January 29, 2016
Eagles Coaches & Players Named For Americas Rugby Championship
USA Rugby in press release yesterday and today have announced both their coaches and players for the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship which begins February 6th and continues through March 5th.
The USA Rugby Men’s Eagles coaching staff will include Head Coach John Mitchell and professional internationals Phil Greening, Rob Hoadley, and Marty Veale.
John Mitchell, the former New Zealand All-Blacks Coach became the Eagles Men’s Head Coach at the beginning of the year. His contract runs through the Rugby World Cup 2019. He leads the Eagles in competition for the first time in the Americas Rugby Championship, where the Eagles will play five matches. The USA will host Argentina, Canada and Chile, while traveling to Brazil and Uruguay.
The USA coaching staff has undergone significant changes since the end of the Rugby World Cup in October. The staff includes analyst Paul Goulding, team manager Sean Lindersmith, and strength and conditioning coach David Williams.
Also on the staff are Phil Greening, who is an Assistant Coach and Interim Head Coach due to the death of John Mitchell’s mother. After returning from New Zealand, Mitchell will resume his coaching duties in Houston during training.
Phil Greening has had a significant influence on the Eagles 7s program working closely with Head Coach Mike Friday and Chris Brown over the last two years. He is a defensive specialist who has helped the Eagles 7s program reduce the points that they concede. He will continue to work with the sevens program in addition to his defensive responsibilities with the Eagles XVs.
Alex Magleby, USA Rugby Director of Performance, indicates that Phil Greening, the former Sale Coach, “has proven to be creative and technically outstanding with our sevens athletes.” “He is a passionate and hard-working coach. He, too, understands the pressures on the modern player, having competed at the highest level of the professional game. Phil brings a wealth of rugby experience, including tutelages under coaches including Sir Clive Woodward, Warren Gatland, Shaun Edwards, of course Mike Friday, and will bring it full circle with Mitchell again.”
Rob Hoadley, the former England International with 24 caps, played with Gloucester, Sale Sharks and Wasps in the English Premiership and also played hooker with the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2001.
Hoadley is currently assisting Josh Sutcliffe, Director of Rugby and Head Coach at the Stanford University. We formerly coached the Wasps, winnning two Premiership titles and two cup titles as a player, as well as the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan’s Top League. The England national will serve as backs coach during the ARC.
Marty Veale, Head Coach of Old Blue of New York, Forwards Coach at West Point Army Rugby, and most recently the Head Coach for the American Rugby Premiership match against the Ontario Blues in the Fall.
Marty is a dynamic coach who has played professionally for the Wasps in the Aviva Premiership Rugby, as well as in New Zealand for provincial sides Canterbury, North Harbour, and Northland.
As a former Lock, he specializes in forwards play. In the last three years he has led Old Blue to two National Title appearances. His Eagles duties will largely focus with the scrums.
The U.S.’s player pool will consist of 37 players for the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship. The availability of these players is listed below in a release from USA Rugby. They will train in Houston, where the Eagles will open the competition at BBVA Compass Stadium against Argentina Saturday, Feb. 2.
John Mitchell’s Eagles will have a mixture of both veterans and newer players for the Americas Rugby Championship.
Speculation has existed for some time concerning professional contracted players and their availability. Former USA Captain Todd Clever, currently playing with the newcastle Falcons returns to the squad along with teammate Eric Fry. Cam Dolan, Taku Ngwenya, Greg Peterson, and Blaine Scully have also been released from their respective professional overseas clubs for at least one match for this competition. Each will be in Houston for the opening round of the tournament Saturday, Feb. 5, at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Of the 37 players on the squad, 15 players have received an international cap, and 11 played in the Rugby World Cup this Fall. Eight players played for the USA Rugby Selects last Spring in their tour to South America against Argentina and Uruguay.
Niku Kruger, did so when he was playing for Kutztown University. He also was part of the USA Eagles Rugby World Cup Squad and was honored to start at scrum half against his native South Africa team. Lemoto Filikitonga, a back, was also part of the USA Rugby Selects squad. During this tour, the Selects defeated Uruguay and players increased their viability as future national team selections.
The remaining 12 athletes have the opportunity to earn caps and fight for future inclusion with the Eagles. Mitchell said, The inclusion of “the contracted players overseas bring the necessary experience of professionalism from their club cultures and, as long as they bring the right enthusiasm with that awareness to their preparation and performance, this rubs off on the younger players. This is such an essential part of the younger players’ development with our most experienced players around.”
