Tuesday, March 31, 2015


10 March 2015

Written by Ian Mcdonnell
Contact ianmcdo@apost.plala.or.jp

Edited by Gary Carbines for http://rugby-international.blogspot.com.au/

RiJ lists the host cities for RWC 2019 his issue after they were officially announced during the week. There is also a wrap on the National Championship and a bit of a look at the worth of promotion and relegation in Top League.

Enjoy the read.


  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Host Cities
  • 52nd National Championship
  • Promotion-Relegation

RWC 2019 logo

Host Cities

On Monday, 2 March 2015, in a simultaneous announcement in Dublin and Tokyo, World Rugby revealed the 12 venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Japan Rugby 2019 CEO Akira Shimazu noted, “I extend my deepest appreciation to all of the 15 candidates for participating in the host application process.” He went on to say, “Each of the candidate cities had excellent credentials to host and we decided on the final selection based on the overall needs of the tournament.”

World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset also said, “This is an important milestone for the tournament. Now we know exactly where the matches will be staged in Japan, and more importantly, the people of those cities and fans around the world can start planning for the big event.”

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper added, “I would like to congratulate the successful cities but also thank each and every one of the applicants and also Japan Rugby 2019 who have led on this process.”

The 15 submissions were reduced to 12 final venues with Sendai, Kyoto and Nagasaki missing out on selection.

Sapporo Dome, Sapporo city, 41,410.
The stadium has a fixed roof with retractable baseball (artificial) and football (grass) surfaces. It is the northern-most of the 12 venues.

 Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Kamaishi city, Iwate prefecture, 16, 187.
This yet-to-be-built venue is the smallest stadium in RWC 2019. Home to the legendary Nippon Steel Kamaishi side of the 1970s and 1980s, the area was hars hit by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Kumagaya Rugby Ground, Kumagaya city, Saitama prefecture, 24,000.
Located just north of Tokyo, the Kumagaya Rugby Ground is well located within the northern Kanto region. Japan played Tonga at this venue in 2002 in the only rugby international match to be played at the ground to date.

New National Stadium Japan, Tokyo, 80,000.
This new state-of-the-art stadium is currently being built to replace the 1964 Olympic stadium. The final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will be played here.

International Stadium Yokohama (Nissan Stadium), Yokohama city, Kanagawa prefecture, 72,327.
The stadium hosted the final of the 2002 Football World Cup and at present has the highest seating capacity of any stadium in Japan.

Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, Fukuroi city Shizuoka prefecture, 50,889.
Built in 2001, this stadium also hosted games at the 2002 Football World Cup.

Toyota Stadium, Toyota city, Aichi prefecture, 45,000.
Complete with a retractable roof, this stadium was also constructed in 2001 and is often used by Toyota Verblitz and Toyota Industries Shuttles for Top League games.

Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Higashi Osaka city, Osaka prefecture, 30,000.
Opened in 1929, Hanazono was the first rugby-dedicated ground in Japan. Higashi Osaka city will take ownership of the facilities in April 2015 with plans afoot to modernise the stadium ahead of 2019.

Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium (Noevir Stadium Kobe), Kobe city, Hyogo prefecture, 30,312.
This stadium also has a retractable roof and is used by Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers for home matches. Built in 2001, this stadium also hosted games at the 2002 Football World Cup while Japan played the Maori All Blacks here in November 2014.

Hakatanomori Football Stadium (Level-5 Stadium), Fukuoka city, Fukuoka prefecture, 22,563.
This stadium has hosted a number of rugby internationals and is a regular venue for Fukuoka-based Top League sides.

Oita Stadium, Oita city, Oita prefecture, 40,000.
This stadium is the largest of the three venues based in Kyushu.

Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium, Kumamoto city, Kumamoto prefecture, 32,000.This multi-purpose stadium hosts the occasional Top League game but is mostly used by local soccer side Roasso Kumamoto.

