Asia, Around Regions
With Rugby in Asia on a high following hugely successful HSBC Sevens World Series events in Hong Kong and Tokyo, attention now turns to Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying. Manila is the scene for the first round of matches in Asia with the opening Division One matches of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations tournament taking place on April 1. The teams involved are Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Chinese Taipei. Find out more about Rugby in Asia at www.arfu.com
Key meetings took place in Tokyo last week to develop the platform that will underpin Rugby World Cup 2019’s role as a major driver for growth in Asia. The event, hosted in Japan, will be the first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia – a region with 60 per cent of the world’s youth and a region where Rugby Sevens’ Olympic Games inclusion is having a profound impact on participation and development.
Wallaby stars Will Genia, Radike Samo, Digby Ioane and Ben Tapuai have been selected as Ambassadors for the Pacific in Union programme, a new tripartite initiative between Australian Rugby Union, the International Rugby Board and the Australian Government. Pacific in Union is a part of the Pacific Sports Partnerships, a programme that uses sport as a vehicle to achieve social development outcomes in Pacific island countries. The programme is an Australian Government initiative, delivered in partnership with Australian national sporting organisations and their regional counterparts.
The Pacific Sports Partnerships is part of the Australian Sports Outreach Programme, which is a broader joint initiative between AusAID and the Australian Sports Commission to utilise sport as a tool for development. IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset welcomed the tripartite agreement and said Pacific in Union was another positive investment in the Pacific.
“The IRB has invested over AUS$24million in the Pacific Islands over the last Rugby World Cup cycle and this partnership between the ARU, the IRB and the Australian Government will significantly enhance this investment,” said Lapasset.
Elsewhere, annual High Performance reviews for Fiji and Samoa will be undertaken in April. The reviews comprise detailed analysis and site visits of each country’s IRB Funded High Performance facilities. The review is a day-long detailed analysis of all components of the Union’s High Performance programme across four main areas: administration and governance, daily training environment, sports science and sports medicine and International competition and support. For more information about Rugby in Oceania go to www.oceaniarugby.com
England are the 2012 FIRA-AER European Under 18 champions after defeating Ireland 25-15 in Madrid on Saturday.
With the 24 top teams in Europe competing across three divisions, the annual event is the largest festival of international Rugby in the world. For all the results and details on the legacy programmes that underpin the event as a driver for growth in Europe visit www.fira-aer-rugby.com/competition-36.html
The International Rugby Board’s anti-doping education programme broke new ground over the weekend with all 24 teams participating in this tournament taking time out to learn about the importance of keeping Rugby clean.
It was the first time the outreach programme had taken place outside an IRB tournament and also involved the youngest players ever to have been educated, players who could be considered a high risk group given they are on the verge of playing senior Rugby.
A pilot project driven by the IRB and its Regional Development Managers for Europe Doug Langley and Michel Arpaillange, with the support of FIRA-AER, saw all 24 teams attend a brief presentation, translated by team management, followed by players completing the WADA Anti-Doping quiz.
The 24 teams who went through the programme were: Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and Wales. On April 5-6 the “TES” Adoption Scheme Coaching Conference will take place in Belgium. The TES scheme is where the six major Unions in FIRA-AER adopt and support developing Unions by using their staff to go to the Union and run courses, etc.
A special conference analysing RWC 2011 and looking towards RWC 2015 in terms of how to best prepare for qualification and enhancing performance during the tournament was held in Liege in March.
Facilitated by IRB RDMs Michel Arpaillange and Douglas Langley, the conference looked at performance, coaching and preparation trends from Rugby’s showcase event. It also featured workshops run by Patrick Robin and Michel Lamoulie on coaching match officials.
The attendees were from Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Norway Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain and Ukraine.
This month is all about strategic planning in South America with two important meetings taking place, one in Lima, Peru (April 13-15) and the other in Punta del Este, Uruguay (April 20-22).
These sessions will involve the presidents and general managers from the Unions of Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala in the first meeting and Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and Paraguay in the second, and will help shape the medium-term future of the Game for the entire region. This week’s Total Rugby TV show features Rugby in Ecuador and Guatemala.
As part of their build-up to the IRB Junior World Championship later this year, South Africa Under 20s will host their Argentinean counterparts for two internationals in Stellenbosch. A South African invitational team, comprising mainly Under 19 players, will also face the touring Pumitas.
The international matches will take place on 14, 17 and 21 April, the latter at the Danie Craven Stadium which will be one of the venues for IRB Junior World Championship 2012 from June 4-22. For more information on Argentina’s tour to South Africa go to www.sarugby.co.za or visit the official IRB JWC 2012 website at www.irb.com/jwc
Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying continued in the Caribbean over the weekend with Jamaica snatching a 19-18 victory over Cayman Islands and Barbados defeating St Vincent & The Grenadines 34-3 to shoot up the latest IRB World Rankings.
For more information go to www.nacrugby.com or visit the official RWC 2015 website www.rugbyworldcup.com for latest news from the qualifying process, explanations of the process by region and a media pack.
Total Rugby TV were in Mexico for the opening qualifying match, watch their package here: www.irb.com/totalrugby/index.html
Meanwhile, the Curacao Beach Rugby tournament took place on April 7. For details check out www.irb.com/totalrugby/index.html.