Head coach John Mitchell has handed out 35 new caps in 2016, a remarkable amount by any measure. Those filling them have come from many places – 7s guys taking their first real crack at international 15s, recent college stars making the step up, and even some previously unearthed U.S.-qualified overseas professionals.
But for one of this year’s debutants, at least, the seminal accomplishment of... Read More
My teeth were firmly gritted for most of the recent USA v Romania match. If I relaxed my jaw, the string of profanities to come out would be like one of those magician’s handkerchiefs.
It was not just the Eagles’ play that made me think the match could look better. Watching the Eagles fall behind 20-0 and ultimately lose 23-10 was the source of most of, but not all of, the frustration. Also... Read More
In the past, quite a few players used the USA sevens program as a stepping-stone toward a professional path in fifteens. However, the landscape has changed. With the Sevens World Series, and USA’s place on it, well-established, and with another Olympic cycle looming as soon as one ends, it isn’t clear how different players with navigate options in sevens and fifteens.
Several of the USA sevens... Read More
At Toyota Park just outside Chicago, the New Zealand Maori All Blacks comfortably defeated the USA Eagles, 54-7. The last time the two sides met, in 2013, the Maori won 29-19.
For the USA, too much of the first 40 minutes was spent inside its defensive half. Maori coach Colin Cooper said, “We made the States play inside their half. We’re blessed with the kickers that we have. That was probably... Read More
This morning, I went to the Ireland captain’s run at Soldier Field and then walked down to the Irish team hotel. It took me a while, in part because of the swelling crowds for the Cubs rally.
During the walk, for the entirety of the walk, there seemed to be someone in Cubs gear in sight.
The last time I was in Chicago, it was on match day for USA v New Zealand. Walking down Michigan Avenue toward... Read More
With the USA Eagles match against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks nearly here, it is time to take a peak at what we might expect from the New Zealand Maori. With relatively few matches, and with a squad of smart players ready to adapt to what is in front of them, it is risky to assume too much about how the match will go. Still, here is some of what we do know.
To put it briefly, they don’t... Read More
Uruguay A handled the USA Selects easily and won Sunday’s Americas Pacific Challenge match 47-15. A central factor in the match was Uruguay’s scrum, which was dominant throughout.
The match started in a promising fashion for the Selects, as they moved the ball confidently in attack in their first opportunity. They then stole a Uruguayan lineout, and Mateo Sanguinetti was sin-binned for a tip... Read More
The USA Selects outplayed Canada A in the second half and came back to win 47-37. The first half was dominated by Canada A, and well into the second half it looked to be Canada’s day.
At the 49 minute mark, Canada A was up 30-13, and the Selects had a prop in the sin bin for scrummaging infractions. However, the last 30 minutes belonged to the Selects.
The comeback effort was steered, in large... Read More
A prop being yellow carded in Montevideo? A penalty try conceded from a scrum in Montevideo?
Hmmm. Yes, there is a familiar taste in the mouth after Saturday.
The USA Selects started the Americas Pacific Challenge poorly, losing to the Fiji Warriors by 50 points. The 62-12 final seems a fair enough reflection of the difference between the two sides on the day. Given that this tournament is... Read More
This Monday, I had my first conversation with relatively new USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne. This is mostly a record of that conversation, though I find it difficult not to toss in a little commentary. The impression Payne made on me was of a man who is realistic and passionate, who understands where rugby in America is right now and where it might go.
The first thing I was curious about was Payne’s... Read More