The 52nd National Championship 2015

Recent National Championship Finals

2015 (52nd): Yamaha 15 d Suntory 3
2014 (51st): Panasonic 30 d Toshiba 21
2013 (50th): Suntory 36 d Kobe 29
2012 (49th): Suntory 21 d Panasonic 9
2011 (48th): Suntory 37 d Sanyo 20
2010 (47th): Sanyo 22 d Toyota 17
2009 (46th): Sanyo 24 d Suntory 16
2008 (45th): Sanyo 40 d Suntory 18
2007 (44th): Toshiba 19 d Toyota 10
2006 (43rd): Toshiba 6 drew with NEC 6 (Joint champions)
2005 (42nd): NEC 17 d Toyota 13
2004 (41st): Toshiba 22 d Kobe 10


In England, talks are about that promotion and relegation between the Aviva Premiership and the Championship could be a thing of the past, from as early as next season.

On ESPN Scrum on 5 March 2015, in an article entitled ‘Closing the shop would benefit as all’, former Welsh international John Taylor wrote in favour of abandoning the time-honoured tradition of promotion and relegation and the relevance of his words equally apply to Top League here in Japan.

The link to the original article is here, http://www.espnscrum.com/premiership-2014-15/rugby/story/258403.html but to quote Taylor in short –

“The gap between the Premiership and the Championship is becoming a chasm, unbridgeable without the support of a hugely wealthy backer, and it is time we stopped pretending that the English game can sustain two divisions of full-time professional rugby”.

Although circumstances are different, the gist off the argument is pretty much the same, and so if we tweak Taylor’s words a bit we come up with something like this. ‘The gap between Top League and the regional leagues is becoming a chasm, unbridgeable without the support of a hugely wealthy corporate backer, and it is time we stopped pretending the Japanese game can sustain this system of quasi-professional rugby’.

In his article, Taylor went on to say the following. “Discussions have been going on behind closed doors for months … because everyone knows the present structure is unsustainable, and the reality is that there are certainly no more than 14 clubs with any aspirations to be a part of the top tier”.

Undoubtedly, discussions have been going on about the future of Top League with Japan entering a side in Super Rugby from 2016, and to be sure, the present system is unsustainable. Further, the reality is that there are certainly no more than about 16 to 20 corporate sides that can hack it in Top League. A line needs to be drawn under these 16 to 20 sides as they go it alone in an exclusive Top League competition.

The two-stage system that has been used in Top League the past two seasons has merit with a view to expansion. Two separate divisions of 8 to 10 sides each could be introduced with the usual ‘haves’ in the top division and the usual ‘have-nots’ in the lesser division. Play two rounds of home and away and at the end of the season the bottom team in Division One would trade places with the top team in Division Two.

The future structure of domestic rugby in Japan is now open to scrutiny and with a view to radical change that can only be a good thing.

Japan logoimage002

Japan’s World Rugby Ranking:
11 (11) (74.70, 23 February 2015).

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Belgium 71, Sweden 10 in Brussels (REC 1B)
Cyprus 17, Hungary 15 in Szazhalombatta (REC 2B)

A huge win, as predicted, by Belgium over Sweden. Not a happy start for new Swedish coach former England test prop Tim Payne.

Cyprus again found Hungary a tough nut to crack in Hungary.

Next Game
04.04-Hungary v Andorra in Andorra La Vela

Saturday, March 28, 2015



Image thanks to http://www.sportkipik.be/articles.php?id_article=9447

Venue: Gemeentelijk Sportstadion, Zaventem

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

MOLDOVA 5 3 0 2 155 83 72 4 16
BELGIUM 3 3 0 0 65 42 23 0 12
POLAND 3 2 0 1 63 73 -10 1 9
NETHERLANDS 3 1 0 2 47 42 5 2 6
UKRAINE 3 1 0 2 70 54 16 1 5
SWEDEN 3 0 0 3 25 131 -106 0 0

Sweden has a massive task against Belgium. Just a year ago Sweden was winning the ENC 2A competition whilst Belgium was struggling in the ENC 1A. They were light years apart then and the same would be true of today. One is semi professional and the other almost entirely amateur.

