Friday, January 30, 2015

Why We're Excited For The PRP To Begin


The Pacific Rugby Premiership starts this weekend and we couldn't be more excited about the competition. It's not perfect but it represents the highest level of domestic rugby we have in this country. Other competitions can boast more overall depth (the American Rugby Premiership with less teams certainly has a claim) and others even have longer seasons, but no competition had a combination of the two that the PRP possesses. Adding to that the competition is coming off a successful year one and a final that showed exactly how strong domestic rugby can be. With all of that in mind we put together our five reasons where why are excited for the competition to begin.

1. Seamus Kelly, Todd Clever, Brian Doyle, Nick Wallace, etc.: With the World Cup now only months away players that view themselves on the fringe or are without a European club are looking to get in as many high-level matches and training sessions as they can. Clever's move back to OMBAC might not be exactly for those reasons but that is exactly why Kelly and Doyle made the move. The same goes for Nick Wallace, Ben Tarr, and a whole host of other players. They are going to raise the level of competition all while trying to crack the Eagles. That means there are going to be a lot of hungry players playing their best week in and week out.

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DI Weekend Preview: A Big Red River Showdown

Red River

The big showdown in the Red River this weekend is between New Orleans and the Austin Blacks. NOLA had a disappointing showing against a strong Dallas Reds team last weekend before rebounding with a win over the Griffins. They still sit first in the table but are only one point ahead of the Blacks who have played one less match. The Blacks have yet to lose this year but facing NOLA in New Orleans is a tough task. A doable task, but tough. For New Orleans this match is about showing that they are still one of the top two teams in the division while for the Blacks it's about gaining respect.

The Reds are basking in their win over NOLA and for good reason. They were outstanding in the match and it was a great way to start their season. They should have no trouble against a HARC team that had one close result to start the season but then was blown away by the Dallas Harlequins last week. For their part the Harlequins will be looking to show that their resurgence is real as they face the Griffins. (As always, check out This Is Texas Rugby for more coverage of the region.)

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Eagles Abroad: Weekend Preview


Eagles Abroad is brought to you by Grubber, makers of fine sporting apparel. 

There are opportunities aplenty for Americans that haven't seen much regular time this year in the Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro12. Both of those competitions take a break and give way to the LV= Cup, which couple with the opening of Six Nations camps mean that players like Greg Peterson and Thretton Palamo are going to get opportunities to start. Also making his first start of the season will be Cam Dolan. He's recovered from injury and is ready to make a big impression with Samu Manoa being rester.  Eric Fry will similarly get his chance to start. Player in the lower divisions will also see an increase in action this week. Lastly, Super Rugby is just around the corner and Marcel Brache has been an active part of the Western Province team. 

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(Update) Report: Olympic Qualifying Headed To North Carolina


According to a report from Ted Hardy at Rugby America*, WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina has been selected as the venue for Olympic Qualifying on June 13th-14th. (Update: U.S.A. Rugby has confirmed the news.) It has long been suggested that the tournament would take place in the Southeast. NACRA is a major funder of the tournament and the Southeast is much easier for teams from the Caribbean to reach than other areas in the United States.  WakeMed Soccer Park is a 10,000 seas facility that has been home to College Soccer Championships and is the home of the Carolina Railhawks of the NASL. It additionally has adjacent fields, something that is necessary given the concurrent men's and women's tournaments.

It is widely expected that the final will come down to a showdown between the U.S. and Canada for a spot in Rio. Neither team should finish in the top four of the World Sevens Series this year barring a miracle. The loser of that match will head to the repechage. On the women's side Canada are expected to finish in the top four meaning that the U.S. should have a clear shot at qualifying.

*Rugby America is one of the most underrated sources of news and analysis out there. Make sure you check them out on their site, on Twitter, and on Facebook

Weekend Television Listings


Things are bit more light in the television department this weekend as the Guinness Pro12 and the Premiership give way to the LV= Cup. The Top 14 will be available once again on ESPN3 and WatchESPN but the only other match of note is St. Mary's taking on UCSB. 

If you know of an event or a tournament that is not on our list, please share it with us at thisisamericanrugby@gmail.com.

Friday:
  • Bayonne vs. Toulon, 2:45 p.m. et/11:45 a.m. pt (live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN)
Saturday:
  • Bordeaux vs. Montpellier, 8:45 a.m. et/5:45 a.m. pt (live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN)
  • St. Mary's vs. USCB, 4:00 p.m. et/1:00 p.m. pt (live here

Opening Kick

Opening Kick is a segment devoted to bringing you all Eagles and U.S.A. Rugby news in one location. It is brought to you everyday by Rugby Marketplace, your independent rugby store

National Teams:

It's a new year and a new Eagles 30 Tickets where we share who we think are the 30 players that would be going to the World Cup if it started today.

Greg Peterson is on the roster and now he's going to get a chance to play this weekend with Leicester.

The latest Try & Tackle podcast with TIAR and The Province's Patrick Johnston sets up the Wellington 7s and much more.

The Dartmouth has a nice piece on Madison Hughes and Nate Brakeley.

Hanco Germishuys is going to get playing time this weekend as he's been loaned out to Cheltenham.

Take the jump to read more.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eagles 30 Tickets: The World Cup Year Begins


It's a new year and a new opportunity to put out a new edition of 30 tickets where we look at the 30 players we think will make the Eagles World Cup squad.

Prop: Eric Fry, Nick Wallace, Titi Lamositele, Ollie Kilifi, Mate Moeakiola

If the Eagles take four props to the World Cup than it's likely that a regular over the last year is going to be left out. Eric Fry, Nick Wallace, Titi Lamositele, Ollie Kilifi, and Mate Moeakiola all have qualities that make them strong candidates for the World Cup. Based on the chatter we've heard Fry is a sure thing to make it while Lamositele would probably be in that category if he hadn't been hurt. The last two spots will come down to Wallace, Kilifi, and Moeakiola. It's possible that the Eagles also take all three. Angus MacLellan, Ben Tarr, Chris Baumann, and Demecus Beach appear long shot candidates at the moment.

Hooker: Phil Thiel, Tom Coolican

Hooker is pretty straightforward. There appears to be only room for two and Phil Thiel and Tom Coolican are the best two options at the moment. Zach Fenoglio and Mike Shepard are battling to be the third option in case of an injury.

Take the jump to read more.