USA Collegians getting ready for Round Two vs. Kiwis

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – After defeating the New Zealand Universities 60-17 in the first of a three-match series last Saturday, the Men’s Collegiate All-Americans are set for the second encounter.  The game kicks off at Harder Stadium on the campus of the University of California – Santa Barbara at 6:30 p.m. PT, July 13 (TODAY 1:30pm New Zealand time).  The game will be webcast live below through the  USA Rugby’s UStream channel.

All-Americans Head Coach, Alexander Magleby has made numerous changes to the forward pack, replacing entirely the front and second rows from the first game.  Derek Asbun (University of California – Berkeley) moves from the flank to eight man and Garrett Lambert (Life University) will start at openside flanker.  Lambert’s Life teammate and USA international, Cam Dolan, will look to make an impact on the blindside.

The backline has fewer changes with Peter Tiberio (University of Arizona), following a three-try performance in the series opener, sliding to fullback in place of Blaine Scully (University of California – Berkeley).  Life University’s Kyle Grossheider will start on the wing.

Magleby was pleased with the team’s performance on Saturday, but knows that the All-Americans can’t afford to sit on their laurels in the second match. Read more of this post

Video: A haka, interviews with Kiwi and All American players

Our very own Kyle Jones shot great video of the New Zealand Universities haka - a traditional Maori war dance - before their game against the All American Collegiate team. The haka, most famously performed by New Zealand’s feared All Blacks, is performed before big games. He stuck around for the game, which the U.S. won 60-17, and interviewed some of the participants in this three-game series in California. The next game will be played Wednesday, July 13.

All Americans beat the Kiwis

Photo Credit: Dallen Stanford

By Kyle Jones, Embassy Wellington

The All American Collegiate team opened their three-match series against New Zealand Universities with a 60-17 win on Saturday.

The first game, in sunny San Diego, was a contest of physicality and thrilling athleticism.

The game started with what looked to be an overpowering offense by New Zealand, getting within inches of a try in their opening drive. Instead, they turned the ball over at the crucial moment.

The All Americans quickly scored. Thriving on compounded mistakes of dropped passes and miscommunication by New Zealand, the All Americans seemed to run away with it at the half. The big question would be whether or not they could maintain their large lead as the game began to become more physical after the half. New Zealand were clearly frustrated, culminating in a yellow card. New Zealand would continue to  show flashes of brilliance late in the half, with a few scores of their own - but it was too little too late for this match.  New Zealand was caught slightly off guard by the conditions and the sheer quality of their opponent. Both teams look to improve on their games for the upcoming match on Wednesday in Santa Barbara.

Photo Credit: Dallen Stanford

Cohesiveness and team work seemed to be a huge issue for New Zealand while the All Americans fired on all cylinders.  Their offloads seemed to find the right hands on every pass and the team communicated flawlessly through out the match.  Keep in mind both teams have had only one weeks time together before this match.  New Zealand’s roster consists of a U-21 squad from various universities within New Zealand, none of which have played together as a whole until last weekend. The All American squad being a bit older yet fielding players from universities all across the United States that in most cases playing against each other not with each other.  Both teams are looking to build on team work and just getting to know one another in preparation for their next match on wednesday .  Click here, for Blaine Scully’s thoughts on how the training camp with the Navy SEALS helped bring his team together as a unit.

Photo Credit: Kyle Jones

There were quite a few people in attendance for this match, showing support for each side. One of those being Todd Clever, USA Eagles captain, and he had this to say about the result: “It was a great showing for the All Americans today. They defended with a lot of passion and pride. They put together some great phases of rugby and scored some fantastic tries. I am very proud of the guys and hope they continue to improve for the next two games”

We also caught up with players from both sides for some post-game interviews and analysis. Look for those here soon.

