3 at 9:00 AM ET
On Sunday The Rugby Channel’s coverage begins at 9:00 AM ET with the Women’s DI Final as Davenport meets Notre Dame at Eugene Stone Soccer Stadium. Davenport have moved up from DII and kept their postseason winning ways alive, first against Minnesota in the quarters and then Air Force in the semis. Notre Dame got to South Carolina via victories over Boston University and the University of Connecticut.
The second final on Sunday sees the University of Mary Washington take on St. Joseph’s University in DIAA at 11:00 AM ET. St. Joseph’s got to Greenville by squeaking past Tennessee and Bowling Green. UMW cruised by Rowan University and then Kentucky to reach the final.
The Women’s DII Final will be played at 1:00 PM ET and the Men’s DII Final will kick off at 3:00 PM ET.
Now is definitely the right time to Subscribe to The Rugby Channel because with the holidays coming up you’ll probably have a little extra free time to delve deep into our archive and catch up on all the thrilling rugby you’ve missed so far in 2017.
And after you’ve gotten yourself fully up-to-date, then you’ll be ready for all the amazing rugby on tap in 2018, including the Americas Rugby Championship, featuring the USA Eagles attempting to defend their title!