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Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 01 February 2013 17:38    PDF Print Write e-mail
Why the Eagles Seek Out Contact - P
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The USA men’s 7s team fans saw on Day One of the Hertz 7s in Wellington was a frustrating team.

Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 31 January 2013 15:15    PDF Print Write e-mail
O-Club Readies to Play - P
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After not playing in their opening two league matches, the Olympic Club takes the field this weekend, facing the East Palo Alto Razorbacks at Treasure Island Saturday afternoon.

Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 24 January 2013 17:26    PDF Print Write e-mail
South DI Problems Continue - P
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The South DI league gets started again in nine days when the Atlanta Renegades visit New Orleans.

Written by Pat Clifton    Tuesday, 22 January 2013 15:52    PDF Print Write e-mail
Speedy Hawaiian Still at OTC After Camp - P
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Pila Taufa, the former U19 flyer, is the only extended camp member to be retained at the Olympic Training Center longer than previously scheduled. Gabe Adler and Madison Hughes also remain in Chula Vista, but are scheduled to leave at the end of January.

Taufa, 23 years old, will stick around until at least through the USA Sevens. He will be playing in Las Vegas next month, whether it’s with the Eagles in the IRB 7s World Series or in the LVI with the USA Falcons or another developmental team. His stay at the OTC could be extended further after Vegas.

A teammate of contracted Eagle Tai Enosa on the USA U19s, Taufa has been on the radar of Team USA coaches for years. He played a little with Eagles assistant Andy Katoa in Aspen several years ago, played League in Australia, and he’s most recently been playing with the Tama Laie Lions in Hawaii while working and supporting his parents.

Taufa is fast, really fast. He actually timed faster 10-meter and 40-meter sprints than Carlin Isles last week. (Isles casually clocked a 4.18 40-yard dash for fun between training sessions Monday). Taufa is also a little bigger than Maka Unufe, and could easily be confused for Jack Halalilo. But, he has little high level experience and improvements to make.

The book on Taufa in the past has been that he’s not committed to rugby, which is understandable considering he is financially supporting his parents. But this time, Taufa appears to be all in.

Written by Pat Clifton    Tuesday, 22 January 2013 15:51    PDF Print Write e-mail
A Pair of Forwards Back From Injury, Competing for Selection - P
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Blaine Scully and Andrew Durutalo are back training with the 7s Eagles, ahead of schedule, following bad injuries. They’re participating in every drill and available for selection for the Wellington and Las Vegas stretch of the IRB 7s World Series.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Monday, 14 January 2013 17:16    PDF Print Write e-mail
DI Men's Club Top 25 Jan. 14, 2013 - P
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Club, like college, has a split season, so ranking teams is not a cut-and-dry process. Some teams, such as in Northern California or the South, haven’t played much in the way of meaningful games, yet, while lots of other teams have played the bulk of their seasons.

We will include the New York Athletic Club in our DI rankings. Sure, they don’t technically belong to DI, but there’s nowhere else to classify them, as it doesn’t make sense to do separate Elite Cup and DI rankings. NYAC won the final Super League championship and looks set to return pretty much all of its firepower, plus, coach Bruce McLane usually has an ace or two up his sleeve when it comes to player acquisition. So we put the AC at No. 1

Life is No. 2 for its impressive dominance over the South so far. San Francisco Golden Gate has looked good in its opening two games, pounding Old Puget Sound Beach and St. Mary’s. Boston went undefeated in New England in the fall. Belmont Shore is currently undefeated and fresh off a hiding of OMBAC. OPSB is still very early in its season, especially for a team not used to starting league play for well over a month from now. We still think the 2012 RSL runners up are pretty good, so they slot in at No. 6.

So we don’t really run into controversy until we get to the West-North group. The Denver Barbarians lost at Provo but beat Glendale narrowly. Glendale tied Provo in Utah. So even though Provo hasn’t lost to Glendale or Denver, they also haven’t gone on the road in league play. We think travel will prove the great equalizer and that the Barbos and Raptors will finish ahead of the Steelers by the end of the season.

The rest of the list is pretty easy to sort out. Santa Monica played Belmont really close before winning huge over the Old Aztecs. So they are rated highly. The Chicago Lions came out of the Midwest, which might be the toughest league in the country, in the best shape, so they get kudos.

Buffalo and the Potomac Athletic Club both went undefeated in fall league play, but they will have to prove something in the playoffs to climb much higher than their current positions.

The only teams from Texas are both 2-0 and from Austin. We give the Huns the slight nod in the rankings for having a better point differential against HARC, their only common opponent with the Blacks so far.