USA Rugby All-Americans on the squad include Cameron Falcon, Hanco Germishuys, David Tameilau, and Mike Te’o. The latter two will be in the squad for all five matches, Te’o, a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center will be joined by Pat Blair and Nic Edwards for the home matches against Canada and Chile.
The squad is also young, as nearly two-thirds are under the age of 27. This bodes well when preparing for another Rugby World Cup cycle. In this group are recent USA Falcons, Kingsley McGowan and Aladdin Schirmer. Mike Te’o also was part of the recent USA Falcons tour at the American Sevens in Argentina and the Seven Viña del Mar in Chile.
The Glendale Raptors, who play in the Pacific Rugby Premiership and the Seattle Saracens, who play in the British Columbia Premier League, have a combined 8 players on the roster.
Opportunities for many players exist to showcase their talents in Pacific and American Rugby Premiership play, as well as in the Gold Cup, and in the case of the Seattle Saracens, the British Columbia Premier League. This combined with identification in the USA Rugby National Pathway, players in the Olympic Development Training Center in Chula Vista, assist in monitoring player performance.
The new USA professional rugby league, PRO Rugby, will also provide increased exposure when League play begins April 10th.
When discussing the team Michell said, “our team culture, our model of communication, and weekly processes will be consistent and inclusive of everyone, whether you are in camp or you go back to your club. What is important is that our preparation does not ignore simple situations to learn with high-intensity preparation. Then it’s up to us to stick to the same things and get better at it over the five weeks, bedding down our approach from day one for the players to become unconscious in their thinking to play without consequences for having a crack within the structure.”
“Everyone involved will have to give more of themselves and play in a space where they have never been before. We are more interested in creating a team mix and squad that understands winning for USA is more important than playing for USA.”
The Eagles kick off their ARC campaign against fifth-ranked Argentina before matches against Canada, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay, respectively. Tickets are still available for the three home matches, with broadcast details to be announced at a later date.
Men’s Eagles | Americas Rugby Championship 2016 Roster
Men’s Eagles | Americas Rugby Championship Coaching Staff
Phil Greening – Assistant Coach / Interim Head Coach
Marty Veale – Assistant Coach
Rob Hoadley – Assistant Coach
David Williams – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Paul Goulding – Video Analyst
Sean Lindersmith – Team Manager
Men’s Eagles | Americas Rugby Championship 2016
v. Argentina – Saturday, Feb. 6 @ 8:10 p.m. ET – BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston)
v. Canada – Saturday, Feb. 13 @ 7:10 p.m. ET – Dell Diamond (Austin, Texas)
v. Chile – Saturday, Feb. 20 @ 6:10 p.m. ET – Lockhart Stadium (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
v. Brazil – Saturday, Feb. 27 @ 3:10 p.m. ET – Arena Barueri (São Paolo, Brazil)
v. Uruguay – Saturday, March 5 @ 4:10 p.m. ET – Charrua Stadium (Montevideo, Uruguay)
Americas Rugby Championship
ARC Match Schedule:
Canada vs Uruguay, Westhills Stadium, Langford, B.C. 1:00 pm ET
USA vs Argentina, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX 8:10 pm ET
Chile vs Brazil, Vina Del Mar, Chile 5:10 pm ET
Brazil v Uruguay, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 5:10 pm ET
Argentina vs Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina (TBD) 4:10 pm ET
USA vs Canada, Dell Diamond, Round Rock, TX 7:10 pm ET
Canada vs Brazil, Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC 1:00 pm ET
USA vs Chile, Lockhart Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 6:10 pm ET
Uruguay vs Argentina, Campus Stadium, Punta del Este, Uruguay 6:30 pm ET
Argentina vs Canada, Rosario, Argentina (TBD) 4:10 pm ET
Brazil vs USA, Barueri Arena, São Paulo, Brazil 3:10 pm ET
Chile vs Uruguay, San Carlos de Apoquindo, Santiago, Chile 6:10 pm ET
Chile vs Canada, San Carlos de Apoquindo, Santiago, Chile 5:10 pm ET
Uruguay vs USA, Charrua Stadium, Montivideo, Uruguay 4:10 pm ET
Brazil vs Argentina, Pacaembu Stadium, Sao Paulo, Brazil 6:10 pm ET