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Written by Pat Clifton    Thursday, 04 August 2011 12:26    PDF Print Write e-mail
Ngwenya on RWC: "This One Will be Different"
National Teams - USA Men

Rewind four years. Takudzwa Ngwenya is an uncapped Eagle, with his only match in a USA 15s jersey coming in a friendly against Munster less than a month prior to the World Cup opener with England.

No one outside of the United States knew anything about the speedy wing, except that he was a wing and he was supposedly speedy.

Three weeks after the opening loss to England, Ngwenya turned his future on its head when he scorched South Africa’s Bryan Habana, widely considered the fastest man in rugby at the time, for a try.

14 caps, four years of stardom in professional rugby and an abundance of equally impressive tries later, Ngwenya is preparing for his second World Cup.

“This one will be different,” said Ngwenya, stating the obvious.

“The goal is right now, not just me, because we’ve got a tough pool again, is to just show up and show what we can do, because we play Australia and Ireland. Those are teams we normally don’t get to play, so we’re all excited about playing them and the challenge.”

Individually, Ngwenya is looking forward to playing James O’Connor, Australia’s all-world 21-year-old wing/fullback/center, to see if he can leave skid marks on the back of a world-class player in consecutive World Cups.

“It’s another challenge to see what else I can do,” said Ngwenya. “O’Connor is a good player, pretty much a great player, at the moment, so it’s a challenge, an honor to go against him, and it’s like a personal thing as well.”

Because it’s the nature of playing international rugby with guys who don’t have much time together, and because the Eagles forwards have traditionally had trouble winning and maintaining ball, Ngwenya and deep-three mates Chris Wyles and Kevin Swiryn don’t get as many quality touches as perhaps they’d like.

That can be a cause of frustration. It also means the try scorers have to capitalize on the touches when they get them in counterattack, as Ngwenya did after Todd Clever intercepted a floated Springbok pass to spark the possession which led to the famous ‘07 try.

“Every time we come back to international rugby we kind of have that in mind already that we’re not going to get as much ball as we’d like to get outside in the backs, because we don’t all play together and most the (forwards) are local boys,” said Ngwenya.

“So we try to make them feel as comfortable as possible and keep them jamming and keep playing a little bit tighter. We already know when we come that we’re not going to get as much ball, but it’s kind of frustrating…We wait for counter attacks.

“That, pretty much, is my biggest moment, because it’s like loose play and no one is in real position and there’s a lot of space, and if you have guys like Chris Wyles, me and Kevin get the ball with a little bit of space, we’re dangerous to take it the whole way. That’s our moment to shine as the back three.”

There’s a new back three player in the mix who may vie for some shining moments of his own -- James Paterson of the Super 14 Otago Highlanders.

Until Monday, Paterson had never been a part of an Eagle assembly. He represented America in the age-grade ranks, but never on the full-grown Eagles. Ngwenya seems energized by the addition of another supreme talent, and he says Paterson is jelling quickly.

“He’s been doing good. He’s caught up pretty good,” he said of  his new teammate, who is training but out of contact because of a healing pectoral injury.

“The thing is just trying to get to know him better, because we don’t get to like train and play together. He’s out here for a reason, because he can play, you just try to get to know what are his tendencies, what does he like to do? So hopefully these three games will help us get glued together.”

Paterson is sitting out Saturday’s Canada match in Toronto to give his once-torn pec time to rest, but Ngwenya will start at right wing, and he’s eager to avenge the 41-18 drubbing the Canadians handed the Eagles last time they met.

“Right now, I’m still angry at them for that last game we played against them in Canada when they put like 40 points on us,” he said. “And also it’s always been a rivalry against Canada. This time I think we’ll be prepared and hopefully we won’t get a red card like last time.”

You can watch the Eagles play Canada live 2pm Eastern time on Universal Sports or Universalsports.com

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Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 03 August 2011 23:32    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye: Important Message in Selections
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions

Well, I was wrong. 

I figured USA Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan would try a few combinations in his selections for the USA team.


