Team USA Wraps Up Summer Schedule

Will Team USA end their summer tour schedule with a winning or losing record? This is the question the Eagles will answer today when they square off with Six Nations perennial Wooden Spoon winner, Italy.

Earlier this week, USA Rugby announced the starting lineup to face off against Italy in this weekend’s match being held in Houston, Texas, made up of the same starting team that upset Georgia last weekend in Colorado, only flipping wings James Patterson and Luke Hume to opposite sides of the field.

The task ahead of the Eagles this evening is more daunting – while Italy comes into the match with a 9-55-1 record in the Six Nations, keep in mind they are still in an annual competition facing the best national teams the Northern Hemisphere has to offer!

This is the final match of the Eagles’ three-week international extravaganza, losing to Canada earlier in June before surprising the Georgians, 36-20, last week. (Well played, Eagles – taking on Georgia at altitude was a great idea!)

It’s not too late to catch this match, if you don’t have Universal Sports on your cable provider (Grrrrrr Comcast!) you can still check out Universal Sports’ web site and watch it online for $9!

TEAM USA

Starting 15

15 Chris Wyles (Saracens)

14 James Paterson (Glendale Raptors)

13 Paul Emerick (London Wasps)

12 Andrew Suniula (Cornish Pirates)

11 Luke Hume (Old Blue)

10 Roland Suniula (Chicago Griffins)

9 Mike Petri (NYAC)

1 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)

2 Chris Biller (Northampton Saints)

3 Eric Fry (Wellington Old Boys RFC)

4 Louis Stanfill (NYAC)

5 Brian Doyle (NYAC)

6 Taylor Mokate (Wellington Old Boys RFC)

7 Scott Lavalla (Stade Francais)

8 Todd Clever* (NTT Shining Arcs) 

Reserves

16 Derek Asbun (Oxford University – England)

17 Mike MacDonald (At Large)

18 Tolifili (Andre) Liufau (l’Uson Rugby)

19 Andrew Durutalo (USA Rugby Sevens/Old Puget Sound Beach)

20 Mose Timoteo (SFGG)

21 Will Holder (Army)

22 Colin Hawley (USA Rugby Sevens)

High Desert Rugby Videos

Finally after weeks of work I was able to squeeze in some time doing what I love to do, editing video and getting in the rugby vibe! Last month I was at the High Desert Rugby Classic here in Albuquerque, getting a few interviews taken care of.  Now that they are all edited, I have a chance to get them up for your viewing pleasure!

First up, an interview with New Mexico Highlands University coach, and New Mexico rugby legend, Dick Greene. Here he talks about why he loves rugby, the time he spends in THE Rugby nation of New Zealand, and the New Mexico Highlands Rugby team.

The Tucson Lightning women were among the teams visiting Albuquerque for the tournament known lovingly as “High Dirt” and these nice ruggers took time to tell me a little bit about the team. (apologies for the video quality, the camera started to give me problems).

Albuquerque’s Atomic Sisters’ RFC (last year’s Women’s Club Champion Runner-Ups) were at the tournament as well, using it as a chance to sharpen up before the following week’s match to make a run for this year’s championship.

Teams from Denver are also a tradition at the High Desert Rugby Classic. And this year was no different, as the Denver Rugby Club was in attendance. Denver made it to the tournament’s championship match before losing to champions, the Provo Steelers.

Every rugby tournament needs a supplier, for when ruggers tear shorts, or need new boots, or just want a cool new jersey!  For the last few years, Red Rhino Rugby Supply filled that role at the High Desert.

The High Desert Rugby Classic was a great tournament this year, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s tournament! (Although I think next year I’ll get a tent and set up a mini-studio on site, maybe even a little livestreaming if I can land the wifi for it…)

Fijian Lock Resigns from Military, Allowed Entry into World Cup

Well, it’s official. Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa has been granted entry into New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup. Why is this an important development in the 2011 Rugby World Cup? Sit back and let me tell you.

At first glance, people might be asking why they should care about the admission of one particular player onto New Zealand soil for the sport’s ultimate competition.

Was he suspended for using steroids?

For dirty and illegal play?

Continue reading “Fijian Lock Resigns from Military, Allowed Entry into World Cup”

Thinking the “Unthinkable (?)” For Your Consideration…

This past weekend NBC hosted four hours of the USA Rugby Collegiate Sevens Championship over Saturday and Sunday. Throughout that time the commentators discussed the history of rugby in the U.S. and in the Olympic games, taking pains to point out that the U.S. are the back-to-back and current gold medal holders in Olympic Rugby. There was plenty of talk of the U.S. defending the medals in Rio in 2016, and how the team needs to be looking for players now to compete in 2016.

