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Friday, October 9, 2015

Japan Change Four To Face Eagles

Japan have made four changes from their side that took on Samoa as they get set to play the Eagles on Sunday. Hiroshi Yamashita comes on at prop for Kensuke Hatakeyam, Justin Ives replaces Hitoshi Ono at lock, and Craig Wing, who becomes the oldest RWC debutant for Japan, comes on for Male Sau in the centers, and Yoshikazu Fujita will replace win Akihito Yamada. The team is the third most experienced side for Japan and the average age is 29.

Top names in the line-up include Auymu Goromaru and Michael Leitch. They are also the only two players on Japan to have played every minute of the tournament so far. Michael Leitch will captain the side again. Also, look for Fumiaki Tanaka and Shota Horie as big time players. Japan will be going hard for the win as they are only two points behind Japan and if Scotland stumble against Samoa Japan could make the quarterfinals.

Forwards: Keita Inagaki, Shota Horie, Hiroshi Yamashita, Luke Thompson, Justin Ives, Michael Leitch (C), Michael Broadhurst, Ryu Koliniasi Holani

Backs: Fumiaki Tanaka, Kosei Ono, Kotaro Matsushima, Craig Wing, Harumichi Tatekawa, Yoshikazu Fujita, Ayumu Goromaru

Bench: Takeshi Kizu, Masataka Mikami, Kensuke Hatakeyama, Shinya Makabe, Amanaki Lelei Mafi, Hendrik Tui, Atsushi Hiwasa, Karne Hesketh

Top Sides Primed For West Coast 7s

One of the premier college 7s tournaments takes place this saturday as some of the top teams from around the West play in the the West Coast 7s at Cal Poly. Two time returning champion UCLA return to the tournament but the headlining side will be Cal who will be in action for the first time this season. The tournament will be streamed live on USARugbyTV.com beginning at 11:00 a.m. pt. The winner of the tournament will get an automatic qualification spot at the College 7s Nationals next May.

Cal come into the tournament as heavy favorites but have graduated some of their top players like last year. They gap between them and other 7s teams on the West Coast has also been shrinking as teams like UCLA close the gap. The Bruins will have a player like Niall Barry at their disposal and they should have plenty of pace and experience. Still, the Bears have plenty of experience with Andrew Battaglia, Anthony Salaber, Russell Webb, Jesse Milne, and Eakalafi Okusi all potentially playing. The Bears are also expected to play some younger players.

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Eagles Abroad: Weekend Preview

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

Things are pretty quiet this weekend overseas once again. Most of the leagues around the world have shut down for the World Cup, including lower division teams in Europe. Leagues that are still active include the RFU Championship, where Tom Bliss will be on the bench for Ealing again, National League One, and Trinity in the All-Ireland League. Hartpury, which is where the Eagles are training, will be playing Richmond, the home of Robbie Shaw. Over in Italy, Nick Civetta has changed clubs over the offseason. He's moved from Viadana in the Eccellenza to Medicei in the Serie A, one step below the Eccellenza. Look for things to pick up against next week with a lot more players returning to their teams and getting involved.   

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Weekend Television Listings


Pool play wraps up at the World Cup this weekend with a full slate of matches. New Zealand vs. Tonga is today while the big match between Australia and Wales is tomorrow. Also, Samoa will look to upset Scotland and Romania will target and automatic qualifying place. Of course there is the Eagles-Japan match. To watch the action other than the Eagles-Japan match you'll have to get the Universal Sports PPV package (info here).  Outside of the World Cup there is Currie Cup and ITM Cup action. 

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

  • Western Province vs. Eastern Province, 12:00 p.m. et/9:00 a.m. pt (live on DirectTV)
  • Pumas vs. Blue Bulls, 12:00 p.m. et/9:00 a.m. pt (live on DirectTV)
  • New Zealand vs. Tonga, 3:00 p.m. et/12:00 p.m. pt (Pay Per View)
  • Canterbury vs. Southland, 9:30 p.m. et/6:30 p.m. pt  (live on DirectTV)
  • Counties Manukau vs. Auckland, 2:30 a.m. et (Saturday)/11:30 p.m. pt  (live on DirectTV)
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Eagles Stars Return To Face Japan

As expected most of the Eagles starters from the last year have returned to the starting line-up as the team gets ready to face Japan on Sunday. The only regular name missing from the line-up that played against Samoa and Scotland is Blaine Scully who is almost certainly out with an injury. Zack Test will remain as a starter and will pair with Taku Ngwenya. That means that Chris Wyles will move to fullback. Another player that was questionable after suffering an injury against Scotland is Hayden Smith but he's in the line-up and will once again pair with Greg Peterson in the locks.

The front-row of props Eric Fry and Titi Lamositele return and will be joined by Zach Fenoglio. Samu Manoa is the only player besides Test to keep his starting place from the team that played South Africa. He'll be joined by Al McFarland and Andrew Durutalo in the back row. Phil Thiel, Ollie Kilifi, Chris Baumann, Cam Dolan, John Quill, and Danny Barrett are the forward reserves.

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Northeast Academy Women Set For Cayman Islands Trip

Photo: Norma Salinas Photography
Press Release

New York, NY; (October 9, 2015) – The Northeast Academy women’s 7’s team (NEA) will be attending the second annual Halloween 7’s Women’s Rugby Invitational at the Cayman Islands, during the weekend of Oct. 30th and 31st. After a two month hiatus from Sevens, it will be interesting to see how the USAR sanctioned pathway performs in its second ever high profile event. All of the Academy women have been involved with their home club 15’s matches throughout the early part of the fall, so fitness should not be an issue. Teams like the WPL’s New York Rugby Club (NYRC), and Division 1’s Beantown and Boston Women’s RFC (BWRFC) have been hard at work this fall season.

“It is always tough to switch off 15’s mode and into 7’s,” said NEA Women’s Assistant Coach, Tom Feury. “I would like to shorten that process, and the only way to do that is to have them hit it harder in our first (training) session when we land... full pace and contact to get their brains switched into 7’s gear sooner rather than later.” The Academy team is coming into the event with a business first mentality. The staff will expect a better showing with continued improvement from the Elite City 7’s tournament last August, understanding that this event too will face some very high end competition.

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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

Our partners Grubber have everything for the World Cup fan!

National Teams:

We share who we think will start for the Eagles against Japan in their final World Cup match along with an aside on the rationale for squad rotation.

Will the photo of Lou Stanfill during the national anthem on Wednesday be the iconic photo in American rugby? We think so.

To put the final touches on the Eagles-Sprinboks match will have stats from the match as well as our player grades for the Eagles.

Pat Clifton gives his take on the Eagles big loss to South Africa.

The Guardian has a piece on Hayden Smith and his journey from basketball, to rugby, to football, to rugby again.

Take the jump to read more.