 
Written by Pat Clifton    Wednesday, 03 August 2011 17:05    PDF Print Write e-mail
Where Will Mike Palefau Be Saturday?
RUGBYmag Premier - Exclusive News

Wednesday afternoon, RUGBYMag.com received this message from Sean Whalen, owner of the Utah Warriors:

"Mike Palefau WILL be playing for the Warriors this weekend. He WILL be in San Francisco with the team," referring to the Club 7s Nationals held Saturday and Sunday.

Palefau is listed in the 36-man Eagles pool for the pre-World Cup tests against Canada and Japan, but not the 22-man roster released Wednesday for the first Canada match, which takes place Saturday during Nationals. 

The lion's share of the Eagles pool assembled in Glendale, Colo. Sunday, and all but Palefau arrived earlier this week. RUGBYMag.com was told by USA head coach Eddie O'Sullivan earlier in the week Palefau was due to report in Glendale Sunday and would not be available for the Warriors this weekend.

Follow Pat Clifton (Pat_Clifton) and RUGBY Mag.com (RUGBY_Magazine) on Twitter and like RUGBY Magazine on Facebook.

 
Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Tuesday, 02 August 2011 16:51    PDF Print Write e-mail
Old Blue Founder, Rugby Revolutionary, Dick Donelli
Off The Field - People

Dick Donelli, center, and New Zealand legend Sid Going in 1972 at the coin toss of the All Blacks v MetNY RFU. Ed Hagerty photo.Dr. Richard Aldo “Dick” Donelli, DDS, a co-founder of the Old Blue RFC (NYC), passed away in his sleep on Sunday, July 24 at the age of 73.

A co-founder of the Old Blue Rugby Club and widely regarded as a passionate, intelligent, and competitive rugby man, Donelli is also credited with helping change the sport by popularizing the scrumhalf spin pass.

Beloved husband of Kathleen and father to Tiffani, Jacquie, Kerry, Nicole and Charles, Donelli was a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia School of Dentistry; he practiced for over 40 years in Hartsdale, NY.

He was a rugby player at Columbia and later formed Old Blue as an offshoot of the Columbia team.

He played for the MetNY and Eastern RFU select sides on many occasions in the 1960s and 1970s, including, famously, this clash between MetNY and the New Zealand All Blacks (pictured rugby, RUGBY Magazine photo).

In the photo you can see Donelli's competitive nature front and center as he, in the middle, stares down New Zealand legend Sid Going.




 
Written by Press Release    Wednesday, 03 August 2011 16:40    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagles Squad to Face Canada Announced
National Teams - USA Men

Glendale, Colo. – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has named his best possible squad for the Canada encounter set to take place at BMO Field in Toronto on Saturday.

“It’s important that we get a solid start to this August tour, with the Rugby World Cup (RWC) only weeks away. The squad has switched on right from the start, and realize that their RWC campaign is in their hands,” said O’Sullivan.

The 35-man Eagles squad arrived in Glendale on Sunday, July 31, hitting the ground running with two-a-day sessions on both Monday and Tuesday.

“Some players were not available during the Churchill Cup, so this is our first real opportunity to work those combinations that will allow us to achieve our goals,” explained the Head Coach.

The 22-man traveling squad will depart for Toronto on Thursday morning, looking to start their RWC campaign on a high note.

Canada are currently ranked 16th on the IRB World Rankings, one place ahead of the United States. Next week the Eagles will host Canada at Infinity Park on Saturday, August 13, after which the squad will travel to Tokyo to take on Japan on Sunday, August 21.

Two players that are not available for this upcoming match include veteran fullback Chris Wyles and Highlanders winger James Paterson. Wyles is nursing an ankle problem, and Paterson is continuing his rehabilitation.

“We need to give both Chris and James time to get back to full health,” added O’Sullivan.

The Eagles are led by the outstanding Todd Clever, with hard working Louis Stanfill (flank) and Nic Johnson (8th man) completing the loose forwards. In the tight five, the experienced props Mate Moeakiola and Shawn Pittman will look to dominate up front. Phillip Thiel – one of Life University’s standouts - starts at hooker.

