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.

The Eagles World Cup squad is named

Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has released his preliminary 50-man squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September.

“With the World Cup less than three months away we have put together an extended pool of players from which the final Eagles Squad of 30 players will emerge,” said O’Sullivan.

The names were submitted to the International Rugby Board as part of a requirement of Rugby World Cup planning. Each rugby union will then select their final squad of 30 players by the August 22 deadline.

O’Sullivan has had an opportunity to watch half of this squad in the recent Churchill Cup competition. Several players certainly impressed in the 32-25 victory over Russia, putting up their hands for RWC inclusion.

“The players who made the Churchill Cup Squad have the advantage of having been in camp together for the past three weeks,” said O’Sullivan, “But there are players who missed the Churchill Cup for various reasons.

With a busy July of fitness training ahead and three warm-up games in August, there will be plenty of opportunities for players to impress before we select the final RWC Squad near the end of August.”

The preliminary squad consists of 26 forwards and 24 backline players.

The Eagles will next assemble at the end of July, before taking on Canada on August 6 (BMO Field, Toronto, Canada) and August 13 (Infinity Park, Glendale, Colo.). The USA will then travel to Tokyo to play against Japan on August 21. Read more of this post

New Plymouth: A home away from home for the Eagles

An occasional series about the sights and sounds the U.S. Eagles and their fans will see during Rugby World Cup 2011.

New Plymouth, in the region of Taranaki, will be where the U.S. Eagles’ spend the largest chunk of their time in New Zealand. There, in the wonderful Yarrow Stadium that was named the third best Rugby stadium on earth, the Eagles will face Ireland, on Sept. 11, and Russia, on Sept. 15.

The stadium, to be known as Stadium Taranaki for RWC 2011, has a capacity of 25,000. On a clear day, Mt. Taranaki, the volcano that was spectacularly featured in “The Last Samurai,” looms in the distance. Snow-covered for much of the year, Mt. Taranaki is an awe-inspiring sight.

New Plymouth, perched on the western side of the North Island, has a population of a little more than 50,000, and is a friendly and picturesque town about a 4 1/2-hour drive from Wellington. The area is largely agricultural, but has a large energy sector presence built around oil and natural gas.

New Plymouth is very excited about playing host to RWC and is advanced in its preparations. The main, oceanfront, drag will be home to an International Village as well as a fan zone and some of the downtown streets will be closed off during games to allow fans more room to celebrate.

While New Plymouth is a little isolated, there is a lot to do in the town. At its heart lies Pukekura Park, the regal and peaceful botanic gardens. At more than a hundred acres, there are miles and miles of wonderful running paths and exotic plants to be seen.

There are plenty of fine restaurants and good watering holes and night life will not be a problem during the RWC. If running is your game, the Coastal Walkway along the Tasman Sea has a perfect 10k pathway. New Plymouth is also known for its Wind Wand, pictured at right. It not only gauges the strength of the wind, but has confused many a newcomer with its eerie red glow at night.

Mt. Taranaki offers a lot of outdoor recreation, from skiing and snowboarding to rock climbing and spectacular alpine walks. The main visitors’ center is just 20 minutes out of New Plymouth.

Numerous events are being planned around the U.S. presence in New Plymouth. We’ll update them on this page as they become finalized. In the meantime, if you’re going to make it over here for RWC, you most certainly will enjoy your time in New Plymouth. It’s a well-kept secret.

- Adrian Pratt, U.S. Embassy Wellington

Clever Game: Eagles With The Win

Ian Muir Photo

This was a highly anticipated game. This was the match to watch as a preview for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. USA Wins it!  32-25 win over Russia! Try Time coming from Paul Emerick, Andrew Suniula, Todd Clever, and Tai Enosa.  Man of the Match: Nese Malifa.

Clever showed up as a true captain in this match, providing key tackles and capitalizing on a missed pass by Russia for a daring try! This is was exactly the type of leadership that the Eagles were looking for. Meanwhile, Nese Malifa provided a glorious foot and supplied key passes throughout the match. Great team work from all of the boys. Cal Golden Bears Alumni in full force out on the pitch today as well: Louis Stanfill, Chris Biller, Blaine Scully. Hawley & Fry.

 The Eagles look to hold a huge psychological advantage over Russia going into the world cup, winning the last 3 matches against them including this match at The Churchill Cup.

For the full recap: Click Here!

Highlights Below:

Eagles ready for Russia

By Jarrod Beckstrom, USA Rugby

WORCESTER, England – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has made four changes to his starting team ahead of Saturday’s important clash with Russia at Sixways Stadium.

