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Rugby Magazine’s first digital issue is now available. Existing print subscribers and RUGBYMag’s Premier members now have exclusive access to the online publication, which continues to bring readers in-depth features, profiles and photo galleries on the American game.

Hopes Rest on Taku Ngwenya. Numina Photo
Favorites New Zealand and favorites Australia.

The Summer 2011 issue revolves around the Rugby World Cup, but also reviews the country’s domestic championships since spring; national teams’ various international tests and tournaments; and upcoming events around the country. Below are some highlights:

USA at the Rugby World Cup: Just Win? No, Even Losses Matter.
“This year, 30 rugby players from all walks of life try to find a moment or two of glory in a world rugby tournament that will crown someone else as champions. Truly, if the Eagles even make the quarterfinals, it will be a huge upset.”

Rugby World Cup Preview 
Pool by pool previews, players to watch, schedules, history and more.

“As usual, New Zealand is the front-runner not only in Pool A, but the entire tournament. But all is not perfect in All Black land. Through 2010 and into mid-August, New Zealand had won 16 of 17, but stumbled in two Tri-Nations matches just before the World Cup.”

GoffonRugby: Is the World Cup dream the right one?
Alex Goff encourages USA Rugby to think bigger than four-year RWC cycles.

“That means, more than anything, a holistic, long-term approach where winning even one game in the 2015 World Cup is secondary to setting up a system whereby we can see how today’s middle-schooler will get to be an Eagle in 10 years.”

That RWC Feeling: Former Eagle Brian Hightower remembers the highs and lows of the ’99 Rugby World Cup.

“Usually the hard part about tackling a front-rower is that you know it’s going to leave a mark, but I had a difficult time just catching Mr. [Keith] Wood. When he ran by me, I was astonished to see the number on his back. He scored four tries that day. One of them was from a chip kick that he chased down in the corner. The only reason I don’t feel bad that I couldn’t tackle him was that nobody else could either. He was unstoppable.”

Rugby Magazine will return to a monthly frequency by 2012, so if you’d like to access the eZine, become a member of Premier subscription service. To learn more, visit here or to subscribe go here.