Singapore v United Arab Emirates in Dubai (Asia Nations Division 1)
Hong Kong v Philippines in Hong Kong (WCQ Asia; Asia 5 Nations)
Korea v Sri Lanka in Seoul (WCQ Asia; Asia 5 Nations)
Paraguay v Uruguay in Asuncion (South American Championship)
Brazil v Chile in Barueri (South American Championship)
Ukraine v Poland in Lvov (WCQ Europe R4; ENC 1B)
Czech Republic v Moldova in Prague (WCQ Europe R4; ENC 1B)
Sweden v Germany in Stockholm (WCQ Europe R4; ENC 1B)
Lithuania v Switzerland in Lithuania (ENC 2A)
Latvia v Israel in Riga (ENC 2B)
Bulgaria v Cyprus in Sofia (ENC 2C)
Greece v Luxembourg in Thessalonika (ENC 2D)
Phew! What a banquet of test rugby this weekend!
Whilst the emphasis of test rugby this weekend is still in Europe the international game spreads its wings in Asia and South America.
In Asia the final showdown that will determine the top Asia place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup finals begins with games in Seoul and Hong Kong. The second-placed team in the Asia 5 Nations will qualify for the arduous repechage round.
Also in Asia the Division 1 competition gets underway. For the first time this level of competition sees a home/away format rather than the one venue tournament.
The new format for CONSUR senior men’s rugby (it’s similar to the 2011 format) sees Paraguay, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay play for the two top places. These two teams qualify for the CONSUR Cup of 2015. The CONSUR Cup for 2014 will later be played between Argentina and the two other top teams from the 2013 CONSUR Cup, Uruguay and Chile.
In the European Nations Cup fixtures this weekend the final matches in the World Cup qualifying 1B division should keep us on the edge of our seats.
Germany and Moldova are the only teams in the hunt for a place in the ENC 1A 2014-16 competition. Germany has slightly more than a toe in that door with a better points difference and a first round win over Moldova. Germany has the more difficult team to play (Sweden) whilst Moldova faces the Czech Republic who are well out of this competition and will be relegated. Both Germany and Moldova play away. Neither team can afford not to score a bonus point victory. Everything is at stake. Can’t wait!
Of the other ENC games only the Greece-Luxembourg Division 2D game has major significance. This competition was wide-open until last weekend.Bosnia’s 43-0 win over Norway changed the complexion somewhat and they are now the team to chase. The pressure is on both Greece and Luxembourg to secure a bonus point win.
Did I say briefly?