World Rugby announces competitive June tier two schedule

By DAVID - 24 Mar 2016

World Rugby has confirmed details of an exciting programme of June test matches, including tier one versus tier two fixtures as the road to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan begins in earnest.

Following a compelling Rugby World Cup 2015 that was the most competitive between the world's top-ranked teams and emerging rugby powers, Scotland will travel to Japan, Italy play Canada and the USA, while Georgia will travel to play Fiji, Tonga and Samoa for an historic test series in the Pacific Islands.

With World Rugby committed to closing the competition gap, the June schedule will also see Rugby World Cup 2019 preparations begin for Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, who will participate in a new-look Pacific Nations Cup that will deliver two qualifiers to the showcase event, based on cumulative points over the 2016 and 2017 editions.

VIEW THE FULL SCHEDULE OF JUNE TESTS >>

With Rugby World Cup 2019 preparation on track and excitement building across Japan, the Brave Blossoms, who shook the world with their famous win over South Africa last year, will welcome Scotland for two tests in June after they travel to play Canada in Vancouver. Japan will also welcome Ireland to their shores in 2017 and Italy in 2018. 

European Nations Cup champions Georgia will travel to the Pacific Islands, while Russia will face tough competition when they tour USA and Canada in June. 

World Rugby Head of Competitions and Performance Mark Egan said: "Following the most competitive and compelling Rugby World Cup to date, World Rugby continues to be committed to supporting tier two nations with high quality fixtures and high performance support.

"Our investment programme of more than £50 million over the last four-year cycle meant that tier two sides conceded fewer points and scored more tries against their tier one opposition at Rugby World Cup 2015 than in any previous tournament, and we are committed to closing the gap further as we work towards the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019."

The annual World Rugby Nations Cup will also give an opportunity to hosts Romania, Uruguay and Namibia to build on their Rugby World Cup 2015 performances as they play each other in the traditional round-robin competition on 9, 13 and 18 June in Bucharest.

The Nations Cup features tier one opposition in the form of Emerging Italy and an Argentina XV, while Spain complete the line-up at an exciting tournament that forms an important part of the high-performance pathway for the participating nations and for the ongoing growth of rugby in Romania.

VIEW THE NATIONS CUP 2016 FIXTURES >>

Due to Georgia playing Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in June, the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup will not take place in 2016. As previously announced, Georgia will welcome the future stars of world rugby in 2017 when they host the World Rugby U20 Championship. 

The international fixture list for November will be announced in due course. 

IRB confirm Pools for Glasgow Sevens

By DAVID - 19 Apr 2014

The IRB has now confirmed the pools and match schedule for round eight of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens on 3-4 May 2014.

The draw was made just before the final at round seven in Hong Kong, where New Zealand overcame England to capture their third Cup title of the current season.

The full match schedule has now also been released.

GLASGOW 7s POOLS >>
GLASGOW 7s MATCH SCHEDULE >>

Included in the draw for Glasgow - and London - are Japan, who won through the tough 12-team qualifier competition in Hong Kong to win promotion as a core team on next season's HSBC Sevens World Series 2014/15.

As the Hong Kong champions, New Zealand will start in Pool A in Glasgow and face a mouth-watering tie with closest Series rivals South Africa, as well as Samoa and Portugal.

As the Hong Kong runners-up England head Pool B and will play matches on day one in Glasgow against Canada, France and newly-promoted Japan.

Fiji face Wales, Argentina and Kenya in Pool C and Australia will face USA, tournament hosts Scotland and Spain in Pool D.

IRB confirms pool draw for Tokyo Sevens

By DAVID - 09 Feb 2014

The IRB has confirmed the pool draw for round 6 of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Tokyo Sevens in Japan's capital on 22-23 March 2014.

The draw was conducted just before the Cup final of the Wellington Sevens, won in impressive fashion by tournament hosts, New Zealand.

After their 21-0 Cup final win against closest Series rivals South Africa at the Westpac Stadium, New Zealand lead the HSBC Sevens World Series by two points from the Blitzbokke and also head Pool A in Tokyo, with matches against Canada, Wales and Portugal.

As Wellington runners-up, South Africa head Pool B at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground and have drawn matches against Argentina, Kenya and the hosts, Japan.

Fiji beat England to finish third in Wellington and head Pool C as a result with matches against Pacific rivals Samoa, France and USA.

England head Pool D and face matches against Australia, auld enemy Scotland and Spain.