Belgium is without seven players from the squad that played Moldova. Some are with the seven’s team in Hong Kong, one is the coach of the national U18 side and one was not released by its club. Despite being a weakened side Belgium should be vastly superior over the Swedes.

Sweden has a new coach after their disastrous start to the 2014-15 season having being promoted from Level 2A. Tim Payne has been assigned the task of changing Sweden’s fortunes around. Payne, a prop forward, gained 22 caps for England between 2004 and 2010. He finished his career with wasps in 2013.

There will not be a more difficult task to begin ones coaching career. It will take a few more games before Payne’s coaching direction will take effect on a dispirited team.

Last Five Encounters
30.04.2005 Belgium 36-7 in Stockholm )WCQ Europe R2, Pool C)
19.10.1986 Belgium 9-0 in Brussels (FIRA B2)
10.05.1986 Sweden 12-6 in Malmo (FIRA B2)
16.10.1984 Belgium 19-3 in Brussels (FIRA B2)
24.10.1981 Sweden 15-9 in Karlstad (FIRA C)

Belgium Last Five P 5, W 3, L 2
14.03.2015 v Moldova W 17-14 in Brussels (REC 1B)
21.02.2015 v Netherlands W 23-21 in Amsterdam (REC 1B)
15.11.2014 v Ukraine W 25-10 in Irpin (REC 1B)
15.03.2014 v Russia L 20-34 in Brussels (WCQ Europe R5; ENC 1A)
08.03.2014 v Romania L 10-29 in Iasi (WCQ Europe R5; ENC 1A)

Sweden Last Five P 5, L 5
22.11.2014 v Moldova L 8-57 in Chisinau (REC 1B)
18.10.2014 v Ukraine L 0-45 in Enkoping (REC 1B)
26.09.2014 v Poland L 17-29 in Warsaw (REC 1B)
26.04.2014 v Germany L 20-45 in Stockholm (WCQ Europe R4; ENC 1B)
09.11.2013 v Moldova L 20-50 in Chisinau (WCQ Europe R4; ENC 1B)

Sweden’s last test win was against Poland in June 2013 when they won 19-11 in Stockholm. They have now lost their last seven test matches. Their record number of successive loses is ten between November 1993 and May 1995.

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table: Belgium 12th, Sweden 19th

World Rugby Ranking Points
Belgium 56.14, Sweden 46.20

Prediction: Belgium by 50 points. Score 58-8



Belgium Squad

Quentin Boucar (ASUB), Guillaume Brébant (Frameries), Tom Cocqu (US Bressane), Kevin Dams (ASUB), Florent Debatty (Soignies), Christophe Debaty (RFC Liégeois), Thomas De Molder (Pau), Michael De Molder (Boitsfort), Max Dubois (Soignies), Dirk Haghedooren (Agde), Romain Honhon (Soignies), Maxime Jadot (Lille), Loïc Lechien (ASUB), Baptiste Lescarboura (Kituro), Julien Massimi (Arras), Alain Miriallakis (Kansas City Blues), Tuur Moelants (Boitsfort), Raphaël Olive (Villefranche de Lauragais), Florian Piron (RFC Liégeois), Frédéric Rongé (Kituro), Hugo Sensée (Kituro), Maxime Temmerman (ASUB), Kjell Van Den Broeke (Dendermonde), Pablo Francisco Villar (La Hulpe), Savenaca Vocea (Dendermonde), Kevin Williams (ASUB), Alan Williams (Cognac)


