O’Sullivan Announces Domestic Player Camp

BOULDER, Colo. – Eagles Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan has officially announced his first domestic training squad of the year, in what will be a very busy 2011 for the Men’s National Team in their buildup to the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). O’Sullivan has also added a few members to his coaching staff to best prepare the Eagles for a full list of pre-RWC fixtures.

The 35 players will assemble at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista, Calif., from Wednesday May 4 to Sunday May 8.

“This is the first and only assembly for the domestic Eagles in 2011. It is an immediate opportunity for everybody invited to push for a place at the Churchill Cup in June,” O’Sullivan said, acknowledging that many overseas players are tied-up in their professional duties for their respective clubs.

O’Sullivan also noted that some players are also unavailable for personal reasons and others are unavailable due to injury and involvement in domestic collegiate rugby.

The squad assembling at the OTC consists of 17 forwards and 18 backs. Thirteen members of the squad have represented the Eagles in the IRB Sevens World Series and 14 of the 35 players have caps for the Eagles fifteens side.

“The pool is a mix of players that we are familiar with and some new faces who have played themselves into contention in recent months. The May camp is very important as we get ever closer to RWC and possibly the final opportunity for some of the pool to stake a claim for a seat on the flight to New Zealand,” added O’Sullivan.

Read more of this post

Who’s going to be Eagles’ flyhalf?

The search for a backup flyhalf for the Eagles moves on and the search seems to have been complicated in recent weeks, according to our friend Alex Goff at Rugby Magazine.

St. Helier’s, Mt. Albert adopt USA Eagles

I know we’re not supposed to be biased, but do you know what our favorite parts of Auckland are?

That’s easy: St. Heliers and Mt. Albert.

These two business districts have adopted the USA Eagles for the Rugby World Cup.

The event was the launch of Auckland’s Adopt-a-Second-Team programme, which aims to link Auckland communities with the 19 teams coming to New Zealand to compete in Rugby World Cup 2011. The program was kicked off in the seaside village of St Helier’s – which also happens to be supporting the USA Eagles in RWC 2011 (in fact, thirty-four different local centers have signed up to take part in Adopt-a-Second-Team,

World Cup-winning former All Blacks Steve McDowell (l, with scarf) and Grant Fox, with US Consul in Auckland, Dana Deree

World Cup-winning former All Blacks Steve McDowell (l, with scarf) and Grant Fox, with US Consul in Auckland, Dana Deree

so some teams have more than one local Auckland fan base to offer them support: the suburb of Mt. Albert will also be cheering on the Eagles).

Auckland Mayor Len Brown launched the program at St Helier’s Moreton’s Bar and Restaurant on April 14.

“I want Aucklanders to get behind this initiative and really roll out the welcome mat to our international visitors,” he said in his welcome speech. “It’s fantastic that so many of our local town centers are excited about getting involved in this program and making the most of the benefits RWC 2011 will bring to Auckland.”

The program is one of a number of initiatives, including the volunteer program and heavily subscribed schools program, to ensure RWC 2011 is an event that all Aucklanders can get involved in and be proud of. The Adopt-a-Second Team program is led by Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Mainstreets, which are each allocated one of the 19 international teams.

Along with national sporting celebrities, as well as local politicians and members of the business community, U.S. Consular Chief in Auckland, Dana Deree, attended the launch. The ceremony was covered by television, radio, and print media.

Phil McKenna, U.S. Embassy

Rugby’s greatest Olympian? Dan Carroll

In the run-up to this year’s Rugby World Cup, I thought I’d share every now and then one of my favorite American rugby stories. Of course, the only proper way to start is with the legendary Daniel Carroll. By Ambassador David Huebner

Dan_Carroll_1908

Dan_Carroll_1908

As I’ve mentioned before, the United States Eagles are the two-time defending Olympic rugby gold medalists. What I haven’t mentioned, and what too few people recall these days, is that rugby’s greatest Olympian — Dan Carroll — had a hand in both of those US gold medals.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that our Australian friends claim Dan as well. He was born in Flemington, Victoria, and won a rugby gold medal for the Australasians in 1908.

When the Wallabies later went on tour in the United States, he decided to stay on in America. He settled into American life and became a naturalized US citizen. When World War I broke out, he joined the US Army as a lieutenant, winning a Distinguished Service Cross.

