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Friday, September 18, 2015

Tolkin Discusses Eagles Preparations, Samoa Match


The Eagles are busy preparing for their World Cup opener. They've moved on from Portsmouth and have set up camp in Brighton ahead of their match (side trivia note for history buffs: they are in the same hotel in which Margaret Thatcher survived a bombing in 1984).  We managed to catch up with head coach Mike Tolkin for a few brief minutes to get his thoughts on the upcoming match and more.

On the health of the team: "Everyone's healthy and everyone's good to play. No issues with that at the moment."

On the build-up: "Guys are focused. They know their business and are prepared. They've been working hard. It's been a good build up. When we take the field we'll know everything we need to do. Like I said, the guys know their business and we're looking forward to getting the game started."

Take the jump to read more.

On Hayden Smith's return to the line-up: Hayden was always the number one guy before we took him out for his injury in the warm-up games. He comes back to position as the number one guy. Cam (Dolan) filled in great and Cam will be a big impact player off the bench for us.

On picking Ollie Kilifi and Chris Baumann as reserve props: Obviously by law we have to have three front-rowers on the bench (Phil Thiel is the other). Right now Ollie and Chris are ahead of Mate and Joe based on performance.

On adding wrinkles having already played Samoa: On our part we a different team (from when they played Samoa earlier in the summer). There are a bunch of different players that have so much more game time and training under their belt. We know what we have to do. We have to take the fight to them. In that first game a lot of it was due to it being the first game back and match fitness and tentativeness. We know we have to get them back and get in their face.

On the team's goals at the World Cup: First and foremost, our goal is to play quality rugby in each game, to put teams under pressure, and put ourselves in a position to win the game. We want to get the process right of doing the things we set out and trained to do. If we do that we have a good shot, like most teams. We want to get the processes we've worked on all summer right and put pressure on our opponents. In the distance certainly we want to come to the tournament and move on to the next round but we don't want to look to far down the road and keep a laser focus on each game.

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