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As the forwards for the USA Selects bound together to drive a maul during a lineout drill, new forwards coach Justin Fitzpatrick bellowed encouragement.

Keep in line. Drive straight. Keep going. Hard. Fight. Keep going.

It was a combination of technique and emotional training bursting forth in colorful language from the former Irish international. And it all carried a message: get smart, and get tougher.

"What I wanted from the forwards was a little bit of the animal," said Head Coach Mike Tolkin. "Justin and I spoke about it a lot."

With some players pushing for USA spots in the forwards, and others knowing they have a massive task in front of them at the Americas Rugby Championship, the pack will have to man-up big-time.

Fitzpatrick told the players that they are an impressive group of athletes, but athleticism only takes you so far in the trenches against Argentina, Canada, and Uruguay.

A good forward pack needs unity, solid technique, and toughness - a lot of toughness.

The sessions in Seattle before the ARC certainly riled up the players. Players such as Phil Thiel and Cam Dolan were visibly frustrated when things didn't go well, but in a way that somehow brought the group together. OMBAC's Tai Tuisamoa has a hard grafter on defense, making the offensive players work for it all. It was the beginning of a process toward making the USA forwards nastier.

Fitzpatrick loved every minute of it.

"As the saying goes, you have a lot of tools in your toolbox," he said. "But most often, the best one is the hammer."