Under the Posts – Week of June 3, 2018

The top headlines from last week cover the USA Rugby Division I and Division II Club Championships, World Rugby continues to try and combat dangerous tackles with a new law trial, Canada makes their interim head coach final, and Ireland’s rugby issues come to light again.

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Life West won their second back to back USA Rugby Division I Championship over Raleigh Venom over the weekend. Life West scored two quick tries from the start and at the half held a commanding 38-12 lead. At the start of the second half it was another quick Life West try but Raleigh snuck in two of their own. From there Life West stomped on the accelerator, final score Life West 91 Raleigh Venom 22.

There has been a lot of talk about Life West winning DII and then back to back DI titles in three years…is it time for them to move on? Many think so and we agree that they would probably compete very well in the WPL. But it won’t be so in this upcoming competitive cycle as the WPL is already set at ten teams. At this time there is no automatic promotion or really even a process to move teams up. It has been through voluntary promotion and it’s probably time to put something formal in place.

Charlotte and St. Louis were both searching for their first USA Rugby Division II Championship in Glendale, CO. The match was a back and forth affair with Charlotte up 15-9 at the half. Charlotte came out of the half on fire and extended their score even more, the Sabres put up a fight but couldn’t catch up. The final score and the title went to Charlotte 46-28.

World Rugby has announced another law trial focused on reducing the risk of head injury by changing player behavior in the tackle. This trial will only be run during the he World Rugby U20 Championship and U20 Trophy competitions for now.

The behavior change is getting the tackler to attempt lower tackles and the acceptable height of the tackle will be lowered through revised on-field and off-field sanctions, encouraging players to bend at the waist when attempting a tackle.

At the U20 Championship in France (30 May – June 17), a High Tackle Warning will be issued if the tackler is upright (i.e. not bent at the waist when tackling), and there is clear and obvious head contact for either player. This will be policed by both the match officials and the citing commissioner. When two high tackle warnings have been issued, a player will automatically receive a one-match suspension.

At the U20 Trophy (location and dates TBC), an amendment to Law 9.13 will operate, altering the definition of a high tackle from above the line of the shoulders to above the nipple line.

ScrumQueens gives us the inside look at Sandro Fiorino taking over the Head Coach role with Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team. Fiorino had previously served as the interim coach since November.

“We’re happy to announce that Sandro Fiorino will remove the interim title to officially lead Canada’s Women’s Fifteens Team moving forward,” said Dustin Hopkins, Rugby Canada Interim General Manager.

“I’m excited to take over the fifteens program, which has seen success and growth over the years. My goal is to have alignment within the sevens and fifteens programs to have a shared pathway for women’s rugby to continue excelling in Canada,” said Fiorino.

“I will be building out a plan to strengthen the way we identity and develop our athletes from across the country to help drive elite women’s rugby forward. The plan will have three simple goals: to achieve podium performances at the next Women’s Rugby World Cup in 202, to create a united talent structure and system that grows players from age grade to senior and to align grassroots, universities, regional and provincial/territorial talent development with a talent pathway.”

Rugby Canada can also confirm that Jack Hanratty has been named the Head Coach of Canada’s Women’s Under-20 Program, effective immediately.

The Kenya Lionesses have taken home their first Rugby Africa Women Sevens Cup title. They faced Uganda in the Cup final and led 22-0 at the half. They closed the match 29-7 and it matched what they saw throughout the tournament on the way to the final. They never really faced any opposition in pool play going 3-0 and breezed through the quarters, Kenya 43-7 Zambia and in the Cup semi-final they blanked Madagascar 27-0.

Although the process for qualifying for the 2019/20 series has not been formally confirmed by World Rugby, if it follows that for previous years is followed, Kenya and Uganda will now represent Africa in the next year’s qualifier. South Africa (runners up in the qualifier for the last two years) will not take part and so will not be able to qualify for the World Series until at least 2020/21 – after the next Olympics.

Paris 7s kicks off this weekend where Australia and New Zealand will surely end up in the final. Australia merely needs to reach the Cup final and they will claim the HSBC Sevens Series title. New Zealand who has been in top form recently will look to spoil Australia for the final though and take home the Paris 7s title.

The next stop for women’s sevens is the 2018 Rugby World Cup 7s in San Francisco, July 20-22.

The Rugby Breakdown gives us a unique look into the recent appointment of USA Rugby’s new Women’s National Team coach. Rob Cain has a big job in front of him, the USA Rugby organization is openly struggling and the fact that it took USA Rugby many months to find a head coach can’t be missed.

But Cain isn’t letting any of that hold him back, his focus is on developing infrastructure, pathways and finding on-field success as soon as possible. This will be a bit tough as Cain isn’t quite in the US yet but anticipates being here soon. The good news is that this is the first time the women’s national team will have a full-time head coach and the team already has a fall schedule with three heavily anticipated matches against New Zealand, Ireland and a TBC team.

We’ve been giving you glimpses into our workouts over the last few weeks. Feel free to join us on Instagram and post your own #workoutsnap!

We’re psyched to be attending the 2018 RWC 7s in San Francisco this year and we hope you’ll join us!

World Rugby announced that USA Rugby will host the opening round of next year’s HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Glendale, Colorado. This brings the number of rounds on the women’s series to six, as teams attempt to qualification for the 2020 Olympics.

The new HSBC USA Women’s Sevens round kicks off on 20-21 October, followed by existing rounds Dubai, Sydney, Kitakyushu, Langford and Paris. We’re ecstatic that series will make a stop in the USA but we know we have to come out in droves for it to stay in the US. We’ll see you in Denver!

Ireland’s rugby woes continue as it was revealed this week that the IRFU turned down an opportunity to host a historic three-test double-header of men’s and women’s internationals. It’s baffling because the only perceived cost would be for flights to send the Irish women on a groundbreaking summer tour.

The outcry on social media has been deafening but it’s unclear if Ireland is listening…

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