2. Life
4. Boston
5. Belmont Shore
7. Denver Barbarians
8. Glendale Raptors
9. Provo Steelers
10. Santa Monica
11. Chicago Lions
12. Metropolis
13. Buffalo
14. PAC
15. Old Blue
16. Palmer
17. Maryland Exiles
18. Austin Huns
19. Kansas City Blues
20. Austin Blacks
21. East Palo Alto Bulldogs
22. Chicago Griffins
23. Cincinnati Wolfhounds
24. Sacramento Lions
25. New Orleans

Written by Jackie Finlan    Monday, 07 January 2013 23:31    PDF Print Write e-mail
5 Women Sign 7s Contracts - P
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USA Women 7s coach Ric Suggitt has signed five more professional athletes, bringing the total to 15 residents at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

During the previous round of contracts, Suggitt added some experience to the original eight, taking on Nathalie Marchino and Christy Ringgenberg last fall. In 2013, it was all about youth.

Vix Folayan (top photo, Dobson Images) is the oldest and most experienced of the crop. Her interest in 7s heightened after the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup, where Folayan was one of the best finishers for the USA. Since then, she's been in regular rotation on the USA 7s roster. Folayan's fitness has improved over the last year, and she's becoming even more threatening on the wing.

Ryan Carlyle (second from top, Dobson Images), as reported late last week, was also rewarded for her hard work. The 23-year-old relocated to San Diego last winter, booting up with the San Diego Surfers and attending the majority of the OTC training sessions. Carlyle played for the Stars & Stripes at last year's Women's International Invitational in Las Vegas, but now that she has access to all of the off-field benefits that the rest of the professionals enjoy, she should see her level of play improve as well.

Lauren Doyle (middle photo, Ian Muir photo) was a late addition to the USA 7s cycle in 2012, competing at the China International Invitational in October and then Dubai in late November. The Eastern Illinois senior impressed Suggitt immensely, and once Doyle made the commitment to leave school, she got the contract.  

Doyle is one of two seniors finishing out her final semester at school remotely. Penn State great Sadie Anderson (second from bottom, Kelley L. Cox photo) signed on the dotted line, and represents the second collegian finishing school from San Diego.

"Lauren and Sadie are completing their classes online," Suggitt said. "This will be tough, but they are both disciplined athletes, and they should be able to excel at both school and training."

Anderson grew up with rugby. She was a star for Fort Collins, Colo., captained the USA U20s for years, and helped Penn State to two DI national championships during her tenure. She made her debut for the 15s national team in 2011, then traveled to Europe last fall. The flyhalf hasn't represented the USA 7s team since 2011 in Las Vegas, so it appeared that she was focusing her energies on 15s. Apparently, that is not the case, and one can wonder what a professional environment will do for someone so young, yet already so experienced. 

A final surprise occurred in U.S. Naval Academy graduate Jane Paar (bottom photo, Dobson Images). We last saw Paar at the Hong Kong 7s last spring, and as graduation loomed, she indicated she would try everything in her power to stay in the system. While her Navy requirements are yet unknown, it appears she's lobbied for a sabbatical to pursue a professional career in rugby or is possibly looking at a World-Class Athlete Program track. We also know that Suggitt has a soft spot for ground-and pounders, and this hard-nosed worker will make a great addition to the group.

Two more athletes continue to work with the Eagles on a non-contract basis. Contrary to previous reports, Emilie Bydwell has not been contracted but continues in her full-time status alongside fellow San Diego Surfer wing Hannah Lopez.

Including the aforementioned, that means 17 players are available for selection to IRB Women's Sevens World Series stop in Houston in early February. The following weekend, the USA will enter two sides - the Stars and the Stripes. Teams for those two competitions should be announced after this week.

Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 04 January 2013 12:25    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: OMBAC - P
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Rugby season doesn’t usually start on the first weekend in January for players at Old Mission Beach Athletic Club in San Diego.

Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 03 January 2013 17:28    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: Dallas Harlequins - P
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Being winless in the Rugby Super League isn’t fun, and rumors were rampant last summer that the Dallas Harlequins were seriously considering leaving that league.

Written by Pat Clifton    Thursday, 03 January 2013 12:49    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: Eagle Returns to LA - P
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2012 was a tough year for the Los Angeles Rugby Club. They went 2-8 and finished second-to-last in Southern California. LA was crippled by a rash of defections and the lack of a coach. With some key additions, this year should be much better.

Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 03 January 2013 02:33    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: SFGG - P
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A lot has changed since last year for San Francisco Golden Gate.

Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 03 January 2013 00:30    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Player Looking to Gridiron - P
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USA 7s player Maka Unufe is looking possibly to try his hand at another sport.

Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 02 January 2013 17:41    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: OPSB - P
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Six months after losing the Super League Final on their home field, Old Puget Sound Beach has to now find a new competition.

Written by Pat Clifton    Wednesday, 02 January 2013 15:02    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: Austin Blacks - P
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The Austin Blacks begin their Texas title defense Saturday in Houston against the Houston Athletic Rugby Club (HARC). The Blacks do so having added more than they lost in the personnel department.