Tokyo at a glance

Pool A: NZ, Canada, Wales, Portugal
Pool B: SA, Argentina, Kenya, Japan
Pool C: Fiji, Samoa, France, USA
Pool D: England, Australia, Scotland, Spain

VIENTIANE CHAMPIONSHIP 2014

By DAVID - 09 Feb 2014

The 2014 Vientiane International Rugby Championship on the 8th and 9th of February at the Lao National Training Centre in Sikeut village. A total of 26 teams are confirmed across 4 brackets (men, women, boys and girls) and the tournament is shaping up to be the best yet. For tournament details, please click on the link below to download the tournament manual and if you have any further questions, please contact us on virc@laorugby.com

FRU Appoints Ryan HPU General Manager

By DAVID - 06 Feb 2013

The Fiji Rugby Union has appointed former NZRU National Academy Manager, Mike Ryan as the High Performance General Manager for a three year term ending 2016.

Ryan brings with him a vast experience in Sports and Business Management and will take up the position that was left vacant by Talemo Waqa in 2011.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mike Ryan as the HPU General Manager” FRU Chief Executive Officer, Manasa Baravilala said.

“We are very pleased that he is willing to come and head the High Performance Unit after it has been without a manager for 2 years.”

“The role of the HPU is to improve the standard of play for our National Teams in Fiji and abroad, and with Ryan’s qualifications and experience this is exactly what they need in order to improve their performance and standings.”

“The term will be for three years heading towards the World Cup in 2015 in England,” Baravilala said. “I believe that as the Fiji Rugby Union looks toward an improved outing in England it is important that we have a unified team moving forward. We look forward to working with him for the next three years.”

Ryan has been in management roles within sports in the New Zealand rugby environment for eight years firstly with the Wellington Rugby Union and then with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).

The senior management roles were involved in elite player and coach development/education. These roles and his continued involvement in rugby at both the college and club level has kept him in touch with the rugby environment and has also helped him gain an in-depth knowledge of the game.

Yesterday was his first day in the office and he spent most of the day setting up meetings with HPU staff members.

He says that firstly he would have to meet all those involved in the HPU and find out the processes that are currently in place.

“Firstly I’ve got to get a good look at what is being done at the moment and meet the people that are out there, which are the Strength and Conditioning Trainers, Coaches, the medical personnel and just find out what processes and systems are being implemented.”

He added that once that was done he would have a fair idea of how they could enhance and improve on these processes with the possibility of even changing some.

“For me right now it is pretty much a look, learn and listening process.”

“I have set up meetings with High Performance staff that should go on for the next three to four days this will include me travelling out of Suva to visit the Training Centres.

“There are people out there that I need to talk to and then from there, hopefully for the first month or so get a good idea on how things operate currently and possibly make a few suggestions on how we can improve.”

“I will also consult them on their views on where we are going, what we are doing, and where we want to be in the next few years.”

His involvement with the NZRU has seen him facilitate high performance courses, including all high performance coaching and elite player development courses. He was also heavily involved in the development and implementation of the NZRU High Performance plan. Ryan aims to look into the academies in Fiji and identify which areas need to be improved on.

“I set up all the New Zealand Rugby Union academies and we had a whole list of KPI’s. It would be no use to bring that and implement it in Fiji.”

‘What I will do is look at what is already in place and then use my experience and knowledge from the New Zealand environment and see what actually fits and works in this environment, likewise with the Coaches Education and High Performance Courses.”

“It is no good saying we did this in New Zealand, or they’ve done this in Australia because that may not necessarily work here. It is looking at what’s done here and what we can bring from that to improve and enhance it.”

He says that improvements will not necessarily depend on the HPU budget on hand.

“I agree 100% that there will be finances involved when it comes to improvements but on the same token even in better funded rugby environments it is still about the people.”

“If you’ve got good people supporting, helping, training and developing athletes you don’t necessarily have to have an awful lot of money. These can all be enhanced quite considerably without having big dollars thrown at them. Sometimes it’s the dollars that people get lost in. Plucking this and plucking that because they’ve got money to do it when in actual fact it is not that relevant or not that beneficial in the end anyway.”

His background includes Exercise Science, having lectured and been involved in the establishment of a high performance testing facility at the former Central Institute of Technology. For the facility he worked with elite athletes and teams from a number of other sports - Cycling New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand and Karate New Zealand to name a few.

On a lighter note this will be the first Wellington 7s tournament that the Kiwi will spend away from home.

“I have been going to the Wellington 7s from the first year it started, so it will be my first year away from the tournament and my first year of supporting Fiji. Fiji has a great opportunity and they have great players and I 100% support Fiji ahead of New Zealand.”

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