After the war, Carroll went to Stanford University, in my home state of California. He studied geology and coached rugby at the university.

He was selected as a playing-coach for the US Olympic team that competed in the 1920 Summer Games in Antwerp. The French were huge favorites to win the gold medal, but the United States scored an upset, 8-0, with Marcus Palmisano making the only try. Carroll played at first five-eighth. (For the rest of this amazing story, go here.

Eagles kick off “Road to World Cup” at U.N.

NEW YORK – United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and the Rugby World Cup trophy, the Webb Ellis Cup, helped the Eagles kick off their Road to the World Cup campaign at the UN Headquarters on Monday.

Ki-moon welcomed the delegates and the audience, but the audience surely wasn’t prepared for what Ki-moon had embedded in his speech; a fantastic sense of humor.

“There are a lot of similarities between rugby and diplomacy: you lose teeth and you can even lose face…Scrums are as confusing to those unfamiliar with the game, just as speeches can be in diplomacy,” said Ki-moon. Read more of this post

Kiwi student ruggers to play in U.S.

USA Rugby has announced that a New Zealand Universities rugby team will tour California during the northern hemisphere summer.

They will play a team of Collegiate Americans.

There is a long history between U.S. collegiate rugby and New Zealand. In 1910, more than a hundred years ago, a team of U.S. collegians toured Australia and New Zealand and actually beat the Auckland R.U.

1910 USA Collegiate team in New Zealand - Photo courtesy of USA Rugby

1910 USA Collegiate team in New Zealand - Photo courtesy of USA Rugby

“We are excited to be hosting a strong New Zealand Universities side that will present a tough challenge and opportunity for the All-Americans in this World Cup year,” said All-American Program Director, Matt Sherman.

“We are also looking forward to showcase the All-American team in three different American cities with strong rugby foundations.” Read more of this post

Richmond set to “Party in the USA”

The last pool game for the U.S.A. Eagles during Rugby World Cup 2011 is against Italy in Nelson on Sept. 27.

The little town of Richmond, just outside Nelson, has adopted the Eagles and will be putting on three days of parties, Sevens Rugby tournaments and Americana around the match. There will even be tailgating, translated roughly – very roughly – by The Nelson Mail as “a car boot picnic.”

About 100,000 fans tailgate before Penn State University gridiron games.

About 100,000 fans tailgate before Penn State University gridiron games.

Tailgating is particularly huge before college football – that’s university gridiron here. Whole villages spring up around the stadiums hours, sometimes days, before the kickoff. Fans set up shop with chairs, canopies, grills and games. Smoke rises from the barbecues as if from the campfires of occupying armies from the days of yore. There is music and frivolity that build up excitement for the game.

The New Zealanders are planning some traditional Kiwi events, too, according to The Mail, including duck herding and gumboot toss, more of which later. We promise

So, anyone wanting to show their support for the Eagles should head out to Jubilee Park for food, fun and games, beginning Sept. 25. There’s even talk of a block party in Richmond with burgers, baton twirlers and classic cars, according to The Mail.

Stay tuned for our plans for the big party in Nelson/Richmond. Until then, though, here’s a big shout-out to the folks in Richmond who are putting on such a great welcome to the Eagles and the USA supporters. We feel at home there already.

Adrian Pratt, U.S. Embassy

It’s a small, small world

Something weird happened during my attempt to obtain a blog entry about Eureka, California. It is Nelson’s sister city in the United States. Nelson is where the U.S.A. Eagles will be playing Italy during the Rugby World Cup on Sept. 27th.

Anyway, what happened was so weird, so wonderful – is this enough hype? – that it made the newspaper in Eureka, The Times-Standard. One of my co-workers thought that New Zealanders would appreciate this type of “It’s a small world” story.

So, you can read it here.

Adrian Pratt, U.S. Embassy

U.S. Sevens wins Adelaide Bowl

“We’ve had a couple of Shields and we said that we don’t want any more Shields. We want to walk away with points in the tournament,” said Al Caravelli.

“But more importantly, we got better as the week went on. We were trying to cut our turnovers and play a solid brand of defense, which we started to do.”

The coach also said the team is in good shape going to the last two tournaments in London and Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Eagles played themselves into a position to get Series points against Kenya in the Bowl Final and capitalized on it. Read more of this post

Eureka: a sister city Nelson can be proud of

Editor’s Note: The USA Eagles will play Italy in Nelson during the Rugby World Cup on September 27. Nelson’s sister city is Eureka, California, and we thought we’d have some experts on Eureka tell you a little bit about their place. Richard Stenger and Tony Smithers of Redwoods.info very kindly agreed to do so.