Read more of this post

Men’s Collegiate All-Americans Vs. New Zealand Universities Match #1

*Exclusive*

Twitter: @usrugbynz for live game updates starting at 3pm PST

MEN’S ALL-AMERICANS NAMED FOR SERIES OPENER AGAINST NEW ZEALAND UNIVERSITIES

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The 22 Men’s Collegiate All-Americans set to suit up against the New Zealand Universities Touring side on Saturday have been named.  The game will kick off on Saturday July 9, 2011 at 3 p.m. at The Little Q, the home of Old Mission Bay Athletic Club (OMBAC).

The All-Americans have been in camp this week at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. to prepare for the Series.

In addition to rugby-specific skill work and training, the All-Americans visited a Navy training center in the area and took part in a workout used by the elite operations force, the Navy SEALS.

The All-Americans will play two more matches after Saturday’s fixture.  The last two matches will take place on July 13 at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara, Calif. and Steuber Rugby Stadium in Stanford on July 16.

Read more of this post

Nelson: Home to U.S.-Italy game, and a mighty fine place

By Shauna Mendez, Embassy Wellington

Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Mauiis the Māori name for the top of the South Island. Legend tells us that Te Tau Ihu was the prow of Maui’s waka, or canoe, from which he fished up the North Island. 

The city of Nelson is close to the centre of New Zealand. It lies at the shore of Tasman Bay, at the northern end of the South Island, and is the administrative center of the Nelson region.  

 The Nelson-Tasman region may well be one of the most diverse tourist destinations in New Zealand.  Nelson is the gateway to three National Parks, including Abel Tasman – the country’s only coastal National Park, surrounded by mountains and known for year-round sun and golden beaches, the region boasts a vibrant arts and culture community and some of the best wineries in NZ. 

 

But most importantly – Nelson is the birthplace of rugby in New Zealand – that’s right, over 140 years ago in May 1870, the first game using recognized rugby rules was played in Nelson between the Nelson Rugby Football Club and Nelson College.  The historic event is attributed to the efforts of Charles Monro, the father of NZ rugby, who was from Nelson.

 

So it’s only fitting that Trafalgar Park will be hosting a number of games during the Rugby World Cup in 2011, including USA vs. Italy on 27 September.

Originally known as The Mudflat Recreation Ground, Trafalgar Park was built in the 1880’s on eight acres of reclaimed land by the Nelson Athletic Ground Company. The park has undergone some upgrades in the past year and will be able to house 18,000 spectators for its RWC games this yearLocated just a five minute walk from the Nelson CBD, Trafalgar Park is the most accessible RWC venues in the country.

There are already lots of great activities and events being planned in Nelson and surrounding towns around the RWC.  The one that we think sounds the most exciting is The Richmond Festival, which will be a red, white, and blue extravaganza of food, drinks, contests, and activities with a USA theme.  

Richmond is the largest urban settlement in the Tasman District, only 15km south of Nelson. Its fast growing population is attracted by the surrounding natural beauty and vibrant feel of the town.

The town of Richmond has elected to ‘adopt’ the USA Eagles as their team to root for and this festival promises to bring the perfect mix of Americana and Kiwiana in the run-up to the game on the 27 of September.  Check out the website for all the details and to see how you can get involved.  The Richmond Festival will be featured on NZ’s Breakfast morning show on 11 July 2011.

For other American-themed fun in the Nelson/Richmond area check out the Nelson USA club and the Golden Bear Brewery.

For more info on all the festivities happening in the region around the Rugby Worlds Cup, have look at some of these useful websites.  You can also sign up on facebook to join the USA RWC 2011 Supporters Group  and get some USA Eagles gear from USA rugby direct.

 Nelson City Council RWC website: http://www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz/rugby-world-cup-2011-nelson/

Festivals: http://www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz/festival/

Sports & Heritage events:  http://www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz/sport-heritage/

Men’s Collegiate squad to face NZ team announced

BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby has announced the 2011 Men’s Collegiate All-Americans Touring Squad.  The team consists of the top men’s collegiate rugby players in the country and will face the New Zealand Universities team.  The 30-man squad has players from the roughly 22,000 men’s collegiate rugby players in the country.