The USA v. Russia match will kick off at 7:00 a.m. ET on June 18 and will be broadcast live online at www.universalsports.com and on tape delay on Universal Sports at 12 p.m. ET. Both the USA and Russia know there is more to this match than meets the eye, as the next time these two teams will see each other will be on September 15 on the world’s biggest stage, the Rugby World Cup.

The last time these two countries faced off in June of 2010, the Eagles ran out 39-22 winners. The Eagles will, however, be without veteran fullback Chris Wyles (Saracens) and wing Taku Ngwenya (Biarritz), who both scored tries in that victory, and also Hayden Smith (Saracens), Samu Manoa (San Francisco Golden Gate) and Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie).

The Eagles will be looking for more consistency in their play, with many of the combinations tested last week having another opportunity to work together. Read more of this post

USA-Russia – prequel to the showdown

In a dress rehearsal for the highly anticipated USA-Russia Rugby World Cup game on Sept. 15, the Eagles will meet the Russian Bear in the Bowl final of the Churchill Cup on Saturday, June 18, in England.

The Russians came back ferociously against Italy A over the weekend, but lost 24-19. That meant the Russians, like the U.S., have yet to win a game in the Churchill Cup. Both teams are focusing intensely on their New Plymouth clash during the RWC, as both believe it is a contest they can win. For a game that looked innocuous to Kiwi schedulers a while back, this clash is taking on a bit of hype and should be a fiercely contested match.

The USA Eagles put a bit of a hurting on the Russians in last year’s Churchill Cup contest, winning 39-22, but the Russians have been training hard and are focusing on the RWC as a way to highlight and promote their sport back home and to the world.

Eagles wilt against Tonga

While USA Eagles kept it close in the first half – and even had the chance to go ahead before the whistle – Tonga pulled away in the second to hand the Eagles their second defeat of the Churchill Cup.

Viliami Iongi scored four tries himself and almost single handedly nailed shut the Eagles Churchill Cup coffin. Paul Emerick was the lone try scorer for the U.S.

The 44-13 loss was a disappointment, as the Eagles fielded a stronger team for this fixture.The Eagles will have one more game on Saturday – against yet-to-be-named opponents – to salvage something useful out of this tournament.

Adrian Pratt, Rugby USA

How to watch some U.S. rugby

Warm up for the Rugby World Cup by watching some of the Eagles’ up-coming tournaments. Don’t have a place to watch them in your town? Well, you can watch them online at the USA Eagles ustream channel . Can’t watch the game live? Then follow the team’s score in your cell phone at and then watch the reply of the games any time on your computer at Eagles’ Ustream channel.

Games to look forward:

- USA College Rugby championship during the June 4-5 weekend
Is your school playing? E-mail us at Usrugby.nz@gmail.com with your game traditions, where you are watching the game and how you are planning to celebrate.

- USA vs. England Saxons (Churchill Cup) in England, Saturday June 4th. This is their first Churchill Cup match and is a big game for the USA Eagles; Cheer for USA, USA!

By Cynthia Apfelbaum, Rugby USA

A USA Eagle from Samoa

Junior Sifa

Junior Sifa

We got an exclusive interview with Junior Sifa, USA Eagles’ Centre, who has come a long way from his college rugby days. Getting ready to play for the national team at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this year – Cynthia Apfelbaum, Rugby USA

Bio Sheet:
Full name:
Junior Lotomau Sifa.

Born: 24 March 1983 (28 years old) in American Samoa. Moved to New Zealand at age 8.

Current residence: Nottingham, UK.

Education: Auckland University, New Zealand (2002-2005).

Rugby position: Centre.

Current clubs: Nottingham Rugby R.F.C in Nottingham, England (2010-Present), USA Eagles (2008-Present).

Rugby has a reputation of being a [dangerous] full-contact sport. What rugby-related injuries have you had? I have broken my fibula and tibia in the right leg that kept me from playing rugby for 2 years when I was 13. I have also broken my little finger in my left hand, torn the ligaments in my right thumb, fractured my right cheek bone, and broken my right side of my jaw.

Which one was the worst? Breaking my jaw was probably the worst, as it had to be wired shut for 7 weeks, which meant I could not eat anything apart from shakes and soup.

What are the pros and cons of rugby, not only as a professional rugby player? Getting injured is always one of the cons, but there are many pros: the friends that you make and traveling the world doing what you love to do is awesome.

You transferred from Midleton in Ireland to Nottingham in England. How are you getting used to the change of club and country? I have enjoyed my time here in Nottingham. It is my first time in a full time professional environment, so enjoying training most days of the week.

Full time professional and playing for a national team, you have achieved a lot in the last couple of years. If you weren’t playing rugby for a living, what would be your other dream job? Not too sure, but probably something outdoors; would not like to be inside an office. Read more of this post