Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 15 September 2011 23:27    PDF Print Write e-mail
Russia Knows the Sorry of Losing
International - Rugby World Cup
First RWC walk-on. David Brinton photo
Russian fans stepped up. David Brinton photo
Russia in Action against the USA. David Brinton photo

So much expectation had been heaped on the Russian team, the pain of losing was difficult to contain for some.

Being a good Russian, flyhalf Yury Kushnarev expressed his sorrow with a sad smile.

“We are very, very disappointed,” he said, smiling a little. “It was not a perfect game for us. USA play well on defense and we make a few mistakes and they break lines and get some points.”

Kushnarev was on the team that was able to run a bit wild on the Eagles in June. Not this time. The wind, cold and rain, and an improved USA defensive line, stopped all that.

“In New Zealand our game plan was to play quite tight and pick and drive more. There was not a lot of chance to play wide, a lot of kick and chase,” he said. “But we know we can build on this and learn from it. It’s a tough tournament and next few games will be tougher. If you play top class, line speed and and defense are so difficult, we have to play at that level.”

The Russian team was welcomed warmly in New Plymouth, and many of the almost 14,000 fans at Stadium Taranaki were cheering for Mother Russia.

“To have supporters like that, it’s fantastic,” said Kushnarev. “In Russia nobody support like we are supported in New Zealand.”

Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 15 September 2011 22:46    PDF Print Write e-mail
Clever to Face Citing Commission
National Teams - USA Men

USA captain Todd Clever has been cited for an incident of foul play during Thursday's match against Russia.

The citing relates to an alleged breach of Law 10.4(e) dangerous tackling and Law 10.4(g) dangerous charging during the Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool C match against Russia on September 15. Clever was penalized during the game for a shoulder charge on a player who was being dragged into touch.

The Team has been informed and the case will be heard by the Independent Judicial Officer His Honour Judge Jeff Blackett (England).

The hearing will take place at the Vero Centre in Auckland. The time and date will be confirmed later today.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Thursday, 15 September 2011 11:16    PDF Print Write e-mail
Preseason DI Top 25
Rankings - Men DI College

(Rankings will be posted in our Premier section first, and then made free at a later date. This Top 25 was originally run Sept. 7)

Who makes up the preseason Top 25? We have a combination of returners and College Premier Division teams who have come back to DI, which should open up the competition and deepen the pool of realistic contenders.

Davenport returns all but two players for their title defense. The varsity program is just entering its third season, as are many of the Panthers. JP Eloff is the best player in DI, and he's joined by possibly the country's hardest working flanker in Ryan Hargraves and an intriguing and emerging talent in Demecus Beach.

However, they do play in the murderer's row of conferences. Miami (OH), Bowling Green and Indiana would be the odds on favorite to win several other DI leagues, but they're all bunched together in the Midwest East. With just 14 DI conferences, it appears there will be two at-large bids to the playoffs. Since the MWEC took two teams to the final four last year, don't be surprised if they get a second bid again.

Dartmouth could appear under-ranked at No. 2, but they lost 20 players to graduation, including the Downer brothers, RUGBYMag All American Charlie Grant, captain Tommy Brothers, Tanner Scott and 7s All American Muhammed Abdool-Shakoor. The entire Big Green front row is graduated, as are many of the backups. That's why Dartmouth isn't No. 1. They could be by season's end because All American Nate Brakeley and AA honorable mentions Paul Jarvis and Derek Fish return.

San Diego State, Tennessee and LSU all could have won DI last season, but all have lost some of the best players their programs have seen. LSU's Bobby Johns and Adam Ducoing headlined an outgoing senior class that will be nearly impossible for the Tigers to replace this year. Benji Goff has left Knoxville for grad school at Life and the Duncan Kelm era has come to an end in San Diego. Tennessee and San Diego State have are also replacing head coaches, though Matt Hawkins is a heck of a grab for the Aztecs.

Matt Sherman's entering his second year at Stanford. He will get started on Cardinal business late because of the World Cup, but he did the same last year due to being hired relatively late, and his team was a miraculous UCSB second-half comeback from a final four appearance. Marcus Henderson is a budding star in Palo Alto, and he could be primed for a breakout.

Why is Miami ranked ahead of Bowling Green? Seniors. The RedHawks have five of them starting, and they're all very good. Miami fell to Bowling Green and Davenport by a combined eight points in league play last year, and they return all the key playmakers.

Other ranked teams who've lost significant playmakers are Florida (DI RUGBYMag All American Darryl Meckley and Corey Penca, plus Matias Groetaers graduates in December), Florida State (Dylan Hamilton), Kansas State (Joe D'Agostino), Loyola Marymount (All American Zachary Fenoglio), Maryland (Sage Winn) and Buffalo (Pat Hughes).

Conversely, Indiana and Middlebury return virtually everyone. DII runners up Middlebury beat a few DI opponents last season with a young squad, including final four participant Harvard.

One of the biggest personnel transactions of the offseason was one that didn't happen. Matias Cima, the Gonzaga star that catapulted Maryland to the first-ever ACRL title, did not transfer to Penn State as rumor suggested. Cima is still a Terp, and his fellow Maryland diaper dandies are a year older.

1 Davenport
2 Dartmouth
3 UC Santa Barbara
4 San Diego State
5 Tennessee
7 Stanford
8 Miami (OH)
9 Claremont Colleges
10 Bowling Green
11 Florida
12 Sacramento State
13 South Carolina
14 Indiana
15 Wisconsin
16 Oregon State
17  Florida State
18 Minnesota
19 Loyola Marymount
20 Kansas State
21 Maryland
22 Middlebury
23 Buffalo
24 Texas State
25 Chico State

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Thursday, 15 September 2011 13:23    PDF Print Write e-mail
RWC Notebook: Close Calls
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions

There have been some nail biters through the early stages of what's already a great Rugby World Cup. Here are some of the moments that have made it a sporting spectacle.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:42    PDF Print Write e-mail
RWC Notebook: USA v Russia
RUGBYmag Premier - Exclusive News

What? You didn't make it up in time to watch the Eagles beat Russia? Here are a few photos of the USA's third all-time Rugby World Cup win. All images by Dave Brinton. 


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