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Hawkins was in discussions with USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville during the late spring regarding the job, and initially intended to give up playing in order to be coach.

But over the last couple of months, discussions have included the prospect of him continuing to play.

"As I've said previously, I will do whatever the program needs," said Hawkins, who is 30 and sits behind only Shalom Suniula as the USA player who has appeared in the most number of IRB World Series tournaments. "Whatever is best for the team, then I will do what I need to do."

It does appear Hawkins will remain as a player, at least for the short-term, but he says it's not a priority for him. If he does that, former 15s Eagle Dave Williams, who has been working for USA Rugby in a coaching role since 2006, would step in as the sideline coach. Andy Katoa remains with the team as a manager, but the team can only take so many players and staff on the World Series, so it's unclear at present whether Katoa would only fulfil his role in Chula Vista.

The key to being a player-coach, said Hawkins, is that he and the coach on the sidelines during the games have the same approach and support the same style of play. In addition, he said that a player-coach needs someone who is honest enough to tell the player-coach when his on-field performance isn't up to snuff.

"You need to have that consistency," said Hawkins, who also said that getting the coaching job was a "pretty special honor."