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2015 is going to be an incredibly busy year for the men’s Eagles, both 15s and 7s, with the Rugby World Cup in the fall and the Olympic Qualification ongoing through June. We have lined out a rough schedule below.
Impressive in this schedule is the Eagles’ long lead up to the World Cup. In 2011, they had just three full-fledged matches to get ready for the quadrennial tournament. This time around, they’ll have seven in a span of about two months. Coupled with a South American tour for the domestic players in the spring, the 15s team will have an unprecedented amount of assembly time.
The resurgence of the Pacific Nations Cup is largely to thank for the increase in matches. Since it’s a World Rugby event, much of the cost is picked up, giving USA Rugby, along with the other participant federations, four very important games at a bargain.
In addition to the Pacific Nations Cup, the Eagles will play a home-and-away series with Canada, as well as a third test against an opponent to be determined. Australia is reportedly interested in a match in Chicago after the All Blacks’ successful trip State side, and if that doesn’t work out, a duel with a Premiership team may be on offer. Either would probably slot in after the Canadian doubleheader in either August or September.
A new addition to the annual schedule is a forwards-only camp set for next month. This will be for domestic forwards with an emphasis toward the set pieces, and specialist coaches are expected to be brought in.
For the 7s team, it’s all about Olympic Qualification. The way the 7s World Series Standings look right now, the United States and Canada will be battling for one ticket to Rio at the NACRA Olympic qualifier in June, which is slated to be held in the United States.
After the NACRA qualifier, all hands will be on deck for the World Cup through October.
For players that vacillate between both 15s and 7s, this is a hectic schedule. Unless special dispensation is worked out, it almost eliminates European pros from being able to help the 7s team win the NACRA qualifier. European clubs, depending on how far they go in the playoffs, could be active through the end of May, giving 15s pros little time to be folded into the 7s setup.
The door will swing the other way, though. Folau Niua, Andrew Durutalo, Zack Test, Danny Barrett and other 7s Eagles will have no barriers between them and the summer tests or the World Cup.
|Month||XVs Eagles||7s Eagles|
|Forwards camp||Falcons Tour to South America|
|Domestic Camp||6-7 7WS Wellington|
|13-15 7WS USA Sevens|
|27-29 7WS Hong Kong|
|South American tour for non-pros||4-5 7WS Tokyo|
|South American tour for non-pros||9-10 7WS Glasgow|
|16-17 7WS London|
|NACRA Olympic Qualifier|
|18 PNC vs. Samoa|
|24 PNC vs. Japan|
|29 PNC vs. Tonga|
|2 PNC vs. TBD|
|Test vs. Canada|
|Test vs. Canada|
|Test vs. TBD (Australia? Could be in Aug)|
|20 RWC vs. Samoa|
|27 RWC vs. Scotland|
|7 RWC vs. South Africa|
|11 RWC vs. Japan|