Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Judgement Day II

There is peace in Europe. After a life time of negotiations, all parties have put pen to paper in what has become European rugby's equivalent of the Treaty of Versailles.

However, things are not as rosy in Wales. The Welsh Rugby Union and the regions remain at odds with each other as neither party appears to be willing to relent on an agreement of what is best for Welsh rugby in the coming years. 
Judgement Day II, WRU, rugby, Wales, Millennium Stadium, Blues, Scarlets, Ospreys, Dragons, rugby

With the prospect of replacing the regions or the current regions joining other tournaments seemingly diminished by the European agreements, there appears to be little option aside from both parties working together. In Metallica's judgement day song 'Four Horsemen' rock legend James Hetfield sings "With the four horsemen ride, or choose your fate and die." For some that is the same fate that has befallen the WRU, ride alongside the four regions or accept the consequences.

This weekend will be a test of just how well the partnership can work as all four regions come together at the Millennium Stadium for the second ever Judgement Day, a showcase of all Welsh regional rugby has to offer. How apt that a chance of a new birth for Welsh rugby should fall on Easter Sunday.
John Barclay, Scarlets, Llanelli, Flanker, Scotland, rugby

The Blues and Scarlets kick off the event with Simon Easterby's men desperately fighting for a place in the top tier of the new European Cup setup. Recent wins against Zebre and Connacht have put the West Walians firmly in the driving seat and a win against the Blues would help to ease a little bit of pressure on them whilst the playoffs seems a bridge too far. They will want to end the season on a high, with a Champions Cup spot in the bag and look to building for next season with Europe.
Sam Warburton, Wales, Cardiff, Blues, Flanker, Captain

Victory against the Blues will not come easily though. The team from the capital have hit a seam of form and a surprise victory over Ulster, coupled with the return of their captain, Matthew Rees, has filled them with confidence. Now they find themselves in a tussle with their nearest rivals the Dragons to restore some pride into what has been a lackluster campaign. Neither will want the label of Wales' lowest placed region, even if the Champions Cup isn't a prospect for either.

Toby Faletau, rugby, Newport, Dragons, Gwent, Number 8, Wales,

By the time the Dragons trot out onto the pitch they will know what if they can leapfrog the Blues. Having spent much of their existence as also rans, this seemed like the season that the Dragons could emerge from the shadows and challenge for a European spot. New signings, new coaches, new attitude; The Dragons hit the ground running this season to the delight of the Rodney Parade faithful. However, a dip in form and increase in injuries (especially in the front row) have seen them fall away. The restructuring of the Euro qualification put the final nail in the coffin of their European dream and left them battling with the Blues for bragging rights.

Alun Wyn Jones, rugby, Ospreys, second row, Wales, captain

They will need something special to turn over their opponents on Sunday though, the Opsreys have restored themselves as Wales' premier region this season. Their Champions Cup place is booked and they are trying to chase down fourth placed Glasgow and a coveted playoff spot, but to maintain any realistic hope they will need to win all their remaining games; That starts with the Dragons on Sunday.

Regardless of who wins or what effect it will on the season, Judgement Day promises to be a fantastic day for rugby fanatics and those new to the game.

Metallica - Four Horsemen

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