Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
NZ v BAA-BAAS, GP14, COLLEGE & AW CUP!
You never know what’s going to happen in any rugby match, which is exactly why they are so much fun to watch. Last weekend The Rugby Channel showed two thoroughly entertaining matches from the Guinness PRO14 and the Greene King IPA Championship that were both shocking upsets.
If you had a subscription to The Rugby Channel you could have watched both of them, either LIVE or with our Video On Demand option, and fully enjoyed the unexpected results. Both contests impacted the race for the top of the standings in their respective competitions and delivered more than 160 minutes of top-quality action.
This weekend The Rugby Channel has more than three times as many fixtures on offer and thus a proportionate amount of upset potential with four distinct types of matchups lined up for your viewing pleasure.
First up, it’s TRC College Rugby. We get started on Friday with a collegiate battle between two military academies (Air Force v Army) and that’s followed on Saturday by a clash of two longtime Big 10 rivals (Ohio State v Wisconsin).
On Saturday morning, The Rugby Channel is also proud to bring you one of the most highly anticipated clashes of any Fall season, the Barbarians Football Club taking on the best team in the world, the New Zealand All Blacks.
Saturday also features a couple of Guinness PRO14 tussles with Edinburgh hosting Ospreys and Connacht welcoming the Cheetahs to Galway in what should be a barnburner.
And if all that thrilling rugby isn’t enough for you, The Rugby Channel also offers coverage of the opening round of the 2017/18 Anglo Welsh Cup with Leicester meeting Gloucester on Saturday and Saracens versus Harlequins on Sunday to wrap up as full and diverse a weekend of rugby as you’re ever going to get anywhere!
Subscribe Now to The Rugby Channel and there’s more of the same throughout the Autumn and into 2018. We’ve got both of the Eagles upcoming tests against Germany and Georgia, England’s three Internationals, France’s Fall schedule which includes New Zealand, more rounds from the Guinness PRO14, Greene King IPA Championship and Anglo-Welsh Cup, plenty of TRC College Rugby, the Women’s Premier League Finals, and USA Rugby’s Fall Collegiate Finals. And all that outstanding rugby will cost you less than two bucks per week, a major bargain by any standard!
Here’s what you missed last week in the LIVE window but don’t fret, both matches are available to view on VOD!
Connacht came in to this match in desperate need of a victory to revive their lagging campaign and that’s exactly what they got in front of a bigger than capacity crowd at the Sportsground.
Munster got off to a fast start through a third minute try from Simon Zebo but never again crossed the whitewash and had to rely on kicks alone to add points to the scoreline.
Munster led for most of the match because of those kicks but a red card for a late and high charge on Connacht flyhalf Jack Carty gave the hosts a man advantage for the last quarter of the contest. It was Connacht’s Tom Farrell who capitalized five minutes later as he went over for what proved to be the winning five pointer.
This was a vital win for Connacht and they will take renewed confidence into their Round 7 meeting against the Cheetahs, which we will bring to you LIVE on The Rugby Channel!
On paper this should have been a relatively easy win for the Knights. They were at home, in good conditions, in fourth place and facing a Pirates side with only one victory so far and mired in ninth position. But that’s not how it played out as the visitors opened up a 17-point lead and never let down, silencing the Castle Park crowd in South Yorkshire.
The Pirates didn’t really do anything special, they just played solid rugby, avoided unnecessary and costly mistakes, took advantage of both the opportunities they created and the good breaks they got, and came away with the W. Definitely worth giving it a look.
You’ll get another chance to see the Cornish Pirates in action when they travel to face undefeated Bristol on Friday, December 22, LIVE on The Rugby Channel!
Once again in 2017 The Rugby Channel brings you an all academy clash for the College Rugby Match of the Week as Air Force and Army go at it in Colorado Springs in a non-conference D1A game.
Air Force is 3-2 with 17 points in the Rocky Mountain Conference, in second place behind Colorado State.
Army is 4-2 with 23 points in the East Conference, in second place behind Penn State.
Whenever the academies face each other there is a lot of pride on the line and you are certain to see some very fit athletes giving their all for eighty minutes. This is a great way to kick off a rugby-filled weekend!
The Rugby Channel’s second College Rugby Match of the Week features Ohio State and Wisconsin squaring off in Columbus.
Ohio State has two wins and three losses and are sitting in fifth place with fifteen competition points in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin has four wins and two losses and are in third position with 20 points.
The Big Ten is a very competitive conference and this match will go a long way towards determining seeding for the championship finals next week.
The Barbarians and the All Blacks have met a total of eleven times dating back to 1954. New Zealand has won nine of those encounters with the Barbarians winning in 1973 and the most recent meeting in 2009. The 1973 match in Cardiff produced the Gareth Edwards try which is still considered to be one of, if not the finest ever in rugby history.
This year’s match will have a significantly different character than previous ones with a total of 13 Kiwis in the Barbarians squad selected by coach Robbie Deans.
Matches between these two combatants are generally free-flowing affairs but not necessarily high scoring like many other Barbarians fixtures.
This is one that you won’t want to miss, so make sure you catch it LIVE, exclusively on The Rugby Channel!
EDINBURGH V OSPREYS – Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 PM ET
Edinburgh needed a strong second half to earn a road win last week over Benetton 24-10. Now they are back at Myreside and will face an Ospreys team coming off a win over the Dragons after two tough losses to Clermont and Saracens in the European Cup.
Edinburgh are 4-3 with 18 points in fourth spot in Conference B while Ospreys are 2-5 with 11 points for sixth position in Conference A.
This should be a good one!
CONNACHT V CHEETAHS – Saturday, Nov. 4 at 3:35 PM ET
Connacht has to be re-energized by their win over Munster but will have a different task ahead in trying to shut down the aptly named Cheetahs. The South African newcomers are second in total points scored in the Guinness PRO14 with 223 and were victorious last week against Zebre in Italy.
Connacht improved to 2-5 with 12 competition points to move up to 4th in Conference A. The Cheetahs are rising as well, currently in 3rd place in Conference A with a 4-3 record and 20 points.
This match has the potential to be a real wide-open thriller and I can’t wait to watch it!
LEICESTER V GLOUCESTER – Saturday, Nov. 4 at 11:00AM ET
Leicester heads into this year’s tournament as the defending champions - having beaten Exeter in a tight final back in March - and will be looking to make it two titles in a row.
Gloucester finished 2-1-1 in pool play but missed out on a semifinal spot in 2016/17. The Cherry and Whites have a more favorable schedule this year and will want to capitalize by earning a playoff berth.
In this first round only the English sides will be playing. The Welsh teams will get underway in two weeks’ time.
SARACENS V HARLEQUINS – Sunday, Nov. 5 at 10:00 AM ET
Saracens lost to Leicester in last season’s semifinals after beating them in pool play. This year they’ll start with Harlequins then play Sale, Dragons, and Exeter.
After their opener, Harlequins will take on Worcester, Scarlets, and Northampton.
All of these Anglo-Welsh Cup matches are a fantastic opportunity to see the best young talent in England and Wales on display in a short tourney situation where every match matters.
Any of our seven matches this weekend is definitely worth the monthly cost ($7.99) of an annual subscription so why not Subscribe Now and get all seven of them for the same price!