Rob Cain, USA Women’s Eagles Head Coach
A USA Rugby video conference with members of the USA Rugby media just concluded with Rob Cain, Alex Magleby, Aalina Tabani, Jackie Finlan, Alex Goff, Curtis Reed, and Doug Coil participating.
USA Rugby staff members includeRob Cain, Women’s Eagles Head Coach, Alex Magleby, the General Manager of National & High-Performance Rugby and Aalina Tabani, the High-Performance Communications Manager. Members of the rugby media include Jackie Finlan of The Rugby Breakdown, Alex Goff of the Goff Rugby Network and FloRugby, Curtis Reed of This Is American Rugby, and Doug Coil of DJCoil Rugby.
Once a visa is issued, Rob Cain will be moving to the San Diego area and work at Chula Vista. This will likely take place in June, allowing him to view the Collegiate All-Americans and USA Sevens competitions. Cain has already been working closely with Emilie Bydwell, General Manager of Women’s High Performance.
Cain joins the USA Women’s Eagles from Saracens Women’s Rugby as the first full-time coach. He previously coached men’s sevens on the international circuit.
USA Rugby has established a pathway for age-grade, elite rugby with the goal of identifying athletes and working with them as they progress through toward the national team. At the national level, there will be three test matches in November. The first will be against the New Zealand Black Ferns at Soldier Field in Chicago on November 3 as part of a Rugby Weekend Tripleheader. The team will also play against Ireland, against another unidentified team, and also will have an A match.
Playing the number one team in the world in the Black Ferns is a huge test. It will enable the program and the athletes to assess how their performance and how they need to develop as players and as a team. The other tests will be played against other outstanding teams and provide the high-performance opportunities needed to improve.
Women’s Premier League
During the Fall, the Women’s Premier League plays. This provides a Fall window of high-performance matches, but there is a gap for the top 50 athletes in the Spring. That is a priority for athletes to gain additional high-performance opportunities.
International 15s & 7s
In future years, expect the women’s national team to be involved in a Summer Series, a November test series, and have some A-level matches in between.
The Women’s Eagles finished in fourth place at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland. The Women’s Eagles Sevens team is participating in the 2017-18 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series and then at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in July. At this time it is too early to assess the depth of the USA program. Athletes from both the 15s and 7s program have been utilized in international competition. That is likely to continue in the immediate future. As the talent pool develops that could be revisited, but there will be 7s players and 15s players that might benefit the other program.
Differences Women’s & Men’s Rugby
Cain stresses that when focusing on women’s rugby athletes, that they should be viewed as rugby players first and with comments about their athletic ability, a secondary consideration. When asked about the difference about coaching women’s and men’s athletes, he emphasized rugby is being coached, but there are subtle differences in the way of interacting or the language that is used.