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Matt "Polar Bear" Hawkins

Team USA Eagle 7s Captain Matthew “Polar Bear” Hawkins, despite being a husband & daddy and coaching SDSU, takes the Thursday slot on RWU.
SAN DIEGO, CA – The Eagles wrapped up their Rugby World Cup campaign this week and most of the players have returned home to The States to regular life, which is by no means easy. The magnitude of an event like the Rugby World Cup, Soccer World Cup and the Olympics is really hard to grasp, and for an athlete who is actually part of this spectacle – and the main attraction at that – it is sometimes hard to face normal life again.

For the USA Eagles, there were definitely some ups and downs. I think for the spectators who have traveled to New Zealand to watch their beloved Eagles, they would have been treated to an absolute spectacle and loved every minute of it. The Eagles’ results would have definitely played a part in this, but overall it was a great experience.

For those of us at home here in the USA, setting our alarms to watch the games in the early hours in the morning, the feeling is a little different and the results definitely played more of a role. On the Rugby World Cup official site,, you can find all sorts of information and great media. I dug through a few things and have provided one stat from both the 2007 & 2011 tournaments.

2007 Match averages (15th Overall ahead of Canada/Georgia/Romania/Portugal/Namibia)
MT       4
PTS    15.3
TRS    1.8
CON   1.0
PEN   1.5
DG      0.0
YC      1.0
2011 Match averages (Last Overall)
MT       4
PTS     9.5
TRS    1.0
CON    0.8
PEN    1.0
DG       0.0
YC       0.5

MT = Matches, PTS = Points, TRS = Tries, CON = Conversions, PEN = Penalties, DG = Drop Goal, YC = Yellow Card

So what do we take away from these stats? Well, I think the biggest questions we have to ask ourselves are: Did we have the right build up? Have we stalled in our progress or are other countries getting more organized and progressing faster than us?

I’ll leave you to give your opinions and weigh up what you believe we as the USA Eagles 15’s program need to do to take the next step.

For now, all I can say is,  Welcome home Eagles, you definitely played with great heart and courage and you can definitely walk with your heads held high. Now all we need to do is find a way to put you guys in a better position to succeed moving forward.

Cheers… Phaidra Knight, tomorrow.

About Matt Hawkins 26 Articles
Matt Hawkins is the current Player/Coach of the USA Eagles 7s team. He is affectionately known as "The Polar Bear" because of his light blond hair and eyebrows. Plus, he likes grabbing salmon from Alaskan rivers.