Team USA named for Pan-Am Games’ sevens

By USA Rugby -  The 12-man rugby sevens squad heading to Guadalajara, Mexico will be engrained with a mantra that will help it maintain focus in the quadrennial tournament: ‘Play in the moment.’

“Playing in the moment helps every athlete and staff member focus on the task at hand. Not to get distracted by the environment, from peripheral things we don’t have control over,” said USA Head Coach, Al Caravelli. “If we take care of the little things the big things take care of themselves.”

That mentality will be put into practice on the field on October 29 when the team will see Brazil, Chile, and rivals Canada in pool play. Their record from the first day will determine which teams they will face in the playoffs on October 30. The other pool consists of Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, and Guyana.

Caravelli continued to say that the Pan-Am environment itself can be distracting, but the players must maintain focus. As part of United States Olympic Committee and the guild of athletes and sports under the Team USA moniker, the USA Men’s Eagle Sevens team will compete in its first Olympic-style rugby sevens tournament. The Pan Am Games take place every four years and will serve as an Americas preview of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“You can imagine that in a multisport event with over 2,000 athletes, we have to be prepared for anything and everything to be thrown at us. On the field of play, we will not take anyone lightly. Every game we play, we’ll have the attitude that it is a final, the players have embraced this and are executing.”

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Eagles team for Italy named

 

USA Eagles arrive in Nelson

USA Eagles arrive in Nelson

 

USA Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has named his best possible team to face Italy at Trafalgar Park in Nelson for the Eagles’ final match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). A win for the USA would mean automatic qualification for the 2015 RWC.

The match will be broadcast LIVE on Universal Sports at 2:30 a.m EDT (re-aired at 8 p.m EDT), and then will be shown delayed online 24 hours after the game. View the complete viewing schedule at UniversalSports.com.

 In Pool C, Australia (3rd in world rankings) and Ireland (6th in world rankings) are on course for the RWC quarterfinals, with only two teams from each of the four pools advancing. The USA are currently ranked 17th and Italy are 10th in the world. The Italians have made tremendous strides in rugby since joining the Six Nations competition in 2000. Earlier this year Italy defeated France 22-21.

 “We are very excited for this final pool match, and have several players fresh for the encounter. We have a very short turn-around following the Australia match in Wellington, and have planned accordingly,” said O’Sullivan. 

The Eagles have impressed at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, starting with an inspired performance against Ireland on September 11. Despite losing 22-10, the Eagles won thousands of fans for a brave effort, scoring near full time through Paul Emerick. During that match, prop Mike MacDonald became the most capped USA player of all time with 63 appearances. 

In the next pool match four days later, the USA defeated Russia 13-6 to record an historic win in the RWC. It was a bruising battle in which the Russians defended tremendously to keep the score line that close. 

This past weekend fourteen changes were made to the team that won against Russia, as they faced Australia, winners of the RWC in 1991 and 1999. JJ Gagiano’s try against the Wallabies was one of the moments of the match at a packed Wellington Regional Stadium, with the majority of fans screaming wildly for the Eagles. Famous New Zealand commentator Murray Mexted said, “I’ve been to hundreds of matches in Wellington, and this is the loudest I have ever heard the crowd.” 

Off the field, the USA squad has been heavily involved with the local communities in the various cities. This afternoon some of the players will attend the Tasman 7s, featuring 600 youth rugby players from many local regions. Tomorrow the Eagles will be at the Richmond Parade, meeting the Mayor as well as the US Ambassador to New Zealand, David Huebner.

 On the field, Todd Clever returns to lead his country as captain. The flanker has been vital for the United States, devastating with both ball in hand and on defense. Louis Stanfill is the blindside flank with Nic Johnson at eight man, both possessing an outstanding work rate. Read more of this post

Eagles Excited For Australia

From USARUGBY.ORG

BOULDER, Colo. – Eddie O’Sullivan has named a new-look Eagles team to face Australia in their third pool match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). The USA Head Coach has made several changes for the 8.30 p.m clash on Friday at the Wellington Regional Stadium. The match will be LIVE on Universal Sports at 4.30 a.m ET and re-aired at 8 p.m ET. View the complete broadcast schedule at UniversalSports.com. (Photo Credit: USA Rugby)

“We have had a number of changes to the team, as we want to get fresh legs on the field after our first two performances. We also have Italy four days after Australia and we need to keep some players ready for that game,” commented O’Sullivan.

Eagles training.

Eagles training.

Despite the pool stages of the RWC being played over one month, the major talking point has been the shortened turn-around times for tier 2 nations like the United States. The squad has put in a tremendous amount of work, and several players have been rewarded with starts against Australia.

The Wallabies – currently ranked 3rd in the world – won the 2011 Tri Nations competition over New Zealand and South Africa. During the RWC they defeated Italy 32-6, but lost 15-6 against Ireland in one of the upsets of the tournament.

