Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Q&A: Answers To Your Questions (Part One)

We had a lot of responses to our call for questions so thank you! We've split things up into two sets with this one talking Psalm Wooching, college rugby, the Eagles, and more.

Nick Henry: Any update on Psalm Wooching's Pau tryout?

TIAR: Nothing that we've heard. That said, Pau would be foolish not to take a flier on him. He's an athletic specimen with a rugby background. The question is whether it's the best pathway for Wooching. He may be better set playing for the 7s team and then maybe some select sides this summer. He would be a great candidate for the USA Islanders. 

WM: Any idea who is behind the Houston Strikers? 

TIAR: There are several names behind the team. Jeremy Turner has been the face of the team so far. I do know that if Justin Fitzpatrick thinks it's a good opportunity than it's a good opportunity. 

Paul Acutt: Any word on professional webcast or broadcasts plans for MLR?

TIAR: Nope but that shouldn't stop the speculation. Our guess is Flo Rugby at the beginning. 

Take the jump to read more.
Matt Saunders: Central Washington lost to Navy last week. Why are they still at #7 in your power rankings, and why is Navy not in the Top Ten?

TIAR: Good question and thanks for asking. One of the things we look at is their overall strength. We thought that Central Washington had the better year and if the CWU-Navy game was played five times CWU would win four of those. Navy played very well that day, without question, but they still didn't have the season CWU had. 

WM: With BYU leaving the Varsity Cup this year do you think we might see just one college "national championship" next year?

TIAR: It's possible but it has a lot to do with what is put forward to serve the needs of every club. The Varsity Cup was created because teams like Cal and BYU brought in all the fans to the final but didn't make any money. The highest attended final remains the match between Cal and BYU at Rio Tinto all the way back in 2011 (if it wasn't the highest it was very, very close). Has the DI-A solved that problem since? That may be the one of the reasons that Cal holds out if that's what they choose to do. Additionally, with the way the DI-A playoffs were matched up this year (Life vs. Lindenwood and Arizona vs. Baylor in the quarterfinals) there are questions whether DI-A is ready to take the step up an be as inclusive as they need to be. There are a lot of grudges in college rugby that aren't good for the game.

What we've been a proponent of and what we'd like to see is some sort of college super league where the top eight teams play a round robin throughout the school year to determine who is champion. That would leave enough room for fall or spring 7s as well as competitions like the Mid-South or PAC Rugby. Imagine Cal, St. Mary's, BYU, Central Washington, Lindenwood, Life, Arkansas State, and a team like Penn State or Army or Indiana all playing regularly. That would draw broadcast and sponsorship attention. 

Jordan Walker: Do you think that we'll see a rugby league start up franchise similar to the Toronto Wolfpack any time soon?

TIAR: I don't think we'll see something anytime soon. Toronto is a good experimental market for this sort of thing because they do have hockey, Canadian football, basketball, and soccer to compete with it's not the same as New York. Also, there doesn't seem to be one person that can make it happen here in the U.S. like with Canada. 

Woody48: With the understanding that there are several variables that could preclude the answer to this question, such as durability and skill and abilities holding up over several years, just for fun, now that the Eagles are consistently playing 9 to 11 test matches per year, which young Eagles do you have your eye to become USAR’s first test match centurion? Conversely, do you believe Todd Clever can stay healthy enough thru the current World Cup cycle and beat them all to the punch? Assuming he could stay injury-free, playing 10 tests per year, plus the World Cup warm-up tests, plus the World Cup…it kinda looks like he has a shot. Thoughts?

TIAR: Good question. I think some of the younger names that you could see at the new World Cup but definitely in 2023 are Ben Cima, Ben Pinkelman, and Calvin Whiting. As for Clever, there is no question he has the talent to be on the Eagles. The question is whether the Eagles would be better off using his spot to develop a young player. Given the talent the Eagles have on the back-row it's a legitimate question whether Clever will be on the roster in 2019 so why not go young in a tournament like the ARC?

Grant Cole: The following recent (last 24 months) Eagles are registered with USA Rugby as "At Large". Do you know what their plans are, if any, to continue playing rugby?

Dino Waldren
Mike Sosene-Feagai
Nic Edwards
Tom Bliss

TIAR: They all plan on continuing to play but they are most likely listed as "At Large" because they are still in the Eagles playing pool but don't really play in the United States. That said, who knows.


  1. First test centurion will be, barring injury, someone who plays domestically in MLR or whatever iteration of pro rugby exists. Any of the overseas pros will find it hard to get away for the ARC, which means they will miss at least 4 caps annually. Over 10 years, that's 40 caps! I could see a guy like Hanco Germishuys, Nate Brakely, or Ben Cima. It's got to be someone young enough for a decade plus career and potentially available for all the annual test matches. Clever might achieve that, but it would certainly come with him getting a lot of caps off the bench going forward as he probably isn't in your starting backrow if all the pros are available.

  2. Question- Where are teams like the Houston Strikers, Austin Huns, etc., getting all of their money? Especially the Huns, who could never even beat their local rivals the Blacks for a really long time I read, until they were paying players, coaches, training staff, etc. Did someone win the lottery? Super successful former player? I can't see sponsors pouring money into a team with no national appeal. Thanks.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. That's what I had hoped the old College Premier League concept would have had evolved into. An elite college league featuring the top 8-12 college programs playing agaimst ome another.

    Ideally we'd see a CPL at the top with D-1A below with the winner of D-1A playing the bottom team in the CPL in a promotion/relegation game.

  4. Tom Bliss has retired from rugby and is a personal trainer in London.

  5. Great questions and great answers. Thanks TIAR!