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Mils Muliaina

Mils Muliaina will be playing in the new Pro League in the USA

Next Sunday afternoon at 16:00 Pacific Standard Time a little piece of rugby history will be made. The 1st match of a brand new USA pro-league will kick off when Sacramento face San Francisco on Bonney Field. The venture has the blessing of both World Rugby and USA Rugby, although it is entirely independent of either governing body. There are only 5 teams competing in the league – Denver, Ohio and San Diego in addition to the 2 above – but for US rugby this may just be the acorn from which a rugby oak emerges.

The money man is Doug Schoninger, who worked in the financing of stadiums but boasts no background in rugby. The man in charge of the rugby is a Scot, Steve Lewis, who has been steeped in the game since growing up in Glasgow and whose resume is a good deal more exotic than most.

After turning out for West of Scotland alongside the likes of Matt Duncan, Gerry McGuinness and a young Gordon Bulloch, Lewis emigrated to the US in the early 1990s. He has coached a wide variety of teams around the world from the West Point Ladies, the Beit Jala Lions (in Palestine), Nigeria’s national team, Vail Rugby, Old Blue and the New York City Sevens side that won the plate final at Twickenham in 2013. Lewis was named the USA Coach of the Year in 2014.

As rugby director of the new league it is his task to populate those 5 teams with the best players money can buy: well, the best players that UD$ 35 000.00 can buy. And if that doesn’t sound like a king’s ransom it was enough to tempt fullback Mils Muliaina and his 100 All Black caps to play a 12-match season that stretches just 3 and a half months (17 April – 31 July). The league kicks off when the American Football season is over and before the baseball has become interesting.

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USA supportersA professional Rugby Union competition structure is to be launched in North America for the 1st time next year, as officials aim to capitalise on the increasing popularity of the sport.

A statement from the Professional Rugby Organization (PRO) said the 6-team league will kick off in April 2016 with the blessing of USA Rugby and World Rugby, the sport’s international governing body.

It will be the 1st time the sport has had a professional league in the region, where rugby is barely noticeable in a sporting landscape dominated by American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey.

The teams will be based in major metropolitan areas around the northeast United States, the Rocky Mountains and California, a statement said.

Teams from Canada would be added to an expanded competition in 2017.

“As the fastest growing team sport in the USA, it is the time to have a sanctioned professional competition,” USA Rugby chairman Bob Latham said.

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Scotland

Head Coach Vern Cotter has sought continuity in the rotated Scotland squad named for this Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Round 2 Test against the USA Eagles at Elland Road, Leeds (27 September, kick-off 15:30 SA Time, 14:30 BST, 13:30 GMT).

The entire bench from Wednesday’s win over Japan (45 / 10) has been promoted into the starting line-up meaning that despite making 10 changes to the starting 15 there are just 4 new faces in the 23-man squad: Tim Visser and Alasdair Strokosch who start at wing and back-row respectively and replacements Tim Swinson (lock) and Duncan Weir (flyhalf).

Cotter said: “We said from the start that we’d need the whole group of 31 players for this campaign.  We’ve known this schedule for a long time and have tried to keep continuity in selection, while also introducing fresh legs to what will be another very physical challenge this Sunday.”

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Georgia Page

Georgia Page

A female rugby player showed the boys how it’s done when she made 2 bone-crunching tackles after breaking her nose on the pitch.

Georgia Page, an Australian who plays for US university team Lindenwood, broke her nose during a match against Notre Dame earlier this week.

Instead of calling time on her game, she soldiered on – making 2 further tackles with blood streaming down her face – and winning legions of supporters on social media.

USA Sevens Rugby tweeted out a picture and video of Ms Page during the match, referring to her as the “the Rugby War Goddess,” much to the amusement of the goddess herself who replied: “this is great”.

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MoneyHaving just read an article which elicited quite a strangely strong emotional shout out loud response from myself I thought it would be worth sharing it here to bring it to the attention of anyone else who may not have heard about what I feel to be a very crude deal that has been made.

