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…)

USA Rugby: Desperately Seeking Coaching

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and all the ships at sea. This urgent telegraph message just in from USA Rugby:

USA Eagles men’s coach Eddie O’Sullivan has decided to call it a day in the U.S. and won’t be continuing his coaching career on this side of the pond – possibly wanting to explore professional opportunities in Europe.

O’Sullivan came to the Eagles in 2009, after his resignation as head coach of his home nation of Ireland, having led the green-and-white to three triple crowns (beating the other three British Isles rugby teams – Wales, Scotland and England) and finishing as high as second place in the Six Nations Championship. During his tenure Ireland also rose to as high as third in the IRB World Rankings.

Continue reading “USA Rugby: Desperately Seeking Coaching”

Brian O’Driscoll, Injuries, and the “Club vs. Country” Debate

Ireland center Brian O’Driscoll might become the latest Rugby World Cup casualty to take an extended leave of absence from the rugby pitch.

After gutting through the Rugby World Cup, thanks in large part to cortisone injections according to ESPN Scrum, O’Driscoll, 32, is at risk of having to get surgery for an injured shoulder so he can play for RaboDirect PRO 12 team Leinster. According to Leinster coach Joe Schmidt:

“He’s a fairly precious commodity, BOD, so we want to make sure we don’t play him in the condition that’s going to affect him in the future and we look after him as best we can. Because if we can get him right, he’s a fairly handy fellah to have.”

This brings up the question of club vs. country once again. It’s considered the greatest honor for a player to be selected for their country, but in an age of professionalism teams have to ask how best to balance both commitments for players. These professional teams are paying thousands of dollars/pounds/euros for the services of these players,and have as much of a right to these players’ efforts.

If they aren’t available because of injuries sustained in the line of their international duty, then I’m sure many of these teams feel that steps need to be taken. Whether it’s the professional team being compensated part of their salary spent on the player by the country, or another agreement between the competition, teams and country.

I’m sure there are those who have a counter opinion, that national team matches are more important than professional team expectations. They might even wish to point to soccer or basketball as an example, that it is possible to play for both team and nation.

As anyone who has ever been on the rugby pitch knows, rugby is a more physical sport than either of those two sports. Placing the same expectations on a rugby player that fans might have on a soccer player are more likely to wear down the rugger, increasing the chances for additional injuries.

Professional rugby players already have a too-long season to contend with, but to pile on additional national team duties, or visiting international tours on top of that might be pushing these athletes to, or beyond, their physical limits.

A Dual-Use Rugby Office?

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union recently decided to open an office in Paris, ostensibly to capitalize on the popularity of the All Blacks in Europe following their Rugby World Cup win.

A secondary use for the new offices might be to keep track of all of the All Blacks, and other New Zealand ruggers, who keep getting targeted by certain European professional rugby competitions (I’m looking at you here, Frenchie) with huge contracts to leave Kiwi Nation.

Bonus Points at the World Cup? Really?? #rugbyworldcup

OK, please allow me to get this off of my chest.

Do we really need to have bonus points in Rugby World Cup pool play?

Really?

It’s really that important for you that your team (should you be lucky enough to be a fan of one of the Rugby Universe Power Teams) rack up 50 or so points on their opposition?

We all know what this is. It’s another subtle way for the Rugby Powers That Be to keep a lock on advancing to the quarterfinals and beyond at the RWC. I just finished checking out the South Africa v. Fiji match, where the Springboks, in classy fashion, dropped a 49-3 win over the Islanders. We all know the Springboks are one of the powers in this year’s world cup – as the defending champs it’s expected of them. Do we really need to be giving them, or the All Blacks or England, additional points for running up the score?

What if, just follow me here, what if one of the minnow teams beat one of the Rugby Powers at the World Cup in a close game, and then were kept out of advancing to the next stage because other teams in the World Cup gained bonus points by running the score up? That would be, for lack of a better word – bullshit.

Yes, the Rugby Powers that Be are the top teams in the world – we all know that. There’s no need to give them extra points because they are able to run up the score.  There just isn’t.