Sweden Squad

Peter Wiklund Spartacus RFC             
Jan-Olof Johansson Spartacus RFC
Mark Beveridge  Stockholm exiles RFC
Daniel Chamberlain Stockholm exiles RFC
Alexander Rappestad  Norrköping RFC
Ehsan Fadakar Hammarby RFC
Robin Karlsson  Hammarby RFC
Sami Paulsson Norrköping RFC
Fredrik Enstad Södertälje RFC
Andreas Nilserius Södertälje RFC
Niklas Ståhle Hammarby RFC
Andreas Austa Södertälje RFC
Luke Perrin Uppsala RFC
Jono Edwards L'Aquila Rugby
Sebastian Nockmar Norrköping RFC
Jonas Zenglar Norrköping RFC
Stuart Rumbelow  Hammarby RFC
Henrik Ek Norrköping RFC
John McCallister Hammarby RFC
Måns Derk Södertälje RFC
Andrew Tees Hammarby RFC
Andreas Persson Pingvin RFC
Stewart  Devine Uppsala RFC
Reserv på hemma plan Adam Christersson Kalmar RFC

Head Coach: Tim Payne




Venue: Szazhalombatta

Referee: Štepán Cekal (Czech Republic)

LITHUANIA 2 2 0 0 72 44 28 2 10
LATVIA 2 2 0 0 55 34 21 1 9
CYPRUS 2 1 0 1 50 49 1 0 4
HUNGARY 2 0 0 2 43 54 -11 2 2
ANDORRA 2 0 0 2 25 64 -39 0 0

Played So Far

01.11.2014 CYPRUS 30 ANDORRA 10 PAPHOS
22.11.2014 LATVIA 39 CYPRUS 20 RIGA

Data from www.rugbyinternational.net

Cyprus’ last outing was their first loss in 23 tests breaking their 22 winning run, a world record for all rugby test matches.

This could well be a very close match.

Previous Encounters
17.05.2014 Cyprus 46-13 in Paphos (ENC 2C)
20.04.2013 Cyprus 16-15 in Esztergom (ENC 2C)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table: Cyprus 26th, Hungary 33rd

World Rugby Ranking Points
Do not apply. Cyprus is not a full member of World Rugby.

Prediction: Cyprus by 6 points: Score 20-14


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Not available


3 March 2015

Written by Ian Mcdonnell
Contact ianmcdo@apost.plala.or.jp

RiJ was in attendance at the final of the National Championship on Saturday where Yamaha pulled off a surprising, but solid 15-3 win over Suntory.

Enjoy the read.


  • The 52nd National Championship 2015: Final
  • HSBC World Series Sevens:

The 52nd National Championship 2015


Yamaha Jubilo (Top League) 15 d Suntory Sungoliath (Top League Wildcard) 3

Yamaha 15 – Tries: Male Sau, Shinji Nakazono; Conversion: Ayumu Goromaru; Penalty: Ayumu Goromaru d

Suntory 3 – Penalty: Tusi Pisi

Date: Saturday, 28 February 2015
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo
Kick-off: 14:00

Referee: Akihisa Aso
Halftime: Yamaha 15 – Suntory 3
Attendance: 14,627

Conditions: Fine, light breeze, forecast daily maximum for Tokyo 12 degrees Celsius. Surface patchy but dry and fast.

Yellow Cards: Fourie du Preez (Suntory No.9, 32 min 1H, repeated team infringements), Ayumu Goromaru (Yamaha No.15, 11 min 2H, charging player in the air).

Yamaha: 1- Koki Yamamoto, 2- Takeshi Hino, 3- Yoshikazu Tamura, 4- Yuya Odo, 5- Duke Krishnan, 6- Mose Tuiali’i, 7- Yuhimaru Mimura (c), 8- Kyosuke Horie, 9- Yuki Yatomi, 10- Tatsuhiko Otao, 11- Shinji Nakazono, 12- Male Sau, 13- Masatoshi Miyazawa, 14- Chikara Ito and 15- Ayumu Goromaru. Reserves: 16- Keita Kato, 17- Naoya Kishi, 18- Ryo Yamamura, 19- Keisuke Yagishita, 20- Kazuki Yamaji, 21- Shinya Ikemachi, 22- Siale Piutau and 23- Rocky Havili. Coach: Katsuyuki Kiyomiya.