During the broadcast this weekend, an unsettling idea kept creeping into my head. With all of the talk of the USA at the Olympics, there was a presumption that the U.S. will qualify for the Olympics.

I’m sure most of you are thinking,

“The U.S.? Not Qualify? What blasphemy is this?”

Continue reading “Thinking the “Unthinkable (?)” For Your Consideration…”

The Best and Worst of Times in USA Rugby on Saturday

It was a day of duality in much of the American Corner of the Rugby Universe. To blatantly steal a line from Dickens – it was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

The High Notes

The Collegiate Sevens Championship on NBC appeared to be a success (and props to GoDaddy for providing much needed advertising revenue for the two hour block of network time). Over 10,000 rugby fans packed the stadium at PPL Park in Philadelphia and were witness to a day of fantastic rugby.  The handful of matches shown live were outstanding, and while my favorite match of the day was the Army-Navy grudge match (won by the Army Black Knights 19-15 – Go Army! Beat Navy!) the University of California lived up to their billing and played a strong match against Penn State in Pool A, overpowering the Nittany Lions 26-7. 

Cal may be considered the favorites going into tomorrow’s championship matches, but they’ll face a tenacious Utah team in the morning’s quarterfinal match and then will have to face off with the winner of the Army-Texas game in the semifinals. My money’s on Cal and Army moving on to face each other and while I’d love to see Army continue on from there, Cal is still the measuring stick for collegiate rugby in the U.S. They were undefeated this season, going 29-0, and until someone actually does beat them, you have to pick Cal to go all the way and compliment their 15s championship.

Continue reading “The Best and Worst of Times in USA Rugby on Saturday”

Rugby, Rugby and More Rugby on Tap This Weekend!

Hey peeps!  After a more-or-less enforced break for the last few months (thanks grad school! Grrr) I’m back in the saddle to talk/debate/discuss/run smack at the latest goings on in the Rugby Universe!

So what better way to start that off by pointing out that this weekend is the U.S. Collegiate Sevens Championship held in Philadelphia and aired on NBCon both Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m. Mountain time (4-6 out on the East Coast) with additional viewings before and after this time on Universal Sports and Versus. On the heels of the TV success of the USA Sevens World Series tournament in Vegas this is another great move for USA Rugby and the USA Sevens team to get people interested in rugby before this fall’s Rugby World Cup in NZ.

And with a roster of teams including Arizona, Army, Notre Dame, Ohio State (rumor has it that these players did not sell memorabilia for tattoos and cars, unlike the football team), BYU, Texas and others the question has to be asked – will anyone be able to keep the University of California juggernaut from claiming the sevens title as they did in the College Premier Division 15s championship last weekend?

If you need even more rugby this weekend, USA Rugby will be livestreaming the Men’s Division I, II and III tournament live from Glendale, Colorado on their Usteam channel starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Italy To Dine on “Frog’s Legs” Tonight with Surprise Victory Over France

Where in the blue hell did Italy come from this morning?? The long suffering red-headed stepchild of the Six Nations surprised the skeptics… OK, they surprised pretty much everyone in the Rugby Universe today by racking up what can be considered the nation’s biggest win ever by beating defending Grand Slam champions France in a sqeaker, 22-21 today in Rome. 

This win is the Azzuri’s first ever victory against Team Frog in their 11 Six Nations matchups, and their second win in 32 games against France.

With today’s win, Italy hopes to shake off their recent dismal play in international matches, having lost 9 of their previous 10, their only bright spot a victory over Fiji during last autumn’s friendly test run.

My Take: The Welsh Ball(s) Controversy

Let me get this right, there’s a concern that Wales 19-13 victory over Ireland in today’s Six Nations match is somehow tainted because at one point in the match the ball throw into the game wasn’t the same ball that went out of bounds a few seconds earlier? This is a controversy?

According to ESPN Scrum’s Huw Baines:

The scrum-half and Wales skipper Matthew Rees impishly conspired to craft a score from a quick lineout but, thanks to a handily-positioned ball boy, the ball thrown into play was not the one dispatched out on the full seconds earlier…

“A handily-position ball boy?” Baines makes it sound like there was a vast conspiracy, complete with secret messages being passed from pitch to sideline, a plan (by Ireland apparently) to kick the ball out of bounds at that precise location, a second gunman at the grassy knoll, possibly big stacks of cash being handed all around for no reason (because you can’t have a proper conspiracy without big stacks of cash) to steal this game away from Ireland with… the horror, a different rugby ball.

Really?

Continue reading “My Take: The Welsh Ball(s) Controversy”