World Rugby

FloRugby's Rugby Report: Match Recaps, Transfer News And Previews

FloRugby's Rugby Report: Match Recaps, Transfer News And Previews

Rugby report for all of the biggest rugby news, transfers, previews and recaps from the world of professional rugby as of July 1, 2024.

Jul 1, 2024 by Philip Bendon
FloRugby's Rugby Report: Match Recaps, Transfer News And Previews

An unusually quiet weekend of rugby action came to a close Saturday afternoon as the first round of the World Rugby U20 Championship graced our screens. 

Building on an incredible Top 14 final the evening prior, the U20s put on a show in Cape Town across six hotly contested fixtures.

Keeping the ever-demanding rugby public occupied ahead of the return of test rugby this weekend, the U20s will be back in action Thursday afternoon.

Ahead of what will be a significant month of top-class rugby, here is a roundup of the top stories from the week that was in rugby and what we have to look forward to this week:

Dupont-Inspired Toulouse King Of France Once Again

Quite possibly the best player of the past decade, Antoine Dupont painted the streets of Marseille black and red, as he and his Toulouse teammates obliterated a high-flying Bordeaux-Begles side in the Top 14 final. 

Securing a record 59-3 victory, Toulouse proved unequivocally that it is the best side in professional club rugby in 2024. 

Defending the Top 14 crown just weeks after winning the Investec Champions Cup cemented this double-winning squad amongst the pantheons of all-time great teams. Dupont, for his part, scored two ties in the match, the second of which will go down as arguably the try of the season.


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Big Six Dominate Opening Round Of U20 World Rugby Championship

A line was drawn in the sand rather quickly at the World Rugby U20 Championship between the pre-tournament favorites and the rest. 

Securing victories in their respective fixtures, Ireland, England, France, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand set the stage for a straight shootout for the coveted semifinal places. 

Surviving an early scare, England showed its quality to mount a comeback against an exciting Argentinean side to set up what looks set to be a final-round thriller against South Africa to decide who tops Group C.

Elsewhere, Ireland blasted Italy off the park in arguably the performance of the round, before France and South Africa did the same to Spain and Fiji, respectively. 

Both Antipodean sides would not have things quite their own way, as Australia had to wrestle back control from an ultra-physical Georgian side, having fallen behind early. 

New Zealand closed out the weekend, holding off a furious comeback from Wales in a near repeat of last year’s meeting between the two sides. 

These victories have set the table for an intriguing round two, with France and New Zealand’s Pool A fixture grabbing the headlines.

Battle Of The Best In Pretoria

The world champion, South Africa, hosts Six Nations champion Ireland in the first of their two-test series this weekend at Loftus Versfeld. 

Already beginning his mind games, Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus currently follows three accounts on his X profile, with Irish Rugby being one. 

Ramping things up further, Erasmus tweeted what he believes will be the Irish starting lineup in a bid to stir up the already fizzing rivalry between the two nations. 

To date, Erasmus has yet to beat Ireland, with the Springboks' last victory against the men in green coming in 2016.

Joe Schmidt Returns, And Razor Era Begins

Diving deeper into the Southern Hemisphere, Australia and New Zealand both will begin new eras.

Joe Schmidt will be taking charge of the Wallabies, and Scott ‘Razor’  Robertson now is at the helm of the All Blacks. 

The Australians will face Wales in a two-test series between two sides firmly in rebuild mode. 

Last time out, Warren Gatland’s team dispatched Australia with ease, dumping the Wallabies out of the World Cup with a record 40-6. This thumping would spell the end of Eddie Jones’ tumultuous 12 months in charge of the Wallabies and would send Australian Rugby into a full rebuild. 

Dismissing Jones for the calming presence of Schmidt was a masterstroke on a number of fronts, but Wallabies fans will need to be patient and not expect an instant turnaround. This being said, however, Schmidt and his charges have a real chance at a confidence-boosting sweep of a Welsh side that collected a Six Nations wooden spoon in 2024 and was roundly beaten by the Springboks at Twickenham just a fortnight ago. 

Across the Tasman Sea, the All Blacks will face a far sterner test as they welcome an uber-confident and exciting England side to their shores for what promises to be a cracking two-test series. 

Just how quickly Robertson will be able to implement change with a new-look squad remains to be seen, while Steve Borthwick’s England side has gone from an unmitigated disaster at the beginning of the Six Nations to a truly top-level side across just four test matches.

Transfer Twists And Turns 

As ever with the offseason rumors about impending moves continue to swirl, while several key deals already have been secured. Here are some of the biggest moves, both mooted and confirmed:

Joseph Dweba – The DHL Stormers hooker has been linked heavily with a move to Gallagher Premiership side the Sale Sharks, having seen his stock with the national team drop significantly this season. Status: Unconfirmed

Wallabies On The Move – Adding a layer of complexity to Schmidt’s early days as Wallabies coach has been a sizeable defection of international players out of Australian Rugby. 

Already confirmed as leaving, Melbourne Rebels fly-half Carter Gordon has opted to join National Rugby League side the Gold Coast Titans following a brutally tough 2023 Rugby World Cup experience and the subsequent collapse of the Rebels as an entity. 

Joining Gordon in leaving Rugby Australia are Ned Hanigan (Aix), Mark  Nawaqanitawase (NRL), Izaia Perese (Leicester Tigers), Mosese Tuipulotu (Edinburgh), Lachlan Swinton (Bordeaux), Izaak Rodda (Aix). Status Confirmed

One More Wallaby – Also rumored to be on his way to either the NRL or an overseas club is the highly touted Jordan Petaia. The Queensland Reds star showed incredible promise this season and will be someone Schmidt is eager to keep in the system. Petaia currently is injured and will miss the upcoming test season. Status: Unconfirmed

Hogg Back In The Spotlight – Former Scotland captain Stuart Hogg confirmed his return to professional rugby with Top 14 side Marseille a few weeks back. Amidst a turbulent time off the pitch, the 32-year-old’s return to the game will begin in earnest when the French side returns for preseason, with the fullback reportedly pulling in a salary of €350,000 per season. Status: Confirmed

NFL Prospect Joins Premiership Champions – NFL International Pathway Program member George Smith has put away the shoulder pads, helmets and tights for a gum shield, as he returns to his roots as a rugby player. 

The 6’8” powerhouse has agreed to join the Gallagher Premiership champions, the Northampton Saints, in perhaps the most left-field signing of the off season. Status Confirmed.

Tigers Lock In Pedigree Coach – Gallagher Permiership outfit, the Leicester Tigers, have secured the signature of former Leinster, Stade Francais, Waratahs, Australia and Argentina head coach Michael Cheika in what is the biggest coaching signing this season. 

A proven winner, Cheika already has stated his ambition to return the club to the top of the pile in the European Cup and Premiership competitions. Status Confirmed.

How To Watch Rugby Matches In the United States On FloRugby

The URC will stream all its matches on FloRugby and the FloSports app in the United States. FloRugby and FloSports also are the U.S. home to: 

FloRugby also is home to match archives and match replays. 

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