Suntory: 1- Tateo Kanai, 2- Yusuke Aoki, 3- Kensuke Hatakeyama, 4- Koji Shinozuka, 5- Shinya Makabe (c), 6- Masakatsu Nishikawa, 7- Takamichi Sasaki, 8- Juntaro Takemoto, 9- Fourie du Preez, 10- Tusi Pisi, 11- Daishi Murata, 12- Ryoto Nakamura, 13- Kotaro Matsushima, 14- Yasunori Nagatomo and 15- Kenta Tsukamoto. Reserves: 16- Naoki Ozawa, 17- Shintaro Ishihara, 18- Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19- Yuki Tsujimoto, 20- Schalk Burger, 21- Atsushi Hiwasa, 22- Ryan Nicholas and 23- Shohei Takeshita. Coach: Naoya Okubo.

Recent Encounters

Suntory 16 d Yamaha 12 (TL 2014-15, Stage 2)
Suntory 22 d Yamaha 19 (TL 2013-14, Stage 2)
Suntory 35 d Yamaha 29 (TL 2012-13)
Suntory 26 d Yamaha 13 (TL 2011-12)
Suntory 72 d Yamaha 0 (TL 2010-11)
Suntory 51 d Yamaha 13 (TL 2009-10)
Yamaha 31 d Suntory 27 (TL 2008-9)


Yamaha Jubilo, playing in their first-ever Championship final, ground out a gutsy 15-3 win over six-time champions Suntory Sungoliath in the decider of the 52nd National Championship 2015 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo on Saturday 28 February 2015.

Yamaha brought the curtain down on the domestic season for another year as the Shizuoka prefecture-based Jubilo claimed their first piece of serious silverware with the national title.

“That was our best game all season.” An impressed Yamaha head coach Katsuyuki Kiyomiya said after the dust had settled. He went on to say that his players fronted up and played aggressively, especially in the first half and that was what got them the win.

Yamaha played their second final in a month after losing the Lixil Cup final to Panasonic Wild Knights earlier in the month and this time round there was no denying the Jubilo their glory.

All the scoring was done in the first forty minutes with centre Male Sau scoring the first try in the seventh minute and wing Shinji Nakazono the only other five pointer in the twenty-sixth minute. Fullback Ayumu Goromaru also contributed with a conversion and a penalty in the thirteenth minute while for Suntory, fly half Tusi Pisi scored their only points with a penalty in the twentieth minute.

Defence, determination and calm heads win big games and Yamaha showed their more fancied rivals how to do it. “We knew that to win, defence would be seventy percent of the effort.” Said winning captain Yuhimaru Mimura, and that is how things worked out.

The lion’s share of possession and territory was with Yamaha throughout the match meaning Suntory were left living off scraps when they could get them. The Sungoliath played the majority of the game at the wrong end of the park and this did not suit their style of rugby.

Suntory just could not take a trick and a high penalty count against kept them on the back foot. “We tried to attack, but our own errors and the strong defence denied us any shape.” A disappointed Suntory coach Naoya Okubo said. He went on to say “This was an unfortunate result, but over the 80 minutes the Yamaha defence was outstanding.”

For all intents and purposes, Suntory played their final against Panasonic in the semi-final and with week in week out rugby taking its toll, the Sungoliath looked tired. Clearly though, Yamaha were the hungrier and more efficient side and their historic win was well deserved.

Under sunny skies and mild winter conditions, Yamaha fullback Ayumu Goromaru kicked off the final giving Suntory first use of the ball. However, a knock on gave Yamaha an attacking scrum only for it to be free kicked for an early push.

A short exchange of kicks followed before Suntory continued with ball in hand. The approach drew a penalty giving the Sungoliath a lineout inside the Yamaha half. A penalty for not releasing relieved the pressure with Goromaru kicking Jubilo back into the Suntory half. A rolling maul followed the lineout followed by another penalty with Yamaha keeping up the pressure from yet another lineout. The risk paid off with inside centre Male Sau barging his way over for the first try of the final in the seventh minute. Goromaru added the extras to see Jubilo out to a 7-0 lead.