“The team is really looking forward to meeting the challenge of playing the Wallabies head on. It’s a great opportunity for those starting their first RWC test to pitch themselves against one of the best teams in the world and make a case for selection in the final pool game against Italy.” said O’Sullivan.

Eagles Training.

Eagles Training.

The Eagles have been based in Wellington since Monday, and will attend a function with the US Ambassador along with several hundred supporters later this evening.

The team to face Australia will be lead by livewire scrumhalf, Tim Usasz, who goes head-to-head with Australian captain Will Genia. Nese Malifa gains a start in the accustomed number 10 jersey, with the center pairing consisting of Junior Sifa and Tai Enosa. Kevin Swiryn and Colin Hawley return to the wings while Blaine Scully starts at fullback.

Shawn Pittman and Phil Thiel are back in the front row after playing the first RWC match against Ireland. Eric Fry is at tighthead prop making his RWC debut. The experienced Hayden Smith will partner Scott LaValla in the locks. The loose trio, who will be looking to hault the side-stepping Wallaby Quade Cooper, are Inaki Basauri, Pat Danahy and JJ Gagiano.

The forward reserves are Brian McClenahan (hooker), Mate Moeakiola (prop) together with Louis Stanfill and Nic Johnson who can cover lock and the loose forward positions. Mike Petri (scrumhalf), Roland Suniula (flyhalf, center) and Chris Wyles (fullback) are the backline replacements.

The Eagles will travel to Nelson on Saturday, and take on Italy on September 27 for the final Pool C match.

Several thousand fans are expected to cheer on the Eagles on Friday evening at the Wellington Regional Stadium with the team receiving wonderful support throughout the RWC.

USA EAGLES

15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)

14 Colin Hawley (Olympic Club)

13 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)

12 Junior Sifa (Nottingham RFC)

11 Kevin Swiryn (Agen)

10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)

9 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC) *Captain

1 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)

2 Phil Thiel (Life University)

3 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)

4 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais)

5 Hayden Smith (Saracens)

6 Inaki Basauri (Perigueux)

7 Pat Danahy (Life University)

8 JJ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town)

Reserves:

16 Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club)

17 Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny 93)

18 Louis Stanfill (NYAC)

19 Nic Johnson (Unattached)

20 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club)

21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)

22 Chris Wyles (Saracens)

AUSTRALIA

15 Kurtley Beale

14 Adam Ashley-Cooper

13 Anthony Fainga’a

12 Robert Horne

11 Drew Mitchell

10 Quade Cooper

9 Will Genia *Captain

1 James Slipper

2 Tatafu Polota-Nau

3 Ben Alexander

4 Rob Simmons

5 Nathan Sharpe

6 Rocky Elsom

7 Ben McCalman

8 Wycliff Palu

Reserves:

16 Stephen Moore

17 Sekope Kepu

18 Dan Vickerman

19 Radike Samo

20 Luke Burgess

21 Berrick Barnes

22 Pat McCabe

RWC 2011 SCHEDULE | NEW ZEALAND

September 23, 2011: USA vs. Australia (Wellington) 20.30

September 27, 2011: USA vs. Italy (Nelson) 19.30

RWC 2011 RESULTS | NEW ZEALAND

September 11, 2011: USA 10 Ireland 22 (Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth)

September 15, 2011: USA 13 Russia 6 (Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth)

Further Information:

Dallen Stanford | USA Eagles Rugby World Cup Media Manager | USA Rugby | dstanford@usarugby.org | 512-565-5737

Follow USA Rugby on Facebook and Twitter (@usaeaglesrugby)

Eagles, Aussies arrive in Wellington

The players have arrived in Wellington for the Friday, Sept. 23, clash between the USA Eagles and the Australian Wallabies.

Australian Captain James Horwell

Australian Captain James Horwell

The Eagles arrived on Monday for four days of training and a couple of public events. The Wallabies starred in a fancy reception at the Australian High Commission on Monday, at which Captain James Horwill referred to his team’s Saturday loss to the Irish as a “speed bump.” The Australians seemed a little shell-shocked and quiet. If they are to salvage their hopes of winning the World Cup, they will have to focus intensely on their next two games, against the Eagles and the Russian Bears.

The Eagles’ victory over Russia puts them third in the standings of their five-team pool, because Australia earned a bonus point in their win over Italy. Only the top two teams advance to the quarter-finals. The U.S. team has been playing hard and playing beyond themselves, and will have to continue to unleash their speed and crunching tackles in their next two games, against Australia and Italy.

In other words, it’s setting up to be a fiery contest in Wellington – a must-win for both teams. The Eagles, buoyed by their hard-hitting performances to date, must be sniffing the possibility of an upset against the Number 2 team in the world. The Aussies’ renowned sense of confidence has clearly taken a beating.

Roll on Friday.

- Rugby USA

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