Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
ENG v CAN, NIRA, ENG v AUS, GER v USA, FRA V SA!
In one of its biggest weekends ever, The Rugby Channel delivered nearly thirty hours of LIVE coverage that included two Autumn tests, two Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures, the Ivy Rugby Conference Championship and all ten matches from the Women’s Premier League Finals.
If you aren’t yet a subscriber to this groundbreaking service then you are truly missing out on some phenomenal rugby from every level of the game from all over the world. When you do finally come to your senses and become a subscriber, you’ll be able to watch everything that you’ve missed so far in our November To Remember, plus an amazing amount of rugby still to come.
This weekend you’ll get LIVE and Video On Demand access to the first of three women’s tests between England and Canada, the semifinals and final of the women’s National Intercollegiate Rugby Association, France taking on South Africa, England meeting Australia for the Cook Cup, and of course, the United States facing off against Germany for the first time ever!
While not necessarily an inspiring win by England, the hosts did play solid rugby against a quality opponent to open their Autumn campaign at Twickenham. Their defense held fast against a Pumas squad that has played high-level opposition very recently in The Rugby Championship.
England will need to up their game next Saturday when the Wallabies come to town looking to leave with the Cook Cup for the first time since 2012.
If you want to see what rugby should look like in its purest form, check out the All Blacks in the first half against Les Bleus as they jumped out to a 31 – 5 lead at the end of forty minutes. They pounced on almost every one of France’s mistakes and converted them into points. They turned simple errors or mishandles into tries in the blink of an eye.
Forwards and backs, both with the complete skillsets, effortlessly intermingled with ball in hand and continually pressured the French defense while scoring five tries.
The second half was a bit more stop-start and France threatened to get back into the match at 18 – 31 with a couple of penalties and a penalty try. They kept the All Blacks from re-entering the tryzone for most of the second half because their scrum suddenly re-energized and their youngsters injected some pep into the French attack.
Ultimately, the All Blacks ratcheted up their defense and stopped the comeback, then added a late try for a more favorable scoreline.
This is definitely worth your time to check out on our VOD option!
Dartmouth was never seriously challenged in winning their eleventh consecutive Ivy League Championship. They dominated this match in Hanover from start to finish and showed why they are the class of the Ivies.
Harvard did have one moment when they looked dangerous with a try right after halftime to cut Dartmouth’s lead to just eight points but the men in green responded with three tries in the next 15 minutes to seal the win.
The Bath/Leicester rivalry is an old and storied one no matter what competition they are playing in. This Anglo-Welsh Cup outing on Friday night treated more than 14,000 fans to yet another incredible clash.
Defending champs Leicester led early and whenever Bath got close the Tigers scored another try to extend their lead. In the end though, the boot of flyhalf Freddie Burns kept Bath in touch and the power of their pack saw them score a penalty try in the waning minutes for an outstanding victory.
Give this a look when you get a chance, real passion involved.
SCARLETS 0 – 40 EXETER
Scarlets put out a very young team, Exeter overwhelmed them, especially at scrum time and were awarded three penalty tries in the match. The Welsh sides (Scarlets, Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys) truly seem to be treating this tourney as fully developmental and didn’t win a single match in four attempts in Round 2.
On Friday in Tucson, New York won a see-saw 38 – 32 semifinal against the defending champion San Diego Surfers while Glendale cruised to a 32 – 0 win over Beantown.
On Sunday they met in the final and played until the very last second with the outcome in doubt. Glendale went up early, New York came storming back, took the lead late, and had to hang on for the victory and their third WPL championship.
There were some very competitive matches in Arizona but this is the one you should watch!
England and Canada (ranked #2 & #4 in the world) will play a three-test series over the next week and it kicks off on Friday at Allianz Park. England finished a close second at the recent WRWC and Canada ended up taking fifth place.
This looks to be a fun and entertaining series, can’t wait to watch it!
This is a super intriguing test because of the relative position of both teams in world rugby at the moment. England are ranked #2 and have won twenty-one of their last twenty-two tests, their only blemish a loss to Ireland in this year’s Six Nations finale. They are generally considered to be the best team in the Northern Hemisphere and a legitimate threat to challenge the All Blacks at the 2019 RWC.
Australia has struggled somewhat in the recent past but are on a bit of a roll right now. They finished second in The Rugby Championship with a 2-2-2 record, beat New Zealand in Brisbane after losing 8 straight to their Tasman neighbors, easily defeated Japan and had a quality win over Wales.
It’s always a great atmosphere when these two meet, especially at Twickenham, so don’t miss this one!
Germany and the United States have never met in a test match which makes this Saturday’s encounter in Wiesbaden an historic one. It’s also very important for both countries as they are only five spots apart in the world rankings, with the USA at #17 and Germany at #22.
The Eagles are coming off an ARC championship campaign and a successful World Cup Qualifying series against Canada and will be looking to dispatch Germany before taking on Georgia. They know that this is not a team to be taken lightly as the Germans have recently beaten common opponents Brazil, Uruguay, and Romania.
If you only have time to watch one match this weekend, make sure it’s this one and help root the Eagles to victory!
FRANCE V SOUTH AFRICA – Saturday, Nov. 18 at 2:45 PM ET
France and South Africa both have something to prove on Saturday.
Neither team has had much form lately. Les Bleus have won only three of nine tests in 2017 beating Scotland, Italy, and Wales. The Springboks have notched just five victories, with three over France in South Africa this Summer and two against Argentina in The Rugby Championship.
France hasn’t beaten South Africa since 2009 in Toulouse.
France is coming off a loss to New Zealand that they can probably take some positives from whereas South Africa was humbled by Ireland 38 – 3 in Dublin. Both these sides need a win but only one can get it, which means it will certainly be exciting to watch.
This is a rematch of the 2016 final. Quinnipiac took the championship honors last season but this year the two sides each won at home during the regular season with Quinnipiac triumphing 29-24 over Central Washington on October 22 and CWU winning 31 – 22 two weeks earlier.
To reach the semis Quinnipiac thumped Norwich University 55 – 7 while Central Washington advanced with a bye into the final four.
Dartmouth entered the postseason as the #1 ranked side in the competition and justified that position with an 80 – 12 thrashing of American International College on November 4.
#5 Harvard had the difficult task of going on the road to West Point to take on #4 Army in the quarterfinals and were successful in upsetting their hosts 24 – 12.
Dartmouth and Harvard have met twice this year with Dartmouth coming out on top in both contests, 39 – 10 on October 7 and 22 – 8 three weeks later in the Ivy League Championship match.
NIRA FINAL – Sunday, Nov. 19 at 12:00 PM ET
The third ever NIRA Final will take place on Sunday and will no doubt be hard-fought as two of the top teams in women’s collegiate rugby fight for the title.
The only way to watch your Eagles in action this Saturday is to Subscribe Now to The Rugby Channel for just $7.99 per month, a mere pittance to watch the USA Men’s National Team do battle with Germany in what promises to be a tough encounter.