How Fare the Mighty Eagles Thus Far? #rugbyworldcup

The Rugby World Cup continues to charge on, a couple of weeks into the extravaganza that happens every four years. The United States National Team has a lot of pride on the line if they want to show improvement over their 2007 World Cup nightmare, where they lost every match. They are two games in, and surprisingly the Eagles have shown more than just a strong heart and a desire for “a good showing.”

Ireland 22, USA 10

It’s hard to tell which narrative is more true in this game – was the U.S. that inspired, able to hold #8 Ireland to a 12-point victory, or was the Irish play really that off, not able to score more than 22 points against a nation that is still (as I’m sure many rugby nations are truly thrilled with) just a small moon in the great Rugby Universe.

(“That’s not a moon… it’s a space station.”)

As is usually the case, it’s a little bit of both.

The Eagles, led by captain Todd Clever on the openside flank, anchored a pesky defense against Ireland in the first half, holding Ireland to a 10-0 lead at halftime despite the fact that Ireland’s forwards dominated the U.S. at each set peace. Clever was a one-man swarm around the ball in the first half, stuffing Ireland’s rucks and backing up U.S. runners on the rare occasions they had the ball.

But this was the case where a team that had more time training together would eventually prevail – Ireland’s pace, fitness and working as a unit eventually ground down the U.S. pack, who fought this losing battle almost completely inside their own side of the pitch in the second half, and the three Irish tries came out of forward play.

USA 13, Russia 6

This tenacious US defense continued when they faced Russia.  In their most recent game, the Eagles squeaked away their third victory ever in the Rugby World Cup with a 13-6 win over the mighty Russian Bears – the lowest scoring World Cup match since Australia’s 12-6 win over England in the ’91 finals, and a far sight from New Zealand’s 145-17 victory over Japan in the ‘95 World Cup.

“Delighted with the win and the performance of the team. We retained our intensity and work rate from the Ireland game. We knew Russia would play to the very end, and we prepared for that eventuality. We had Russian under pressure on numerous occasions, but they defended really well and made us work for every score we got,” said Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan.

The only try of the game came from Eagles’ scrumhalf Mike Petri, off of a pass from first five Roland Suniula and who crossed the try line 20-minutes into the game, carrying a Russian tackler on his back.

This was an important game for both sides, not just because it was seen as the only game that either team might win, but also because the two teams are ranked right next to each other in the IRB World Rankings – with the USA ranked 18th and Russia 19th. In recent matches where the US was ranked just above their opponent, such as Georgia and Tonga, the US came out on the losing side, then flipping places with their opponent.

The Eagles now have to prepare for their toughest match of the tournament, their Sept. 23 showdown with Australia in Wellington. A game that the United States is not likely to be competitive in, while Australia is expected to rest some of their starters.

USA Captain Given OK to Play

Todd Clever, the captain for the U.S. National Rugby team was cleared today after being cited by Rugby World Cup officials for dangerous tackling and dangerous charging in the USA’s victory over Russia on Sept. 15. You can read the particulars of the case here, but it appears that the contact in question was incidental and there was no malice involved, so Clever has been cleared to play for the USA in their remaining Rugby World Cup matches.

Looking for a Rugby Video Game? Your Cup Runneth Over this Fall

But my fellow rugger/gamers, don’t be alarmed! In case you haven’t yet heard, there’s not one, but TWO rugby games due out in upcoming weeks.

Easing back into posting on here regularly again, just in time for the Rugby World Cup, I’d like to start off with a quick update on the video game front.

A while back, on another site, I asked if EA Sports was planning on releasing a new Rugby World Cup game for XBox and Playstation, seeing as how they had a tendency to do so on World Cup years. Well it turns out they’re passing this year. But my fellow rugger/gamers, don’t be alarmed!  In case you haven’t yet heard, there’s not one, but TWO rugby games due out in upcoming weeks.

Continue reading “Looking for a Rugby Video Game? Your Cup Runneth Over this Fall”

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”