Yamaha maintained their dominance in possession and territory with another penalty in the 12th minute when the Suntory backs were caught offside. This gave Goromaru a long-range shot at goal and the Japan international made no mistake with the kick as the lead became 10-0.

Suntory had limited time with the ball over the first quarter of the match and to compound their woes, breakdown penalties denied them any rhythm. However, a penalty in front of the Yamaha posts on the twenty minute mark allowed Suntory fly half Tusi Pisi to step up to the mark to narrow the difference to 10-3.

Two minutes later, Yamaha turned down a very kickable penalty to go for touch in an attempt to take the game to Suntory. Halfback Fourie du Preez ended up turning over the ball and Suntory set about running the ball out of their own twenty-two. The attempt failed though, as the forwards were once again penalised at the breakdown. Yamaha once more turned down a shot at goal for a lineout with the rolling maul driving over the Suntory goal line only to be held up. From the 5-metre scrum, Yamaha span the ball left with left wing Shinji Nakazono having to work hard to get the ball down in the corner. The TMO was called into play with the try eventually awarded and although Goromaru could not add the extras from the sideline, Yamaha were out to a handy 15-3 lead by the half-hour mark.

The continuous penalties finally tested the patience of referee Akihisa Aso with du Preez sent to the sinbin in the thirty-second minute for yet another breakdown penalty. Yamaha continued to turn the screw with the extra man advantage, but the Suntory defence held firm. Over the closing stages of the opening half, Suntory had the chance to string some phases together with Pisi acting as halfback, but it came to nothing with the sides going to the break with Yamaha leading 15-3.

Pisi kicked off the second half with du Preez still on the sidelines with Suntory having ground to make up, though it was not long before the South African was back in the fray to even up the numbers. The Sungoliath maintained their ball-in-hand style of play, but the Yamaha defence and effort at the breakdown thwarted the Suntory attack early in the half.

Suntory were playing the game at the wrong end of the park, but the game turned when Goromaru was sent to the sinbin in the 11th minute for charging wing Yasunori Nagatomo in the air. This gave Suntory the opportunity to go on the offensive with the Yamaha ace out of the game for ten minutes.

The lion’s share of possession and territory for Yamaha meant Suntory were left living off scraps when they could get them as Jubilo ground down the clock while Goromaru was absent. By the time the fullback was back on the field, there was still no change to the halftime score and with less than twenty minutes remaining on the clock, Suntory had their work cut out getting on top of their determined opposition.

Defence, determination and calm heads win big games and Yamaha were showing their more fancied rivals how to do it. Suntory just could not take a trick and with the penalty count mounting and the clock clicking down the Sungoliath were ringing the changes on the bench in order to keep their title hopes alive.

Suntory played their final against Panasonic in the semi-final and with week in week out rugby the Sungoliath were looking tired. However, Yamaha were clearly the hungrier and more efficient side and their win was well deserved.

HSBC 7s 

HSBC Sevens World Series 2014-15

Round 6, Hong Kong Sevens

27-29 March 2015, Hong Kong Stadium, Hog Kong

In 2015, a total of 40 international teams across three competitions will mark 40 years of Sevens in Hong Kong. In addition to the HSBC Sevens World Series Core Team Competition for the 15 core teams and Belgium, the 12-team international series qualifier tournament and the 12-team Hong Kong Women’s Sevens competitions will take place.