Hayden Smith returns at lock for the USA after helping Sacarens win the Premiership title in London earlier this year. He will be partnered by John van der Giessen who secures the other lock position.

In the backline, Mike Petri starts in the number 9 jersey alongside veteran flyhalf Nese Malifa. The powerful duo of Andrew Suniula and Paul Emerick are at center, and this midfield will be key in creating space on offense and halting the Canadian attack.

Fresh from Biarritz is the exciting right wing Takudzwa Ngwenya. On the other wing – also playing professional rugby in France – is Kevin Swiryn. All American captain Blaine Scully gets his second start in an Eagles jersey, at fullback.

The forward reserves include: San Francisco Golden Gate hooker Chris Biller, Las Vegas Blackjack’s prop Eric Fry, flanker Inaki Basauri (who is now with French club, Perigueux) and the University of Cape Town’s JJ Gagiano. Covering in the backs are scrumhalf Tim Usasz, and utility players Roland Suniula and Tai Enosa.

“The rivalry we have with Canada is extremely fierce and we are very excited to face them in Toronto and get our RWC campaign underway,” said Eagles captain Clever.  

The USA will kick-off against Canada at 2.00 P.M on Saturday, August 6, with the United States time zones, and broadcast information below.

USA EAGLES TO FACE CANADA
15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)
14 Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz)
13 Paul Emerick (Life University)
12 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
11 Kevin Swiryn (Agen)
10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
9 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club)
1 Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny 93)
2 Phillip Thiel (Life University)
3 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)
4 John van der Giessen (Unattached)
5 Hayden Smith (Saracens)
6 Louis Stanfill (Unattached)
7 Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath) *Captain
8 Nic Johnson (Unattached)

Reserves:
16 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
17 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
18 Inaki Basauri (Perigueux)
19 Jonathan ‘JJ’ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town)
20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC)
21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
22 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)

Unavailable through injury: James Paterson (Highlanders), Chris Wyles (Saracens)

USA EAGLES STAFF
Eddie O’Sullivan (Head Coach), Dave Hodges (Forwards Coach & Technical Analyst), Matt Sherman (Backs Coach), Mike Tolkin (Defensive Coach), Dan Payne (Skills Coach), Chris O’Brien (Kicking Coach), David Williams (Strength & Conditioning), Jarrad Griffiths (Assistant Technical Analyst), Tristan Lewis (Team Manager), Kevin Battle (Assistant Manager), Alex Garibay (Physio), Michael Keating (Physio), Sarah Sall (Masseuse), Thomas Mick (Doctor), Dallen Stanford (Media Manager)

RWC BUILD-UP SCHEDULE
August 6, 2011: USA v. Canada (BMO Field, Toronto, Canada)
Kickoff 11.00 A.M PST / 12.00 P.M MST / 1.00 P.M CST / 2.00 P.M EST

August 10, 2011: USA Select XV v. Glendale Raptors (Infinity Park, Glendale, CO)
Kickoff 6.15 P.M PST / 7.15 P.M MST / 8.15 P.M CST / 9.15 P.M EST

August 13, 2011: USA v. Canada (Infinity Park, Glendale, CO)
Kickoff 6.15 P.M PST / 7.15 P.M MST / 8.15 P.M CST / 9.15 P.M EST

August 21, 2011: USA v. Japan (Prince Chichbu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo, Japan)
Kickoff 2.00 A.M PST / 3.00 A.M MST / 4.00 A.M CST / 5.00 A.M EST

USA Rugby's broadcast partner, NBC Universal, will be showing all three USA warm-up matches LIVE on UniversalSports.com! Click here to find out more details.

RWC 2011 SCHEDULE | NEW ZEALAND
September 11, 2011: USA vs. Ireland (New Plymouth)
September 15, 2011: USA vs. Russia (New Plymouth)
September 23, 2011: USA vs. Australia (Wellington)
September 27, 2011: USA vs. Italy (Nelson)

 


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