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Thursday, July 28, 2016

PRO Rugby POTW, Standings, & Scoring Leaders


It's time once again to check in with the latest PRO Rugby standings, attendance, and scoring leaders as well as name our Player of the Week.

Player of the Week: Volney Rouse

San Francisco may not have won over the weekend falling to Denver but they put in arguably what was their best performance of the season. They got a lot of good performances in the match from the likes of Orene Ai'i but we were incredibly impressed with the effort of Volney Rouse. It was always thought that some players would use PRO Rugby to their advantage by getting better over the course of the season and Rouse is one of those players. Early on he was one of the better players for the Rush and now that they have improved results he's even more at the heart of the action.

Standings

Denver officially took back the top spot in the standing with their win over San Francisco last weekend. They have 46 points to Ohio's 42 setting up this weekend's big match. Denver can take him the title either with a win or by earning two bonus points. Elsewhere in the standings San Diego is looked into third place while San Francisco and Sacramento will battle to avoid the wooden spoon. San Francisco have a three point edge meaning Sacramento needs to win or finish level on points as they have the tie-breaker, which is the head to head results.

Take the jump to read more.

A Realistic Look At The Pro12 & Professional 7s


A couple of big items regarding more professional rugby came out this week. First the Pro12 once again re-emphasized their interest in expanding into the United States. That was matched with a statement from Bob Latham saying that the U.S. would be interested in discussions. Second, news broke that Grand Prix Rugby, the extremely controversial group with exclusive sanctioning to professional 7s in this country, had that exclusive sanctioning renewed until 2024. Since both of these items are complex we'd like to chat about them.

First up is the Pro12 news. It should come as no surprise that the Pro12 is interested in the United States. The competition is struggling mightily to keep up with the Premiership and Top 14. They didn't have a single team make the quarterfinals of the European Champions Cup and most of the time Irish teams typically dominate leaving interest stagnant in places like Italy. In terms of television coverage the Pro12 deal lacks significantly behind those in England and France and if it stays that way they will continue to see an exodus of players from the league. The bottom line is that they are desperate to change the equation. 

Take the jump to read more.

PRO Rugby Power Rankings: Denver Move First

Photo: Connie Hatfield

With one week to go in the season Denver has reclaimed the top spot in our power rankings.

1. Denver (10-1-0, 46 points; LW: 2, beat San Francisco 31-24): We moved the Stampede up this week after yet another solid performance. They result may have been close against the Rush but a lot of credit should go for a very improved San Francisco team. Denver showed once again that they know how to win close games. That is something that could serve them very well against Ohio this weekend. The big question for the Stampede this week will be if travel has an impact on their performance. Up next: Ohio

2. Ohio (8-3-0, 42 points; LW: 1; bye): The Aviators continue to have some time off ahead of their big match this weekend. Just like Denver might be fatigued, Ohio might by rusty. That said, they have been well trained all year and there is no reason to expect this weekend will be different. Up next: Denver

Take the jump to read more.

Langilangi To Train With Harlequins


Without question Sacramento's Langilangi Haupeakui has been one of the surprise sensations of the PRO Rugby season. He went from relative obscurity playing club rugby in Northern California to making the Express, becoming a key player, getting invited to Eagles camp to train, making the game-day roster, and then coming on and laying out a huge hit. His rise has been meteoric and now he's going to get another chance to prove himself with a chance to train with the Harlequins.

The London club will be in Northern California beginning at the end of the week and with the PRO Rugby season for Sacramento ending on Saturday Langilangi will move to the Bay Area to get in some time with the club. For now this is just training but it could be something more. There is a reason the Harlequins have chosen Northern California (and his name is Samu Manoa) to hold training. PRO Rugby is all in favor of seeing their players grow and gain opportunities in Europe because it only validates the league as a place to grow and develop. 

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

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National Teams/PRO Rugby:

Perry Baker is the subject of this nice video from ESPN. Good to see rugby getting more ESPN treatment. 

U.S.-eligible back Pasqualle Dunn is going to play for Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup. There are several other American connects to the competition as well. 

Highlights from Sacramento's win over San Diego are now available. 

Amidst a lot of controversy Grand Prix Rugby has re-upped the rights for professional 7s in the United States

This is the billboard outside of Obetz advertising Sunday's big match: 

Take the jump to read more.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Play Rugby USA CODP Set For NAI 7s

Press Release

Earlier this year, the U.S. Olympic Committee sanctioned its first ever Rugby specific Community Olympic Development Program (CODP) under the direction of Play Rugby USA (PRUSA) in partnership with the Northeast Academy. The first two U18 squads born of that initiative will make their elite tournament debuts next week at the North American Invitational 7s (NAI7s) in Salt Lake City, UT.

The densely packed field of talent at NAI7s includes many of the best programs in USA Rugby’s Academy system. Teams like Eagle Impact Rugby Academy, Atavus, Atlantis, Rhino Academy and the Utah Lions have a number of tours under their belts already and are widely known to carry All-American talent among their ranks.

For Play Rugby USA, the talent level should certainly be in the same realm. Four of their women’s players have been called into duty for the US High School All-Americans on the same weekend in Quebec. Both of the Play Rugby teams have been training alongside and with the Northeast Academy senior assemblies since June.

Take the jump to read more.

U.S.-Eligible Dunn To Play For Auckland


U.S.-eligible Pasqualle Dunn on the books for Auckland for the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup. Fans may be familiar with Dunn having played for the Leicester Tigers a few seasons back before switching to rugby league. Dunn was born in England but raised in New Zealand and qualifies for the U.S. through his mother. We had a interview with him back in 2013. Dunn is still a relatively young player that has played 7s in the past. He is mostly a center.

Dunn joins a few other players with U.S. ties in the competition so far. Tony Lamborn is expected to play for Hawke's Bay again. U.S.-eligible and Chiefs player Toni Pulu will be with Counties Manukau. Howard Sililoto, who played with San Francisco Golden Gate in the PRP this ast year will return to Northland. There could also be a few more players as rosters leak out.