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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tolkin Talks Uruguay Prep, Gameplan, & More


As part of our lead-up to the start of the U.S.-Uruguay World Cup qualifying series this weekend we'll be bringing you an article on the Eagles everyday. This coverage is brought to you by Grubber, who are now offering their "50 States" shirt. You can get $5 off through this Saturday with the code: 50STATES

The Eagles have arrived in Uruguay ahead of their World Cup qualifying match on Saturday. Those left over from last week's domestic camp stayed behind and then were joined by European-based players on Saturday and Sunday with a few sprinkling in on Tuesday. During all of this head coach Mike Tolkin was a busy guy but we managed to catch up with him to get a few quick thoughts before leaving for South America.

Take the jump to read more.
On expectations of Uruguay: I expect a lot. I expect a team that is looking to get into the World Cup and to play with a lot of passion, to scratch and claw, and be tough up front. I expect they are going to put up a good fight on their home turf.

On which Uruguayan players to watch:  Their scrumhalf is a good player. Their openside flanker and their fullback are good players. They have a couple of guys coming in from Europe. They have experience.

On injuries to U.S. players: Adam (Siddall) had some concussion symptom that didn't go away. Shawn Pittman is just starting to train again so obviously not available for this tour but hopefully for the summer.

On making the final roster cuts: Very hard. Real tough decisions. Some borderline guys went right down to the wire. There's not much between some of the guys that got sent home and some that made the team.

On the gameplan for Uruguay: We want to do the simple things well. We don't want to beat ourselves. We want to play smart rugby. Especially in the first week together we're still kind of getting used to each other and guys are getting in sync after being with their different clubs. The important thing is that we want to play a simple, hard, aggressive style. We can't over complicate things.

On earning a win: That is the priority. First priority is to win it and then second priority is to do it with a cushion. We know it is going to be hard work and it won't be easy.

On the weather in Uruguay being different from what U.S. players may be accustomed to during the winter: We've been in the South. We trained in Atlanta and we trained in Ft. Lauderdale for a few days. We expect to to be 70s and sunny in Uruguay. It's been hotter in Florida.

On the domestic camp: It was great. They went really hard and were physical. The bashed it out against a good, physical, and prepared Life team. It did us a lot of good to get those guys up to speed so when the Europeans came in they were in a good groove. They were familiar with our system and running it well.

*Also, it will be interesting to see who takes over the kicking duties with Siddall out. Wyles is the assumed choice but Folau Niua and Shalom Suniula can also kick.


  1. Dare I ask if the game will be available to watch?

  2. nigel said universal , but didn't say if this leg will be shown. (wish fox would pick up usa matches instead. )

  3. Yes, the away game here: http://www.irb.com/live/video.html and the second leg will be on Universal Sports Network

    1. Thank you, Robb! However, they don't give the kickoff and/or broadcast times.

  4. The whole Universal Sports thing is starting to get really old... It is easily one of the most discouraging things about trying to be a rugby fan in the US...