The one glaring loss is No. 8 Will Martin, who led the Austin forward pack the last couple of years after winning a National Championship with Aspen. He has retired. Austin coach Lachlan Ferguson is hoping Martin’s first retirement will go the way of Michael Jordan’s.

“I think his body’s a bit beat up. He’s got bone spurs, it just hurts a bit,” said Ferguson of Martin. “I’m hoping once the season gets underway we might get him back again and he wants to give it one more go, but at the moment we don’t have him, so he would be a major loss.”

Elsewhwere in the back row, though, Austin has good depth. Sammy Areias and Austin Byrne, for example, will be battling for the No. 7 jersey. And Texas grad Kellen Burke will be fighting for back row minutes, too.

“Those two are going to have a fantastic season competing for that starting 7s spot,” said Ferguson of Areias and Byrne. “I know (Burke) was an important member of (Texas’) squad. He’s joined us this year and we’re really pleased he’s on board.”

Perhaps the Blacks’ biggest addition, though, is Curtis Chaffin. The former Dallas Harlequin, Woodlands Exile and West 7s All Star will likely slot into Austin’s starting backline immediately.

“Primarily I’m looking at him as an attacking 13,” said Lachlan of Chaffin. “He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s very strong. He’s obviously very quick, and what I like about him is he’s very quick between the ears, so I think he’s got huge potential for us.”

Austin had a good season last year, winning Texas, beating New Orleans in a pre-playoff tune up and advancing to the National Quarterfinals with a 22-20 win over OMBAC. But then they ran into the buzzsaw that was Glendale, falling 61-10 to the Raptors the day after beating the SoCal runners up.

“That happens, and our guys, I think we have learned from it, and they can see where it gets to the sharp end of the season they need to step it up a couple of levels,” said Ferguson.

“We got found out in terms of depth. We competed really well on the Saturday when we played OMBAC, but then we were a bit short of having some depth and freshness on the Sunday, which we’ll try to fix for this year.”

Though Austin lost to Glendale by 51, Lachlan says his team was better than the score indicated, and that it can take another step up this year.

“If you looked at the score, you’d say we’ve got a huge mountain to climb. But realistically our guys, and I think the Glendale guys, think the score didn’t indicate the game,” he said.

“I think the gap is a lot closer than it appeared in that last game. I think most teams would recognize that. I think we’re there and abouts this year, but what’s really good from the Austin Blacks perspective is being successful in Texas is one thing, but we really desire that success at the National stage.”

Written by Alex Goff    Tuesday, 01 January 2013 23:46    PDF Print Write e-mail
Blackjacks Bet on Youth - P
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Former USA center Vaha Esikia marks his opening season as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Blackjacks this winter.

Written by Alex Goff    Tuesday, 01 January 2013 15:18    PDF Print Write e-mail
Camp Time Again for 7s Eagles - P
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The USA 7s team will begin holding an extended camp soon.

Written by Pat Clifton    Tuesday, 01 January 2013 11:03    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: Belmont Shore - P
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Belmont Shore kicks off its DI National Championship defense Saturday against Santa Monica, but does so with plenty of talent from last year’s team off the roster.

Written by Alex Goff    Monday, 31 December 2012 19:45    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: Dallas Rugby Club - P
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The knock on the Dallas Red Rugby Club is that they were dependent a little too much on a small number of star players.

Written by Pat Clifton    Monday, 31 December 2012 12:38    PDF Print Write e-mail
Elite Cup Schedule - P
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We have pieced together the Elite Cup schedule, and it's posted below.

Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 30 December 2012 19:51    PDF Print Write e-mail
Scouting Report: Santa Monica - P
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Lurking around the waters of Southern California’s DI club league are the Dolphins of Santa Monica.

Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 23 December 2012 17:20    PDF Print Write e-mail
ALl-Army Women? - P
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All the talk about military 7s teams helping develop Olympic 7s players isn’t just limited to men.

Written by Pat Clifton    Sunday, 16 December 2012 14:29    PDF Print Write e-mail
Contracts No Magic Band-Aid - P
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The full-time Olympic Training Center contracts have been around for about a year now. It was in Wellington last season that the Eagles fielded their first mostly-contracted side, so we mark that tournament as the beginning of the contract era.

Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 12 December 2012 20:52    PDF Print Write e-mail
Clever Looks Ahead, and Back - P
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USA captain Todd Clever is now looking toward helping NTT Communications move up in the Japan Top League, but two recent losses have seen them slip to 9th.

Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 12 December 2012 00:11    PDF Print Write e-mail
Tall Order for Kelly - P
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It’s been a bit of a wait to replace Scott Lawrence as USA U20 men’s coach, but Jason Kelly now officially has the job.


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