Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
FEB & MAR ON TRC!
The Rugby Channel is about to enter its busiest time of the year and you can access all the upcoming action for less than a single dollar per week.
Here’s what’s on tap in just the next few weeks to keep your rugby thirst quenched. The Anglo Welsh Cup, the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, the Americas Rugby Championship, the Six Nations, and the Guinness Pro12 will all be available for subscribers to The Rugby Channel.
ANGLO WELSH CUP
Over the next two weekends The Rugby Channel will bring you four LIVE matches from the third and fourth rounds of the Anglo Welsh Cup.
The first set of clashes feature English clubs doing battle outside of the Premiership as Bath hosts Gloucester at The Recreation Ground on Friday, January 27th and Leicester welcomes Northampton to Welford Road on Saturday, January 28th.
The following weekend will see Northampton return to Franklin’s Gardens to take on Scarlets on Friday, February 3rd, plus a special Sunday fixture at Allianz Park as Saracens go up against Leicester on February 5th.
The Anglo Welsh Cup is a great opportunity to take a look at the up-and-coming talent in all the participating teams. Young players that shine in these matches will probably find themselves starting for their clubs in the very near future when various stars head off for duty with their respective countries in the Six Nations.
And for the teams that are in serious contention – which is still most of them – the lure of a piece of silverware usually creates a desire to win that manifests itself in some really entertaining rugby.
These two rounds will determine not only which sides make the semifinals but also who gets to play at home in them so every bonus point on offer will have tremendous value.
These games are timed perfectly for the American audience, either on Friday afternoon (2:45 pm ET) as a warmup for the weekend or early on Saturday (10:00 am ET) and Sunday (11:00 am ET) mornings as either a precursor to gameday or a perfect recovery activity after a hard day on the pitch!
HSBC WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S SEVENS SERIES – SYDNEY
Round Two of the Series will take place in Australia and the reigning Olympic champions will definitely be looking to defend home turf after losing out to New Zealand in Dubai.
Don’t be surprised to see a very enthusiastic crowd on hand to cheer the locals to victory as the women’s sevens game is experiencing a popularity boom in Australia following their triumph in Rio.
The Rugby Channel will once again deliver every single match from the tournament LIVE, beginning with pool play and ending with the Cup Final.
Day One kicks off LIVE on Thursday, February 2nd at 8:25 pm ET and Day Two gets underway at 6:00 pm ET on Friday, February 3rd.
The beauty of The Rugby Channel’s coverage is that you can decide to see it all from beginning to end as it happens or pick and choose which specific teams to watch through our VOD option.
The United States women will be intent upon improving after a less than stellar outing in Dubai where they finished a disappointing eleventh. They are grouped this time in Pool C with England, Spain, and Russia.
A solid performance in Sydney will set the Eagles up nicely for a big effort in front of their home fans in Las Vegas in the first week of March, which of course, The Rugby Channel will also have for you LIVE and in its entirety!
AMERICAS RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
This is the tournament of the future and someday you’re going to be very proud to tell younger rugby fans that you watched all of it right from the get-go on The Rugby Channel.
This year TRC will have all of your Eagles matches LIVE from San Antonio, Austin, Burnaby, Talcahuano, and Comodoro Rivadavia!
We will also show all ten of the other matches from the tourney on a four-hour delay from the final whistle. And if you can’t find time to watch every contest, the weekly TRC Report will provide you with complete highlights from every round.
The United States has just two home fixtures in this tourney so they will need to make them count when they face off against Uruguay at Toyota Field on February 4th at 4:00 pm ET and Brazil at Dell Diamond on February 11th at 7:00 pm ET.
Every match in this competition is a tough one but the opener versus Uruguay promises to be a tussle of the first order. Los Teros have always brought a strong forward game and they will definitely show up gunning for a road win to start the tourney after having beaten the USA last year in Montevideo.
The stated goal of Coach John Mitchell is for the United States to put themselves in position to win the second edition of the ARC. That is a very realistic goal but it has to start with two home wins to set up a massive encounter with Canada in the third round.
In the most recent World Rankings the United States is 17th, Canada is 18th, Uruguay is 21st, Chile is 29th and Brazil is 36th. These numbers open up the potential for a lot of movement in position for all the nations involved if the form book isn’t followed.
This year’s championship is loaded with plots, subplots, and enticing digressions. You can follow all of them by subscribing to The Rugby Channel and watching all five rounds, all fifteen matches on a twenty-four hour delay from kickoff.
The most obvious thing to watch is whether or not England can run the table for the second year in a row and extend their unbeaten string to nineteen. Doing so would allow them to pass New Zealand for longest winning streak among major rugby playing nations.
Funnily enough, assuming they win their first four, the test that would let them break the record would be in Round 5 against Ireland, the same team that stopped New Zealand’s run at eighteen in Chicago.
Every match in this year’s tourney is essentially a trial for inclusion on the British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand in June and July. Coach Warren Gatland will be watching live and looking at video of all the best talent from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as they press their individual cases for a coveted spot in the touring party.
The best part of the process will be when hopefuls square off directly, forcing candidates to display their skills, grit, and athleticism in head-to-head matchups with their positional rivals.
The tournament begins on February 4th with Scotland hosting Ireland at Murrayfield and England meeting France at Twickenham. On February 5th Italy and Wales will skirmish at Stadio Olimpico.
The Guinness Pro12 wastes no time in getting really interesting again when it resumes with Round 14 on Friday, February 10th. The Rugby Channel will present two LIVE matches that day but you’ll probably want to select one to concentrate on live and catch the other on VOD as both Munster v Newport and Glasgow v Scarlets start at 2:35 pm ET.
That’s three of the top five teams in action on the first weekend back, can’t wait to watch!
If you can’t get enough rugby, then right now is the perfect time to subscribe to The Rugby Channel for less than a dollar per week.
If you’re a fan of the Eagles - men and women, 7s and 15s - you’ll get to watch them take the pitch at least fifteen times in the next two months.
If you enjoy the Six Nations, you’ll see all fifteen matches from Rugby’s Greatest Championship with storylines aplenty in February and March.
If you like cross-border action, the Anglo Welsh Cup will finish pool play, complete their knockout round, and crown a champion on March 19th.
If you’re into the Guinness Pro12, the next few months are set to be the most entertaining yet as the remaining contenders grapple for playoff spots each and every week.
If not now, when? What are you waiting for? Subscribe Now!