Daily Round Up – 14/01/2021 – Japanese Top League Delayed
Japanese Top League Start Delayed
Due To 67 League wide positive Covid cases, the Japanese Top League start has been delayed. Last season was completely abandoned due to the pandemic and this is another blow. The Top League is one of the fastest growing in the world. It is now home to some of the biggest names in World Rugby and the standard goes up with each year. This competition, in particular, had been highly anticipated, due to the likes of Beauden Barrett and Michael Hooper being involved. They are not hoping for a mid-February start, but nothing is guaranteed at this point.
JRFU Chairman Kensuke Iwabuchi:
“Japan Rugby Football Union and Top League have had discussions and we want to do everything we can to have this year’s Top League season,”
Jamie Ritchie Signs Long Term Edinburgh Deal
Scotland Flanker Jamie Ritchie has signed a new long term deal at Edinburgh. He made his debut in 2014, against Leinster, and has gone on the become one of the best players for both club and country. The 24 year old has 73 caps for his club and 23 for Scotland, since his debut in 2018. The deal comes after a number of positive moves from the capital side. They recently signed Harlequins duo James Lang and Glen Young, as well as giving a new long term deal to fellow Flanker Hamish Watson. Ritchie looks set to be a major part of this Edinburgh side for years to come and has been tipped as a future Scotland captain.
Edinburgh Head Coach Richard Cockerill:
“There’s no two ways about it, this really is fantastic news for the club,”
“Jamie and Hamish are two of best back-row forwards in the game right now.
“The back-row and their role at the breakdown is so vital in today’s game. Dominance, and at the very least parity, is so often a decisive factor in the outcome of the game, while Jamie’s height and athleticism means he’s also an excellent lineout option.”
“Jamie is an excellent young player with an old head on his shoulders. He has a really bright future ahead of him and we’re delighted he’s signed such a long-term deal.
“His work-rate is immense but it’s the quality of work within that which sets him apart.
“He’s a fantastic leader on the park and certainly has, in my opinion, the capacity to captain his country in the future.”
Premier 15s ‘Paused’
The Allianz Premier 15s 2020/21 season has been paused until the end of the month. Like many leagues around the world, they have taken the action due to the current state of the pandemic.
RFU head of women’s performance, Nicky Ponsford: “After consultation with representatives from Premier 15s clubs we have decided to pause the league until the end of the month.
“The rescheduling of the Six Nations will hopefully enable us to play games over the original Six Nations period providing it is safe to do so and we’ll be working hard to finalise a structure and implement agreed intensive protocols across the league.
“We are also very mindful that a number of club medical staff and players work in the NHS, so this is also an opportunity for them to break from rugby duties.
“While we aim to return at the end of the month, we are conscious this is a fluid situation and we will continue to review and evaluate during this playing break.
“We’d like to thank all clubs for their continued efforts, co-operation and support during this period.”
Montoya Joins Up With Tigers Earlier Than Planned
A Visa issue has forced Julian Montoya to renege on his contract with the Western Force and link up with the Leicester Tigers, earlier than planned. The 27 year old Argentina Hooker had been due to play in Super Rugby AU and the new Trans-Tasman Competition with the Force. The move to Tigers was then due to happen after. Force’s loss, is Tiger’s gain, as Montoya is one of the best Hookers in World Rugby. The Los Pumas star will now battle it out with the likes of Tom Youngs and Jake Kerr, for the starting two shirt at Tigers.
Carl Hogg To Join Up With Russia
Former Worcester Warriors and Ospreys Coach Carl Hogg has joined up with the Russia National side. He will help them prepare for their next batch of matches, as they look to improve their ranking of 21st in the World. Russia face Georgia in February in the 2020 Rugby Europe Championship. They will then start the 2021 version of Europe’s second-tier Six Nations. Hogg will be joined in Lyn Jones’s Coaching Team, by former Leicester Prop and Scrum Coach Boris Stankovich.
Liam Williams Will Miss Six Nations Opener
Wales Back Three player Liam Williams will miss the opening fixture of the 2021 Six Nations, after being banned for three games. The Full Back received a red card, in the Scarlet’s recent game against the Cardiff Blues, in the PRO 14. He was dismissed for a reckless entry into a ruck and proceeded to offer back chat to the referee. The ban had been anticipated and the Scarlets and Wales, will be without his services for a the next few weeks.
Six Nations Updates
The Men’s Six Nations is due to start next month, but it has been announced that both the Women’s and Under 20s Six Nations will be postponed for a later date. Full details to be announced at the end of January.
Former New Zealand Star Joins Rugby United New York
Former New Zealand Scrum Half Andy Ellis has linked up with Major League Rugby side Rugby United New York (RUNY). The former Crusaders man had been playing in the Japanese Top League Kobelco Steelers. He has played for the Japanese side for 6 years and helped them to a title success. The 28 cap All Black will be looking to do the same with his new side.