Sunday, October 19, 2014

All Blacks Name U.S., European Touring Squad

The All Blacks have named their team for their tour of the U.S. and Europe. As expected the big names will be making the trip, including Richie McCaw, who will also captain the squad, Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, the Franks brothers, Kieran Read, Israel Dagg, and Corey Jane. Also included on the team are Sonny Bill Williams and Dan Carter. Williams recently completed his switch back from rugby league while Carter recently had a sabbatical. Overall the squad is loaded with talent and even if the brand-name players don't play against the Eagles--they almost certainly will--the All Blacks will be the best team the U.S. has ever faced on home soil.

Forwards: Dane Coles, Nathan Harris, Keven Mealamu, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Jeremy Thrush, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (c), Liam Messam, Kieran Read, Victor Vito

Backs: TJ Perenara, Augustine Pulu, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Daniel Carter, Aaron Cruden, Ryan Crotty, Malakai Fekitoa, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Charles Piutau, Julian Savea, Ben Smith

U.S. Beats Uruguay, Finishes ARC 2-1

Photo: Judy Teasdale
Overcoming a poor first half the Eagles Select XV eventually beat Uruguay 30-5 to close out the Americas Rugby Championship with a 2-1 record and in the process gained momentum heading into the November test series. It wasn't pretty from the Eagles at times, including struggles in the scrum and finishing, but overall they had a fantastic defensive effort once again and found their rhythm in the second half to run out with the blowout win. The U.S. will now take the positives they learned from the series and prepare to face the All Blacks in two weeks.

Uruguay were the aggressive team early and had the crowd behind them. That nearly led to points as Alejo Duran had a long kick at goal just minutes in. Fortunately for the Eagles he missed. Soon after the Eagles gained the momentum. They nearly gained their first points when Folau Niua offloaded to Tim Stanfill but the ball was knocked on. However, the U.S. pressure kept on coming and roughly ten minutes into the match a nice run from Ben Pinkelman was rewarded with a nice pass from Lou Stanfill for the try. Pinkelman was deservedly named man of the match for not just the try but for his overall effort. Adam Siddall's conversion missed but the U.S. led 10-0.

Take the jump to read more.

Eagle Selects vs. Uruguay Match Commentary

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FINAL: U.S. 30-0 Uruguay. Recap and analysis to come. 

The match can be viewed for free on Rugby Canada's channel on

A preview of the match can be seen here

Eagles Selects: Nick Wallace, Phil Thiel, Olive Kilifi, John Cullen, Brian Doyle, Ben Pinkelman, Andrew Durutalo, Lou Stanfill; Shalom Suniula, Adam Siddall, Tim Stanfill, Andrew Suniula, Folau Niua, Zach Test, Troy Hall; Bench: Zach Fenoglio, Ben Tarr, Angus MacLellan, Graham Harriman, Justin Hundley, Lemoto Filikitonga, Tim Maupin

Take the jump to read more.

Eagles Look To Close Out ARC With Uruguay Win

U.S. vs. Uruguay last year.

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Thanks to their victory over Canada 'A' on Wednesday the Eagles Select XV are once again poised to finish the ARC with a winning record and head into the November tests with momentum. All they have to do now is beat a feisty Uruguay team that will also be looking to used the match as preparation for the World Cup. The match will be the last opportunity for players to not only show they can be a part of the match against the All Blacks but also that they can be counted on for the rest of the November tests. Several of these players are going to have an opportunity during November but only if they prove it.

Even with the win over Canada the tournament will not be complete for the Eagles unless they pick up a win over Uruguay. The South Americans have jettisoned a few of their players in from the squad that beat Russia in World Cup qualifying last week but generally are a second string. However, as they proven throughout the tournament so far they can be difficult to beat and the U.S. can't take them lightly.

Take the jump to read more.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kutztown Downs Penn State In Key Rugby East Match

By Doug Coil, Real-time Sports

The last meeting between Kutztown and Penn State ended with Kutztown winning the ACRC title last December. Since then, when the D1A Rugby East schedule was released, this date has been circled by both teams as being critical toward winning the league.  Both teams are highly ranked in all polls and no extra motivation is needed to play well. A large crowd is expected,  as it is Homecoming and also the 30th anniversary as a club for Kutztown.

Both teams have excellent forward packs and will use them to attack. Kutztown Head Coach Gregg Jones indicated that the key for winning the match will be “winning the majority of contact and keeping our side on the front foot, same as any rugby game.” Ball possession is critical and teams can’t be back peddling in the scrums or not make the gain line.

Penn State Head Coach Alf Daniels is expecting a very physical match. “Our goal is to make tackles, run our structures accurately, and look for opportunities to apply as much pressure as we can, with the hope that we are still in with a chance at the end of the game.”

With that being said, the match is won on the pitch.  With a record crowd of 650-700 people watching, the pre-match hype did little to disappoint. A physical battle ensued from the game’s inception.

Take the jump to read more.

Eagles Name Starters To Face Uruguay

Tim Stanfill will get another start.
Photo: Judy Teasdale
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As expected the Eagles Select XV have ringed in the changes ahead of their match against Uruguay tomorrow. The most notable entries into the starting line-up include 7s trio of Zack Test, Andrew Durutalo, and Folau Niua. Durutalo comes in with Ben Pinkelman in the back-rown while Niua fits in at center with Andrew Suniula and Zack Test finds himself on the wing with man-of-the-match against Canada Tim Stanfill on the wing. The only other change to the starting line-up has Graham Harriman coming back into the starting line-up at lock.

With only this match remaining before the Eagles take on the All Blacks head coach Mike Tolkin will want his players to get in a strong run out while at the same time trying to avoid injury. Of the starters against Uruguay, Phil Thiel, Adam Siddall, and Suniula would be considered regular starters on the full XV team. However, several other players are toss-ups as to if they will start against New Zealand.

Take the jump to see the line-up.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Premiership Player Release Confirmed For All Blacks Test

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It's been known now for awhile and the Aviva Premiership confirmed it this morning but U.S.A. has confirmed on their end that players in the Premiership, namely Samu Manoa, Chris Wyles, and Blaine Scully, will be available for the Eagles-All Blacks match but not for the three other matches during the fall tour. It's unclear if this will also impact players like Hayden Smith and Cam Dolan who haven't been seeing much, if any, first team action for their teams. In the past the clubs have allowed those types of players to be released to get playing time so it remains to be seen in the Premiership will block them from playing.

The U.S.A Rugby press release is interesting in terms of quotes from CEO Nigel Melvillie who talks about the difficulties of Regulation 9 for North America. You can read that in the full press release after the jump.