The matches against the New Zealand Universities are to be held in San Diego (July 9), Santa Barbara (July 13) and Stanford (July 16).

“The players we selected for the Touring Squad are athletic and experienced.  There are some exciting players who earned their spot in this squad through their outstanding play this season and will get to experience in an Olympic training environment, take on the challenge of representing their country against a formidable international opponent, and have the opportunity to put their hand up for future selection into the senior national teams,” said All-Americans head coach, Alex Magleby.

The coach also noted that many of the players at this camp will be Olympic hopefuls for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Read more of this post

Happy Independence Day

All of us at the U.S. Embassy in Wellington wish all of you USA Eagles Rugby fans a very special Fourth of July.

Feast with the Eagles – a competition

Feast with the Eagles.

As most of you are aware, there’s a small Rugby tournament coming to New Zealand later this year. It is the Rugby World Cup 2011 and will be by far the largest event this country has ever hosted.

The USA Eagles have qualified for the tournament and will be in New Plymouth, Wellington and Nelson. The team will be in Wellington before their big game against Australia on Sept. 23.

The U.S. Ambassador, David Huebner, has invited the team for dinner – and two of our lucky readers will be able to join them for what is sure to be a tremendous evening.

To see who gets to join the ambassador and the Eagles, we’re running a small competition. All you have to do is come up with a winning caption to our photo, by clicking here and then wait. We’ll announce the winner(s) on July 30. The only requirement, obviously, is that you are in or can bring yourself to Wellington on Sept. 21.

So, be creative and get writing. There are no limits to the amount of entries you submit. Just make them good and keep them clean.

Stanford talks RWC, Planking, website

Our Kyle Jones sits down with Dallen Stanford, the RWC Media Manager for the USA Eagles, to have a little catch-up about recent games and to look forward to Rugby World Cup 2011.

For Napier Boys, a trip of a lifetime to U.S.

Napier Boys High School

Napier Boys High School

Last year, Napier Boys High School embarked on a 3-week Rugby tour of North America. Part of that tour included travelling to Northern California and playing High School, Club U20 and Academy- age group U20 teams. Their coach, Billy TeHiko, tells us their stories.

Here’s a Kiwi’s view of the Americans we met and the rugby teams we played against.  First, by way of introduction, my name is Billy Te Hiko, a volunteer parent coach who fell into coaching 15 years ago.

Napier Boys High School is a public school with boarding facilities in Napier, a city in the Province of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand and was established in 1872. Napier is famous for its vineyards and art deco buildings,  which rose from the ashes during the re-build after the 1931 Napier earthquake. It has a school roll of 1,200 boys, of which 600 play rugby. 

This trip involved 30 players (ages 15-17) from throughout the playing grades of the school and 11 support staff and parents.

We came to America from Vancouver. After checking into our hotel, we arrived at Stanford University very late for our first U.S. game, looking for clues as to where we might be playing. After 10 minutes of driving around campus, one of the boys said, “Just look for the rugby posts.”  We looked at each other and laughed and promptly found the ground. We decided that that boy was going to go far. We told him he’d get an extra sip of water at halftime for his initiative. Sometimes adults over-complicate the simplest things.

The Napier boys went through their warm-up on the Stanford field.It’s like billiard table to play on. We’re already envious.  With the warm-up completed the captains did the coin toss and the boys moved to halfway to do our school Haka.

East Palo Alto and Napier Boys

East Palo Alto and Napier Boys

Having issued the challenge through our Haka to the opposition, the Napier boys looked a bit perplexed when they saw the opposition was made up entirely of Samoan and Tongan players whose families have immigrated to the USA and have a strong community presence in East Palo Alto. One of the Napier supporters said, “This is just like home.” Read more of this post