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with a new men’s 15s national team coach, can we also establish a
coherent play scouting process? Yes the HSAA/Junior AAs/All Americans
system is good (very good in fact). But that’s not everybody. We have a
flood of second- and third-generation Polynesian players, young players
who pick up the game after college, kids in college and high school
overseas, and US-qualified adults players overseas. Not to mention the
foreign players who move to the USA and make their home here.
That’s a lot of different types of players, and without a select-side competition (which we need, desperately), the scouting and player tracking and development is crucial.
Top players not in the Eagles don’t get enough feedback on what they can do to become better players. They need that.
- Will we need to hire a Director of Player Development to track and
nurture these players? It’s not the same as High Performance. It’s very
clerical, and not always exciting.
- Will the Eagle MNT have a real competition to play in 2012? No. In
2013? Quite possibly. I would love to see it, and I know the players and
USA Rugby’s leadership would love to see it. But it has to not be a
- Can the women’s national programs get on track? It’s not as if they’re
not doing anything, but we need to see the teams assemble and play on a
regular schedule. We need the right players to be tracked to 15s and 7s. We
need strides to be made on the elite level.
My answer here is, yes, we can. I think the current elite camp is a good thing. Players know where they are, and it seems Pete Steinberg and Ric Suggitt are energized, working together, and eager to build a program.
- A while ago I asked USA Rugby’s Jim Snyder if there were going to be
any moves in the structure of men’s club rugby. He said no, adding that the
men’s senior club system has to drive some changes on their end.
Understandable, and I think in 2012 we might see some changes. There’s work afoot to develop a West Coast club league. There’s work afoot to create a pro league that is centered, also, in the West (USA and Canada). There’s work afoot to either put a spark under the Super League to split it up.
Wow, that’s a lot of work afoot. Could we see a completely splintered league system in a year? I do think we could, and the interesting point is that in all the chat about these leagues and different competitions, no one ever says the word “championship.” And no one ever talks about proving any one club is the best. It’s almost always about getting good competition, or creating a competition that is compelling for players and fans.
That sounds more like the move within high school rugby to the SBRO system, and the move within college to the conference system.
- If the most celebrated and powerful college rugby team in the country
pulled out of championship competition, what would it mean to such
competition? And if that same program turned around and succeeded in
entering the D1AA (which, by the way, they have a right to do), what would
it do to that competition.
I guess we’ll see.