Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Changes At TIAR

I always like to say that I have 152 children. Two of them are my own while the rest are my students. As I'm sure you've noticed over the last few months things have slowed down here at TIAR. That's not because our love of rugby has ended it is just that after years of trying to balance a personal life and this labor of love my personal life has to win out. It's not just my switch to be a teacher a few years ago--something that I absolutely love--it's that we recently had our second child. I need to be there for them and spending 4-5 hours every night in addition to the demands of being a father and teacher wasn't sustainable.

While I won't be posting super regularly on TIAR anymore I'm not going away and neither is the site. We'll still be posting news and we'll still be at events. However, I'm extremely excited to announce that certain segments you love, like Eagles Abroad, Weekend Television Listings, and other fun segments will be migrating to Rugby Today. I'm incredibly thankful to Pat Clifton and the crew at Rugby Today for letting me jump on and continue to contribute on a great platform. 

Like I said, TIAR is not going away. The site will be here for awhile. As my kids get older and I get more settled as a teacher I would like to be more active again. Additionally, I'm going to enjoy exploring new ways of bringing great stories from American rugby to you. 

For now, make sure you check out my articles at Rugby Today!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2021 Rugby League World Cup Expands

By Elie Mpovie

As qualifiers for the final spots of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England are being contested, the organizers of the tournament have finally decided to with a sixteen team format, this was last used in 2000. There will be four groups with four teams each and the top to of each group will advance to a proper single elimination bracket.

The last sixteen team World Cup was held in 2000 in Great Britain. Previous formats were, a ten team tournament held in 1995, a five team format that was stretched during a three to four year period from 1985-88 and 1989-92. There’s also been a five team competition in 1975, the original four team tournament was played from 1954 to 1972 and 1977.

This change of the format came after the 2017 tournament when Ireland, who had more wins, were eliminated from the group stage instead rather than Samoa and host nation New Zealand. Both were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Australia and Fiji respectively. The fourteen team system used in 2013 and in 2017 was comprised of four groups, A and B had four teams each while C and D had three teams each with one crossover match played.

Oddly the top three teams in groups A and B would qualify for the quarterfinals while groups C and D had only one team each moving on to the knockout phase.

For the 2021 tournament, the last final three teams from the 2017 finals and top four of the current World Rankings (Australia, England, New Zealand and Tonga) are in the First pot and will headline each group. The fate of the rest of the team's will
be decided soon.

RLIF Formalizes Calendar

By Elie Mpovie

The Rugby League International Federation Board has approved in principle a rolling calendar of matches for the next eight years. The calendar will see a mix of world events, regional events and bilateral tours starting in 2019. The meeting was held as a part of the RLIF Congress in York.

A highlight of the 2019 plan is the creation of the Oceania Cup featuring Australia, New Zealand and Tonga in one group and Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea in the other group. The nations also agreed that the Great Britain Rugby League Lions will visit the Southern Hemisphere to face New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea subject to consultation with the major playing leagues and the players’ representatives.

 There are ongoing discussions to ensure that the programme for the women’s game and for wheelchair rugby league are advanced at a similar rate to the men’s game.

 The Board has also approved financial support for the Americas Championship and a new competition for nations in the Middle East and Africa, the Middle East-African Championship. RLIF investment will be annual, commencing in 2019, underlining the strategic significance of and recent growth in these territories.

Take the jump to read more.

Seattle Saracens, Washington Loggers Partner

Press Release

Seattle Saracens Rugby Club and Washington Loggers Rugby announced today a unique development partnership to grow and develop the game in Washington state and provide a clear pathway for youth and high school players to continue to compete for top collegiate programs and play for the Saracens – with the potential to play professional rugby in America’s rapidly growing domestic competition.

This new partnership will focus on:
• Growing the rugby opportunity for players and coaches to participate at higher levels of the game;
• Strengthen and expand the Saracens Community Coaching program to assist young players in growing their skills;
• Building connections with the BCRU and other neighboring rugby organizations to provide additional showcase opportunities for players;
• Prepare aspiring players to compete and succeed in the game beyond high school.

“Seattle Saracens Rugby is excited to align with Loggers rep side youth rugby,” said Kevin Flynn, President of the Seattle Saracens Rugby Club. “It has been Saracens goal for many years to create a clear pathway for young players to continue into adult programs in the area.

Take the jump to read more.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Free Jacks To Host Irish Provincial 'A' Sides

Press Release

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and the Free Jacks, New England’s newly announced Major League Rugby team, have joined forces to bring high-level professional rugby to the United States in the spring of 2019.

The competition, which features provincial “A” squads from Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster, along with the nascent New England Free Jacks, will provide intense learning for up-and-coming professional players from both Ireland and the United States and provide a window into the excitement of high-quality rugby to the rapidly growing rugby fan base in the greater Boston area.

“We have a year to develop a high performing professional rugby club, on and off the field, and there is no more fitting and exciting way than to bring the tradition and excellence of Ireland Rugby to New England,” newly announced Chief Executive of the Free Jacks, Alex Magleby, said, noting the Free Jacks’ 2020 regular season entry into the Major League Rugby competition. “We very much look forward to hosting our Irish friends with open arms, treating them to classic New England hospitality with a boisterous crowd and worthy match day experiences.”

Fittingly, the opening round will feature the Free Jacks playing host to Connacht A on Saturday, March 16, to kick off the revelry of St Patrick’s Day weekend in Boston. On Wednesday, March 20, the Free Jacks will present an evening match between Connacht and Ulster, and on Sunday, March 24, Ulster A will take on New England to finish out Round I.

Take the jump to read more.

Men Eagles Name Starters Against Samoa

Photo: Connie Hatfield
Press Release

Head Coach Gary Gold has named his side for the Men’s Eagles first test match of November with No. 16 Samoa this Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:30 PM ET, LIVE on FloRugby.

The match-day 23 will feature several recognizable names who were made available after joining the squad from their professional setups overseas.

Among them are hooker Joe Taufete’e and prop Titi Lamositele who rejoin the forward pack. The backs are complemented by the return of Bryce Campbell and Paul Lasike who move in at center with Captain Blaine Scully jumping in at fullback.

Taking the pitch beside Captain Scully will be newcomer and wing Gannon Moore. Moore will earn his first cap as part of the starting XV.

Lock Greg Peterson and scrumhalf Ruben de Haas will both earn the start as well after competing as reserves last week in the Eagles loss to the Maori All Blacks.

De Haas jumps in for Shaun Davies who continues recovery following HIA protocol after being removed from the aforementioned battle with the Maori. Davis will support the squad from the sideline with the hope of being available for selection next week.

take the jump to read more.

Photo Gallery: Eagles At The Rugby Weekend

Photographer Connie Hatfield was at The Rugby Weekend and took some great shots that we are happy to share!

Take the jump to read more.