Monday, January 8, 2018

Interview With Eagles Coach Gary Gold

Gary Gold is a busy man. Fresh off leaving Worcester for the Eagles full-time he's getting ready for camp. We caught up with him to get his thoughts on transitioning to the Eagles and his goals.

1) You built something special at Worcester. What made you want to leave that behind and join up with the Eagles?

The situation at Worcester was always only supposed to be short term until the end of last season. We had a really good run and the club asked me to stay on, which was such an honour, but when the opportunity to coach at an International level again arose, and even more so with a nation such as USA, which has so much potential, it was a great opportunity for which I am really grateful.

2) You are entering a team halfway through a World Cup cycle. With a short time frame, what can you do to get the team to play the way you want them to play?

I think it’s critical we try to keep things simple and ensure we get on the same page in terms of understanding what the team’s strengths are. Also, putting as much time as possible into ensuring we improve on the areas of the game we want to make our strengths. We have a huge responsibility to ensure we create as much continuity within the group in the run up to the RWC, particularly in critical pivotal positional groups, like 9/10’s, Locks etc, playing together.

Take the jump to read more.

3) What was your knowledge of American rugby before taking the job?

Not a whole lot at domestic level, but obviously have watched the US team over the years at the international level. The US has produced some really good players over the years, and I am hoping with the continued pursuit of professional rugby, we will start to see some real gems unearthed.

4) Tier II fixtures in general are limited in comparison to Tier I countries and the U.S. in particular has missed out on some key fixtures in the past year (only two tests in November). How can you get the Eagles more game time with limited resources?

I feel America is really exciting for teams who want to travel and play, we saw the huge success the Ireland v All Blacks game had around the globe, and you will see the huge interest that
there Stormers v Bulls game will have in Feb, so I think we need to encourage some of those countries to continue their travel to the US and arrange fixtures against the Eagles. I am sure it will create huge interest and would benefit both teams.

5) The Eagles playing pool has traditionally been split between professionals in Europe (and some in the lower leagues) and those playing domestically in America. How do you blend those two pools?

It is obviously tricky, but as mentioned earlier, I am really excited about the prospects we will develop here locally. I am personally keen to get the coaching groups of American clubs to meet regularly to share ideas and ways on which we can all assist in raising the standards of the game in the US. I think the more time and energy we put into the development of local clubs, the quicker you will see the divide within the pool of players playing locally and possibly not being full time and professional, narrowing substantially. I have seen it happen in Japan, where in a few short years the level of the local players has improved substantially and that made a huge difference to there Rugby World Cup 2015.

6) What are your goals for the Eagles at the World Cup?

I would like us to become competitive against the tier 1 nations. I accept we may have a way to go before we are in a position to necessarily beat tier 1 teams on a regular basis, but I would like this group of players to believe we can honestly be a competitive team who can cause a few big upsets along the way. We also need to be fiercely consistent against tier 2 countries, and drive ourselves to raise our world rankings.

7) Have you talked with any previous Eagles coaches or coaches in America about your new position?

Yes, one or two. I have also reached out to one or two others, I am a big believer in starting ideas, so I am really keen to chatting and learning, especially from others who have experienced it all before.

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