Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 04 December 2011 18:43    PDF Print Write e-mail
Overseas Update: Biller Plays, Ngwenya Scores
International - Americans Overseas

USA hooker Chris Biller played in his first Aviva Premiership game Saturday, running on as a sub in Bath’s 16-13 loss to the Sale Sharks.

Biller is one of four USA players no playing the Premiership, along with Chris Wyles and Hayden Smith of Saracens, and Samu Manoa of Northampton.

Wyles started at outside center for Saracens in their 15-11 win over London Irish Sunday. Hayden Smith was not used.

Manoa was on the bench for Northampton as they lost 30-25 to Leicester.

In the RFU Championship (England’s second-tier pro competition), Shawn Pittman started at prop as London Welsh edged Bedford 25-24.

Mike MacDonald started at prop for Leeds and Robbie Shaw came off the bench as Leeds lost 33-19 to Bristol, Shaw’s old club.

Cornish Pirates crushed London Scottish 42-10, but Andrew Suniula was not used.

(Note, last week Nottingham confirmed that Tim Usasz will not return to the club.)

In France, Stade Francais won 29-3 over Racing Metro. Scott LaValla did not play. Agen beat Bayonne 37-18, but Kevin Swiryn did not play. Montpellier beat Biarritz 30-23. Taku Ngwenya started at wing for Biarritz and scored a try.

The try was a brilliant display of team rugby, starting in the Biarritz 22 and running up the left tramline and involving eight passes. The last was from No. 8 Imanol Harinordoquy to Ngwenya, coming in from the opposite side of the field to run in support.

We have not seen Seta Tuilevuka in the Montpellier lineup most of the fall.

Highlights from that game, including Ngwenya's score in the 17th minute.

In France’s Pro D2, Inaki Basauri started at lock for Perigueux, who lost 26-14 to Pau.

In Japan, Suntory defeated Honda 45-14. Todd Clever did not play.

Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 04 December 2011 17:55    PDF Print Write e-mail
Renegades Complete Florida Sweep
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

The Atlanta Renegades ran out 57-14 winners over Boca Raton Sunday to sweep their two-game Florida road trip and move into first place in the South DI club league.

The Renegades now sit at 3-1 with 17 standings points, two ahead of 3-0 New Orleans.

After beating the Tampa Krewe 48-10 on Saturday, the Renegades started out a little stiffly against Boca. The game was close at halftime, 12-0, but opened up late as Coach Garry Sullivan’s newer players showed their athleticism.

Roderigus Ceaser and Dominic Drolet were outstanding in the backs and won joint Man-of-the-Match honors.

“I called the new guys in together before the game and told them, “this is your chance,’” said Sullivan. “’This is your chance to show what you can do.’ The guys really showed up, and that puts us in a good position. We have shown we have depth now. All the guys know that they could be sitting if they don’t perform.”

Along with Ceaser and Drolet, Josh Moody was another youngster who showed well.

“We came here and got two bonus-point wins, which is great, “ said Sullivan. “Now we just need to keep pace with New Orleans and try to get 1st in the League. Getting bonus points in all our games was crucial for us.”

Sullivan also said playing on the road proved easier for him as a coach, as his players were more focused on being on time and we all together. Now he wanted to build on that but looking for good competition out of the league.

“We have Life just down the street in Georgia and we’re going to play their Super League team and their college team as much as we can,” said Sullivan. “It’s good, cheap competition. They always show us things we need to work on, and I know we still have things to work on.”

South DI Club Standings (all teams play eight games):

South DI Men League

Club W L T PF PA Diff BT BL Pts
Atlanta Renegades 3 1 0 171 70 101 4 1 17
New Orleans 3 0 0 127 46 81 3 0 15
Charlotte 0 1 0 15 37 -22 0 0 0
Tampa Krewe 0 2 0 16 82 -66 0 0 0
Boca Raton 0 2 0 25 119 -94 0 0 0

Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 04 December 2011 15:44    PDF Print Write e-mail
A Step Forward for Eagle 7s
Sevens - USA Sevens Men

After a disappointing 0-3 opening day at Dubai, the USA team turned things around, not only by beating Zimbabwe and Canada, but doing both convincingly.

Hard-nosed D against Canada. Ian Muir photo
Zack Test against Canada. Ian Muir photo.
PeTer Tiberio is one of the young players learning lessons, sometimes harsh lessons, in the World Series. Ian Muir photo.

Head Coach Al Caravelli, however, wouldn’t say his team has turned a corner.

“We’ve made advancements,” Caravelli told “We lost to New Zealand and South Africa, and while we’re not happy we lost, we made some advancements there. I’d like to beat those teams, but we’re not there yet.”

What he could say was the team played with a lot of passion, and backed themselves a lot more.

“On defense we challenged teams to be fast enough to beat us,” he said.

Looking ahead to the Nelson Mandela Bay 7s in Port Elizabeth, the USA needs to get more of that passion and swagger. If there’s one player who has personified that approach, it’s been Mike Palefau. The center is quick, but not the quickest man around. And yet, he completes breakaways and is in support.

Up front, the forwards are starting to come together. They weren’t fast enough to the ball and were beaten at the point on contact too much in Gold Coast. As the World Series has progressed, the forwards have been tougher customers.

Improving also is Shalom Suniula. Always a good player, he is settling into a captaincy role, and that is allowing him to relax more in his play. It’s a transition that several captains have had to make. Mike Palefau’s second try against Zimbabwe was an excellent example. Not only did Suniula make the key break, he fed Folau Niua with a perfect pass, and then cleaned out two players to allow Mark Bokhoven to pass the ball out quickly.

On the converse, Suniula started the Bowl Final against Scotland with a kickoff out on the full, giving the Scots a free kick at midfield. You could see how that mistake bothered the captain.

But perhaps the player who is truly making strides is Mile Craigwell. His try against Canada put the game away and he is starting to take on that role of game-closer with alacrity.

(Lost in the shuffle might be players such as Peter Tiberio – young and still learning, sometimes learning harsh lessons. Time for him Folau Niua, Duncan Kelm, and even the relatively experienced Colin Hawley and Tai Enosa, is valuable.)

All of these aspects of play have to be better going forward, especially as the USA faces an astoundingly tough pool with England, Argentina and Samoa on the docket in South Africa.

The god news is, the Eagles took a step forward in Dubai, and now have a third tournament where they can build a little bit more.

Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 04 December 2011 16:21    PDF Print Write e-mail
Contracting Players Pays Off for France, Eventually
RUGBYmag Premier - Exclusive News

Why France is suddenly a winning 7s team, and what that means for the USA.

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 03 December 2011 22:42    PDF Print Write e-mail
Pittman Helps Welsh to Key Win
International - Americans Overseas

USA prop Shawn Pittman helped vault London Welsh into first place in the RFU Championship – England’s second-tier professional league – as the club won 25-24 over previous co-#1s Bedford Saturday.

It all may be very fleeting as Bristol, tied with Bedford for first before this weekend, plays Mike MacDonald, Robbie Shaw, and Leeds on Sunday.

Still a win over one of the leading teams is a big scalp, and Pittman did much to help his side with some key plays in the loose as well as standing up against a tough Bedford front row.

London Welsh is now 9-3-1 with 46 points. Bedford has 44 points and Bristol has 43, with a game in hand, which they play Sunday.


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