Team USA Eagle 7s star, Matthew “Polar Bear” Hawkins, who is also now working with Serevi, contributes weekly every Thursday on Rugby Wrap Up – technology permitting.
HONG KONG – Well it’s been a busy few weeks in the USA with the appointment of a new 15s head coach, which had a lengthy process to it. A couple days later the national 7s head coach stepped down – and a few days after that a new interim coach was revealed. Is this the start of a new era for USA Rugby?
When you look at the 15s position, it’s the first time in a while that USA Rugby has gone with a coach that is home-grown, and that is a really huge step that could lead to an exciting change in how the fan base perceives the invasion of foreigners within USA Rugby. Mike Tolkin has been apart of some very successful programs, but this will be his most massive test. There is a big summer ahead that will give him his first opportunity to show the public who he believes would work best with him on his coaching staff, and who he feels are the next group of players to take USA Rugby post-RWC (Rugby World Cup), forward in to the future.
On the other hand, the 7s program is in a slightly different situation. The program was rocked by the shocking move of previous head coach Al Caravelli stepping down and put things in to limbo. The ship was put back on course by the appointment of Alex Magleby. Alex has played for Team USA and has been involved with a very successful Dartmouth program. He brings a very different approach to coaching, and the way he views team dynamics are a stark contrast to the program before. I have been lucky enough to chat with some of the guys down at Chula Vista and they are very upbeat and positive. Unlike the 15s program, Alex and the team has a very quick turn around for the Asian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. Both the team and the coaching staff have a lot of pressure on them, but I am hoping they rally and the USA fan base supports them fully. They deserve that much and I for one just want to see the program succeed.
The next few months are you g to be a roller coaster for sure, but we’ll have an opportunity at the end of summer to look back and reflect and hopefully discuss a lot more positives than negatives.