Given the distance between our worlds, one might suspect vast differences. Southern Hemisphere vs. Northern Hemisphere. Small island nation vs. a continental-wide behemoth. Yet zoom in closer, around the sister cities of Nelson, New Zealand, and Eureka, California, for example, and one finds surprising similarities.

First, both boast nearby film locations of science fiction/fantasy movies that remain popular with traveling film enthusiasts. Heard of Lord of the Rings? Just kidding. As most of the residents of Nelson know, the areas around Mt. Owen, Mt. Olympus and Tasman Bay offered great cinematic landscapes in LOTR, serving as the Dimrill Dale hillside, the rough country south of Rivendell, and Chetwood Forest, respectively.

Likewise, the Return of the Jedi, the third part of the original Star Wars trilogy, used the redwood forests near Eureka for the Endor moon scenes. As LOTR fans stream through the rural spaces of New Zealand like armies of Orcs, we too still have Star Wars fans paying homage, finding locations where stormtroopers once battled Ewoks, Luke Skywalker and friends, along the Avenue of the Giants, Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, and Redwood National Park.

Redwoods rule the forest.

Redwoods rule the forest.

Redwoods. They are our greatest superlative. Eureka, located on the coast of Northern California, is flanked by the two largest old growth redwood forests in the world, including the tallest known tree, Hyperion, more than 115 meters tall.

To put that in perspective, American-style, if you reached the top of the Statue of Liberty, you’d have to look up six more stories.

Go beyond Nelson, to the North Island, and one can sample these giants. The Whakarewarewa Forest near Rotorua, renowned for its cycling and walking trails, is often simply called “the Redwood Forest” because of its most impressive feature, a grove of tall redwoods planted a century or so ago. As we love these giant trees, we take delight in knowing that Kiwis sometimes do what we like to do, hug them.

Back to the sister cities. Our town, Eureka hugs the ocean coast along a protected bay, much as Nelson does. Both saw the first pioneers in the mid-1850s. Both today serve as hubs for ecotourism and adventure travel, are known today for their lively arts communities, and have protected many of their Victorian homes and storefronts. In fact, Eureka is known as the Victorian Seaport.

Eureka was born and raised in the timber industry, with some fishing on the side, and earned a well-deserved reputation for being a bit wild. The adventure writer Jack London came here in search of authentic tough guys on which to base his characters. People still talk about what happened in 1912 when London got into a fistfight with a local lumberman in the Oberon Saloon. Eyewitnesses said it was a draw.

Eureka's Carson Mansion

Eureka's Carson Mansion

Things are quiet nowadays, but Eureka retains many reminders of its bustling past. Magnificent houses built of enduring redwood line the orderly streets. One of them, the Carson Mansion, has been called the most photographed Victorian in America, and is truly a wooden fairytale castle.

The Old Town and Downtown district is one of Eureka’s greatest assets. These blocks of vintage commercial buildings have been lovingly restored, and now contain bookstores, restaurants, coffee houses, galleries, museums and a variety of boutiques. Eureka’s Old Town has retained its Victorian character and is a delightful place to shop, stroll and dine.

Many of Eureka’s frequent fairs and festivals take place on the streets of Old Town. Like Nelson, pedestrians and bikers find it a friendly place to navigate.

The Madaket ferry, built in 1910.

The Madaket ferry, built in 1910.

The Waterfront along Humboldt Bay is a great place to view the water. Still a working port, Eureka’s colorful fishing boats and pleasure craft motor or sail in and out of the Woodley Island Marina. Renowned as America’s Best Small Arts Town, Eureka proudly boasts of the Morris Graves Museum of Art, the anchor of Eureka’s growing Cultural Arts District.

The museum is housed in the beautifully-restored Carnegie Library building.

With its proximity to numerous attractions, Eureka offers the ideal hub from which to start Redwood Coast adventures. A broad range of accommodations from quaint B&Bs to large hotels are available, as are numerous great places to eat. If you visit California, and find too much traffic and urbanity, head north a few hours from San Francisco and you’ll find forested valleys, green pastureland and natural beaches, a land that just might resemble your home.

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