Pool A

Pool B

Pool C

Pool D


New Zealand

South Africa














Pool C Games for Japan

Day 1: Friday, 27 March 2015

Match 2 (18:32): France v Japan

Day 2: Saturday, 28 March 2015

Match xx (12:18): South Africa v Japan

Match xx (15:36): Argentina v Japan

HSBC Sevens World Series

Round 7, Japan Sevens
4-5 April 2015, Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo

Round 8, Scotland Sevens
9-10 May 2015, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow

Round 9, England Sevens
16-17 May 2015, Twickenham Stadium, London


Sweden v Belgium in Brussels (REC 1B)

Cyprus v Hungary in Hungary (REC 2B)

Monday, March 23, 2015


All results now in

Cayman Islands 25, USA South 24 in Atlanta (Caribbean Champ., North)
Trinidad Tobago 44, Barbados 7 in St Michael (Caribbean Champ.,South)
Bahamas 21, Bermuda 15 in Nassau (Caribbean Cup, North)
St Vincent & Grenadines 16, St Lucia 8 in Castries (Caribbean Cup, South)

Some surprises continue in this competition. USA South were defeated at home by Cayman Islands which puts the Americans in a promotion-relegation match with probably Bahamas.Mexico will now play the Cayman Islands on 11 April to see who takes out the Championship North title. That winner will play the Championship South winner for the Grand Final.

The other surprise is the Bahamas defeated Bermuda at home which means they only have to win against Turks and Caicos Islands to qualify for the promotion-relegation playoff against Bermuda.

Trinidad and Tobago’s win against Barbados ensures a Championship South final against last year’s champion Guyana on the 11 April

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Wales 61, Italy 20 in Rome (6 Nations)
Ireland 40, Scotland 10 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
England 55, France 35 at Twickenham (6 Nations)

A rush of point scoring saw some amazing results in the final round. In the end England just couldn’t gather enough points to overhaul Ireland who take the title for the second year in a row. Earlier Wales set the pace with a huge win over Italy scoring 47 points in the second half.


Georgia 15, Romania 6 in Bucharest (REC 1A)
Russia 21, Portugal 8in Sochi (REC 1A)
Spain 48, Germany 16 in Madrid (REC 1A)

Georgia are the 2015 REC winners. They battled to a hard fought win against Romania. Russia and Spain comfortably won their final games.


Cayman Islands 25, USA South 24 in Atlanta (Caribbean Champ., North)
Trinidad Tobago v Barbados in St Michael (Caribbean Champ.,South)
Bermuda v Bahamas in Nassau (Caribbean Cup, North)
St Vincent & Grenadines v St Lucia in TBA (Caribbean Cup, South)

Most games are yet to be played. Cayman Islands caused another upset in this competition defeating USA South in Atlanta. USA South will now face either Barbados or Bermuda in a promotion-relegation game.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


All this weekend’s games will receive less coverage than normal due to other commitments I have.

Wales v Italy in Rome (6 Nations)
Ireland v Scotland at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
France v England at Twickenham (6 Nations)
Georgia v Romania in Bucharest (REC 1A)
Portugal v Russia in Sochi (REC 1A)
Germany v Spain in Madrid (REC 1A)
Cayman Islands v USA South in Atlanta (Caribbean Champ., North)
Trinidad Tobago v Barbados in St Michael (Caribbean Champ.,South)
Bermuda v Bahamas in Nassau (Caribbean Cup, North)
St Vincent & Grenadines v St Lucia in TBA (Caribbean Cup, South)



Venue: Twickenham

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Three nations have a chance to win the 6 Nations Championship. They are Wales, Ireland and England. Wales plays Italy, Ireland plays Scotland and England plays France in the final round Saturday.

Of all those games the England-France clash looks the most likely to be a close clash. That does not look good for England’s chance of winning the title. If all three teams win their game then it will come down to point difference.

Last Five Encounters
01.02.2014 France 26-25 in Paris (6 Nations)
23.02.2013 England 23-13 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
11.03.2012 England 24-22 in Paris (6 Nations)
08.10.2011 France 19-12 in Auckland (World Cup, Quarter final)
26.02.2011 England 17-9 at Twickenham (6 Nations)

France last won at Twickenham in 2007, 21-15.

