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Monday, July 24, 2017

Eagles Abroad: Weekend Review

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The Super Rugby season is over for one of two Americans in the competition. Marcel Brache and the Western Force have finished up but Toni Pulu and the Chiefs have advanced to the semi-finals. Unfortunately for Pulu he was not in the line-up for the Chiefs. Other Americans that saw action were in the lower leagues in the Southern Hemisphere. The European teams are getting into their pre-seasons and should have exhibitions soon.

New Zealand:

Super Rugby

Toni Pulu was not in the line-up for the Chiefs as they beat the Stormers 17-11 on Saturday.

Mitre 10 Cup

Chris Baumann and Wellington are in pre-season.

Toni Pulu and Counties Manukau are in pre-season.

Tony Lamborn and Hawke's Bay are in pre-season.

Pasqualle Dunn and Auckland are in pre-season.

Take the jump to read more.

St. Mary's Players Training, Playing In Australia

Photo: Karleen Minney
Seven current and former St. Mary's College and Cal Poly players are testing themselves overseas with time at the Brumbies Academy. Ethan Waller, Holden Yungert, Anthony Rodriguez, Michael McCarthy, Aaron Matthews, Connor Cudeback, and Tommy Wallace. Cudeback goes to Cal Poly while the rest of the players are affiliated with St. Mary's.

All of the players have been training in the Brumbies system four days a week and for the next couple of months will be playing for the Easts first and second grade sides in the John I Dent Cup. More good details of the players down in Australia can be found in this great piece. Getting time in the Southern Hemisphere is only going to help the players improve. With the U.S. system in a bit of flux having these types of opportunities are what is going to make players improve.

Experience Plentiful On USA Islanders Squad

The U.S.A. Islanders have named their team to face the Saracens in Bermuda next month. The team includes many names familiar to American fans, including several capped Eagles. Ollie Kilifi carries a bunch of experience with him to the match as do Patrick Latu, Matai Leuta, Shalom Suniula, Tai Tuisamoa, and Colton Cariaga. Having the likes of these players on the roster should give the Islanders a firm foundation to build off.

Other names that fans might recognize include Devereaux Ferris, Pago Haini, Langilangi Haupeakui, Pila Huihui, Alex Taefu, Jojo Tikoisuva, and Sione Tuihalamaka. Ferris, Haupeakui, Tikoisuva, and Tuihalamaka were all veterans of PRO Rugby.

Take the jump to read more.

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/MLR/ODAs:

The Eagles have confirmed that their November schedule will be against Germany and Georgia and that they will play in the APC.

Zach Pangelinan is the latest player to join the Houston Strikers.

The South Panthers U-19 team took home the RAN Championship last weekend.

The local paper has a nice feature on Eagle Annkaren Pedraza.

Take the jump to read more.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Red River Adds Glendale

The Glendale Merlins will be playing in DI next season. The Merlins, the new name of all non-Major League Rugby teams run by the City of Glendale, have joined the Red River Conference for 2017-18. The team, then called the Raptors, has never really played a DI schedule but their elite team did play in competitions like the Pacific Rugby Premiership and the Major Rugby Championship. Given that Denver is actually relatively close to Texas and that Texas provides good competition this makes sense. The Raptors MLR team will also be traveling to Texas for matches.

Joining the Merlins in the Red River DI are the Dallas Reds, Dallas Harlequins, Austin Blacks, Austin Huns, and Little Rock. The Arkansas side gained promotion from DII while HARC were relegated to DII. With MLR coming on board the make-up of the players in the division could be different in years past. The Huns MLR team will draw from both Austin competitions while Dallas will do the same with the Reds and the Harlequins. The Raptors will have the best talent from the Merlins.

Eagles Confirm APC, November Tests

U.S.A. Rugby has confirmed what we passed along earlier in the week that the Eagles will take on Germany and Georgia in their November test series. The U.S. will play Germany in Frankfurt on November 18th and then Georgia in Tbilisi on November 25th. TIAR has been able to confirm that there will only be two November matches rather than the traditional three.

The match against Germany could be an interested one for the Americans. There are several U.S. military bases near the area and that could mean a large turnout of American support. It will also be interesting in that the U.S. will face a German team that could pose problems but one in which the U.S. should beat relatively easily. The match in Georgia will, as always, be difficult.

Take the jump to read more.

American Duo Gaining Experience In New Zealand

It's been a long tradition for Americans to head overseas to get a high-level of rugby experience. Many Americans have gone to Ireland to do just that and a number have also gone to New Zealand. AIC alums Skyler Adams and Kurtis Werner are two of the latest players to travel to the home of the All Blacks. Both players are training at the BNZ Crusaders International High-Performance Unit and are set to play with local clubs teams as well. Both will be playing with Marist Albion in Christchurch. Other nations represented at the IHPU include Argentina, Japan, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Fiji, and Canada.

Adams told TIAR that he's "The experience has been awesome spending 8 hours a day training is any players dream. Camp has been a unique combination of strength and conditioning, run-catch-pass training, defense, sports psychology, character development, and shadowing of the Crusaders and their Academy players. We get to watch the Crusaders train and see how they run their side and the professionalism that they aim for."

If all goes well Adams and Werner will hope to emulate the path of Eric Fry. He played club rugby in New Zealand before turning that into an opportunity in the Mitre 10 Cup and ultimately contracts in Europe.