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Friday, November 24, 2017

Weekend Television Listings

The November Internationals makes up the bulk of the busy schedule once again topped off with the Eagles visiting Georgia. If international rugby isn't your thing then there is Pro 14, Premiership, and the New York 7s all available. 

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

  • Leinster vs. Dragons, 2:35 p.m. et/11:35 a.m. pt  (live on The Rugby Channel)
  • Newcastle vs. Gloucester, 5:30 p.m. et/2:30 p.m. pt (delay on NBC Sports online)
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Manoa Starts As Eagles Ready For Georgia

The Eagles have elected to make only a few changes to their line-up as they get ready to play Georgia. Interim head coach Dave Hewett has only swapped out Tony Lamborn and Andrew Durutalo in the starting line-up for John Quill and Samu Manoa. Manoa wasn't available last week while Quill came off the bench. Both Lamborn and Durutalo are on the bench. Outside of the Manoa and Quill change the entire forward pack stays the same with Ollie Kilifi, Joe Taufete'e, and Dino Waldren as the front row. Nick Civetta and Greg Peterson are the locks with Ben Landry keeping his spot at flanker.

There are no starting changes in the backs but there is a positional change. Mike Te'o and Blaine Scully swap places from last week with Te'o playing on the wing and Scully at fullback. With Georgia expected to kick more than Germany this changes makes a lot of sense in many ways. Scully has a good boot and makes smart decisions.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Austin Sign Tim Fitzgerald

Press Release

Austin Elite Rugby Management announces the signing of Tim Fitzgerald as a loosehead prop for the 2018 Major League Rugby season.

Tim “Fitzy” began playing rugby at age 6. Now 29 years old, 6’1” and 260lbs, he specializes as a loosehead prop. His hometown is Sydney, Australia where he attended high school at nearby St Ignatius College at Riverview, and the University of New South Wales. He has played rugby for Old Sulian’s RFC in Bath, England during 2007, Northern Suburbs RFC in Sydney from 2008-2013, and the US National Champions Austin Huns from 2013-2017.

Of his rugby background, Tim says, “I’ve played every position in the forward pack, but have never played as a back.” He considers this confirmation that from a young age he has been, “...smart enough to choose brains and brawn over beauty and hair brushes!” In more serious reflection on his upcoming experience with Austin Elite Rugby, he remarks, “I’m excited to be a part of this inaugural Austin Elite Rugby team and to work with the best selection of rugby players, coaches, and support staff in central Texas. This will be my fifth rugby season in Austin, and it has been a pleasure to watch and play in a Union which has made huge leaps and bounds in the standard of play, levels of organization, and the always constant great supporters of rugby in Texas. I am confident this league will take rugby to the next level in the US and the world.”

Who Will Start For The Eagles Against Georgia?

The Eagles are coming off their large win over Germany. Things get more difficult this week as they head to Georgia to take on the Lelos. The team will be bolstered by the fact that Dylan Fawsitt and Samu Manoa are into the squad this week. With all of that in mind we offer our prediction on who is starting.

Prop: Taufete'e, Waldren, Kilifi, Ryan

The introduction of Fawsitt could force some changes in the props. With Fawsitt the Eagles have three capable props on the roster--Fawsitt, Joe Taufete'e, and Peter Malcolm. It seems unlikely that they would call in Fawsitt if they weren't going to use him. That could mean that Taufete'e slides down to prop. In many ways that makes some sense. Both Ollie Kilifi and Dino Waldren did well against Germany but Georgia are a completely different animal, especially at the scrum. Having Taufete'e plays prop puts out arguably your best scrummaging front row. That said, it's a tough ask for Taufete'e to play prop against Georgia.

If Taufete'e starts we also think that Dino Waldren gets the nod. He was good all around the pitch last Saturday. On offense he was good and in the scrum he was solid. We have Ollie Kilifi and Paddy Ryan on the bench with Huluholo Moungaloa missing out.

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Video: Reflecting On The Hawks World Cup

Eagles Named For Dubai 7s

Head coach Mike Friday has named his first squad of the season as his team heads to Dubai. It's a squad very similar to the one that played at the Silicon Valley 7s with just a few changes. Stalwarts Ben Pinkelman, Danny Barrett, Matai Leuta, Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, Steve Tomasin, Madison Hughes, Perry Baker, and Martin Iosefo are all on the roster. Only Hughes, Baker, and Barrett didn't play in San Jose. Joining them on the team are Carlin Isles, who has fully recovered from injury, Joe Schroeder and Malon Al-Jiboori. Schroeder was the revelation of the Silicon Valley 7s and if he keeps up the same level of play he is going to get significant time in Dubai.

The tournament starts on December 1st with the Eagles taking on Argentina, Samoa, and New Zealand. Traditionally the Eagles haven't gotten off to the best start in Dubai, however, this year's team has a bunch of speed which is going to cause problems for a lot of opponents.

Squad: Carlin Isles, Ben Pinkelman, Danny Barrett, Matai Leuta, Joe Schroeder, Malon Al-Jiboori, Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, Steve Tomasin, Madison Hughes (C), Perry Baker, Martin Iosefo; Substitute: Naima Fualaau

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:

Our player grades are in for the Eagles match against Germany. As expected most do well.

Dylan Fawsitt has been invited into Eagles camp. He'll provide cover at hooker.

The Women Eagles have been named for the Dubai 7s.

Pat Clifton says that U.S.A. Rugby's hire of Emilie Bydwell is a good thing. 

The latest editions of the Earful of Dirt and the Red, White, and Black Eye podcasts are out.


In DI play Metropolis were just a few minutes away from perfection while the fall season is done in the Mid-Atlantic.

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