As it is so hot of the press (for me) I am not sure whether this horse trading breaks any specific laws as laid out by the International Rugby Board but I feel it certainly goes against the Spirit of our great game.

The detail of the deal between USA Rugby and Premiership Rugby Ltd (PRL) needs to be viewed in the context of the recent past regarding PRL’s stance on players playing for their country outside of the International Window. In particular, I am referring to the instance where they reportedly fined Northampton Saints (one of the clubs playing and contributing to the success of their very own league) £60 000 for allowing George North to play for Wales in a match that fell outside of the International Window.

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USAUSA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville, who famously captained England on his international debut against Australia in 1984, had a successful top flight coaching career with both Wasps and Gloucester, winning England’s domestic league and cup competitions. But when he left Kingsholm in 2005 he knew that he needed a new career challenge and a change of scenery.

“I couldn’t see myself coaching in the same type of role for another 10 years,” said Melville. “I’m interested in the development of sport and how organisations improve. The opportunity at USA Rugby came up – the new board was different to the average rugby board. I was sucked in by their ambition.”

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All BlacksUSAThe New Zealand Rugby Union confirmed on Tuesday the All Blacks will travel to take on the USA in Chicago on 1 November.

The world’s best will take on their American counterparts at the 61,000-seater Solider Field stadium, home to the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

Though rumours and speculation regarding this fixture have bubbled away for nearly six months, it was only on Tuesday that the match was publicly announced as the Kiwis’ newest overseas initiative, with the purposes of drawing on the developing market – boasting huge potential – in the USA, generating a ballpark figure of at least $1 million NZ dollars for the NZRU, and offering the Test side important preparation for the subsequent fixtures in Europe.

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The final round of matches in the pool stages of the Junior World Rugby Trophy (JWRT) took place yesterday, 26th June, in Salt Lake City, USA, on fields surrounded by lovely snow capped mountains.

The JWRT now heads into the play off stage, with these games coming up on Saturday 30th June. The matches will take place during the night SA Time.

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All Blacks (12) 33 / Pumas (7) 10 (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and the Argentianian Pumas did battle in the Fourth Quarter Final in Auckland at 09:30 SA Time (20:30 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

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The All Blacks progress through to the semi-finals, but only after the galant Argentinians gave them a bloody good go in the process.

The final four are now decided, they are Wales vs France and All Blacks vs Wallabies.

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Argentina (5) 25 / Georgia (7) 7 (Final Score)

Argentina and Georgia did battle in Palmerston North at 02:00 SA Time (13:00 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

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Georgia led 7-5 at half time but only one team came out in the second half. Argentina scored 20 unanswered points in the second half. Penalty count against Georgia 17 vs 8.

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Argentina (3) 13 / Scotland (6) 12 (Final Score)

Argentina and Scotland did battle in Wellington at 09:30 SA Time (20:30 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

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This was not a pretty, airy-fairie match, but hard and unrelenting rugby.

The Argentinians came back from being 12 / 6 down to score a marvelous try and a cool conversion, and then hanging on with everything they had to keep brave Scotland away.

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Argentina (26) 43 / Romania (8) 8 (Final Score)

Argentina did battle with Romania in Invercargill at 05:30 SA Time (15:30 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

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Consumate performance by Argentina, 6 tries to 1.

Argentina was just too strong from the word go.

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England (3) 13 / Argentina (6) 9 (Final Score)

England did battle with Argentina in Dunedin at 10:30 SA Time (20:30 NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

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Argentina made England sweat and work very hard for their win.

The worst aspect of this match was poor goal kicking by both sides.

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France (9) 15 / Argentina (3) 9 (Final Score) 

France hosted Argentina at Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier at 21:45 SA Time. This is the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

On a muddy field, fireworks is not expected, so in a hard and physical battle, the boot decided the outcome, not a single try scored.

France ground out a win, winning by 15 / 9.

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