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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

San Diego Confirmed For RWCQ

The Eagles will have a chance to clinch a spot in the World Cup on home soil if they can best Canada on July 1st in San Diego. Torero Stadium will host the second leg of the qualifying series between the two teams with the team with the best aggregate score advancing to the World Cup. Because the Eagles have a higher World Rugby ranking than Canada they have the opportunity to host the second leg. The last several cycles have seen the Eagles host first, mostly keeping it close, before heading to Canada. The U.S. has never beaten Canada at this point of World Cup qualifying to to secure a spot this year would be big for the program.

"Hosting the second leg of this home-and-away series, where net point differential proves to be the determining factor in which team books the first ticket to the 2019 World Cup, in beautiful San Diego on the University of San Diego campus at Torero Stadium provides all of the ingredients for a great event," USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne said in a press release. "The Canada vs. USA rivalry is our most storied and respected and, when you add in World Cup qualification, it only elevates the stakes."

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Life West, Tiger Rugby Bring Sir Graham Henry To America

Press Release

A casual chat between rugby guys has led to an opportunity to bring former Rugby World Cup winning coach, Sir Graham Henry, to the United States in April.

The joint venture between Tiger Rugby, the Northern California RFU (NCRFU), Life West Rugby and The Rugby Site, sees the former All Black Coach travel to San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta & Clemson on a 12-day tour.
The trip came about after Adriaan Ferris, Life West's Athletic Director & Head Coach; spoke to Tiger Rugby’s James Walker about collaborative thoughts on Coach Development in USA. Ferris, who is also the NCRFU’s Director of Coaching knows Sir Graham well, having worked with him previously when he coached Northland in the ITM Cup in New Zealand. Ferris believes Henry is perfect fit to help develop local coaches. This brief discussion led to Sir Graham Henry to America.
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Opening Kick

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National Teams/ODAs:

Mike Te'o and Anthony Welmers come into the Eagles 7s as they get ready for Hong Kong.

Some Americans got some good time in for their overseas clubs last weekend.

U.S.A. Rugby CEO Dan Payne recently participated in a town hall in New Jersey.


Photographer Connie Hatfield was at the Cal-St. Mary's match and took some great photos.  Alex Goff shares his take on what made the match so special.

With changes coming in the global rugby calendar could that mean more opportunities for select side play here in the United States?

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Eagles Make Changes For Hong Kong

Photo David Barpal

Eagles 7s head coach Mike Friday has made two changes to his team as they get ready for Hong Kong and Singapore. Mike Te'o comes back into the team after a couple of years absence while Anthony Welmers also returns to the team. Te'o was excellent for San Diego in PRO Rugby and that carried over into play with the Eagles 15s over the last year. Now he'll have a chance to bring his playmaking ability to 7s. Welmers has been around camp for awhile and even played in Cape Town. Pat Blair and Walt Elder miss out this go around.

The rest of the team remains the same. Season ending knee surgery has Carlin Isles out and Zack Test is similarly out. Maditon Hughes will once again captain the team and a core group of players like Ben Pinkelman, Danny Barrett, Matai Leuta, Andrew Durutalo, Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, Steve Tomasin, Perry Baker, and Martin Iosefo are all on the team.

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Eagles Abroad: Weekend Review

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

It was the most winning weekend for Americans overseas but there were some big performances by several players. Blaine Scully had the opportunity to captain Cardiff in their narrow loss to Leinster. The fact that Scully was counted on by the staff and his teammates is a sign of his leadership. He also joins a short list of Americans who have captained a professional club in Europe. Another player to have a big weekend was AJ MacGinty. He had six penalties and a conversion for Sale although they lost. Other players to start in Europe include Joe Taufete'e for Worcester, Samu Manoa for Toulon, and Taku Ngwenya for Brive. Others came off the bench, including Titi Lamositele who played 14 minutes for Saracens. In the Southern Hemisphere, Marcel Brache played for the Western Force. The club could be facing back news as the rumor mill has them being cut from Super Rugby next year.

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Lewis Named Bulldog 7s Head Coach

Press Release

Bulldog Rugby are pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Lewis as Head Coach for the upcoming 2017 Northeast Sevens Series. Lewis, a USA Rugby Level 400 coach, and the USA Rugby Club Coach of the Year in 2014, is one of the foremost 7s coaches in the country having enjoyed regular success with perennial National Club Championship contenders Old Blue as well as the Northeast Academy ODA program, which he co-founded and led to 5th place finishes at the World Club 7s in Twickenham and Limerick. He has also coached the West Point Women’s 7s squad to a national NIRA title in 2015 and been involved in the development of numerous Mens and Womens Eagles players.

“Having coached against Bulldog Rugby on many occasions, I have always considered them talented and dangerous opponents, capable of beating anyone any given weekend. I intend to harness that natural talent while introducing more discipline and defensive structure in a bid to challenge for a National Title”, said Lewis. “I am also looking forward to bringing in and developing young American talent in what is undoubtedly the toughest domestic club comp in the US week in, week out.”  

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The Future Of Select Sides

Throughout the history of American rugby select side rugby has endured many ups and downs. There have been times when regional select play was the epitome of what a club player could achieve and one of the primary selection tools for the Eagles. Then when the NASC (National All-Star Championship) went away select sides somewhat faded into the background as elite club play took over.

Even with elite club play still at the top of the rung of the ladder select side play has made a comeback in recent years. The South Panthers have been very active, making it far in the NACRA Championship. The Capitol Rugby Union has taken on the Carolina All-Stars as well as the Empire Selects. Out West, the NorCal Pelicans and the SoCal Griffins have maintained a healthy rivalry. Rugby Utah is taking an even different tact by putting together a select team that plays in the semi-formal MRC. It's clear that coaches, administrators, and players are seeing the need to get high-level competition through select side play.

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