England Last Five P 5, W 4, L 1
14.03.2015 v Scotland W 25-13 at Twickenham (6 Nations;Calcutta Cup)
01.03.2015 v Ireland L 9-19 in Dublin (6 Nations)
14.02.2015 v Italy W 47-17 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
06.02.2015 v Wales W 21-16 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
22.11.2014 v Samoa W 28-9 at Twickenham

France Last Five P 5, W 2, L 3
15.03.2015 v Italy W 29-0 in Rome (6 Nations; Garibaldi Trophy)
28.02.2015 v Wales L 13-20 in Paris (6 Nations)
14.02.2015 v Ireland L 11-18 in Dublin (6 Nations)
07.02.2015 v Scotland W 15-8 in Paris (6 Nations)
22.11.2014 v Argentina L 13-18 in Paris

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: England 2nd, France 11th
Europe Table: England 3rd, France 4th

World Rugby Ranking Points
England 85.11, France 80.02

Prediction: England by 6: Score: 17-11


15 Michael Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jack Nowell, 10 George Ford, 9 Benjamin Youngs, 8 William Vunipola,
7 Christopher Robshaw (Capt.), 6 James Haskell, 5 Courtney Lawes,
4 Geoffrey Parling, 3 Daniel Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joseph Marler
16 Thomas Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kieron Brookes, 19 Nicholas Easter, 20 Thomas Wood, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Daniel Cipriani,
23 William Twelvetrees

Head Coach: Stuart lancaster

15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Maxime Mermoz,
11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Sébastian Tillous-Borde, 8 Loann Goujon, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (Capt.), 5 Yoann Maestri,
4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Vincent Debaty.
16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Rabah Slimani, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud

Head Coach: Philippe Saint-Andre



Venue: Murrayfield

Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)

Ireland’s task is to score as many points as they can against Scotland and prevent Scotland from as scoring as little points as possible. It’s only in this way that Ireland have a chance of taking the 6 Nations Championship.

Last Five Encounters
02.02.2014 Ireland 28-6 in Dublin (6 Nations)
24.02.2013 Scotland 12-8 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
10.03.2012 Ireland 32-14 in Dublin (6 Nations)
06.08.2011 Scotland 10-6 at Murrayfield (World Cup Warm-up)
27.02.2011 Ireland 21-18 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)

Ireland Last Five P 5, W 4, L 1 
14.03.2015 v Wales L 16-23 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
01.03.2015 v England W 19-9 in Dublin (6 Nations)
14.02.2015 v France W 18-11 in Dublin (6 Nations)
07.02.2015 v Italy W 26-3 in Rome (6 Nations)
22.11.2014 v Australia W 26-23 in Dublin

Scotland Last Five P 5, W 1, L 4
14.03.2015 v England L 13-25 at Twickenham (6 Nations; Calcutta Cup)28.02.2015 v Italy L 19-22 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
14.02.2015 v Wales L 23-26 at Murrayfield (6 Nations)
07.02.2015 v France L 8-15 in Paris (6 Nations)
22.11.2014 v Tonga W 37-12 at Kilmarnock

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: Ireland 1st, Scotland 6th
Europe Table: Ireland 2nd, Scotland 6th

World Rugby Ranking Points
Ireland 85.32, Scotland 75.22

Prediction: Ireland by 10 points: Score: 19-9


15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Thomas Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matthew Scott,
11 Douglas Fife, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (Capt.), 8 David Denton,
7 Blair Cowan, 6 Adam Ashe, 5 Jonathon Gray, 4 James Hamilton, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Ryan Grant.
16 Fraser Brown, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Geoffrey Cross, 19 Timothy Swinson, 20 Robert Harley, 21 Samuel Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Greig Tonks,
23 Timothy Visser

Head Coach: Vern Cotter

15 Robert Kearney, 14 Thomas Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robert Henshaw,
11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Heaslip,
7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Paul O'Connell (Capt.), 4 Devin Toner,
3 Michael Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Iain Henderson,
20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Felix Jones

Head Coach:Joe Schmidt