NEW YORK, NY: As we focus on the second phase of the Eagles Summer, we decided to take a look back at the first phase. in Part 1 we look at the performance of the players, positions, set-pieces, open play and gameplan during the 5 game losing streak. Today, we look at the leadership of the team and also the next generation of Eagles. Lets being then, shall we.
This streak required some outside analysis, so we enlisted the help of Rugby Savants Mike Holzman, Nick Attewell and some internationals – whom prefer to remain undercover.
Off The Field
Captain: There is no doubt that Todd Clever is an American Rugby Icon, and the heart and soul of the team. However he seemed to struggle with his repertoire with the ref. Could a player like Scott LaValla be a more level headed captain? And free up, Clever to be Clever.
– Scrum coach Irishman Derek Dowling is under the microscope. However, our Welsh contact/Rugby Rain Man JB says: “Eagles just aren’t street smart in the scrum. Oh, and the tight head is a tad useless. But these are just minor tweaks. There is a reason and consequence to Eddie O’Sullivan going through so many forwards coaches. It’s cultural and there needs to be some consistency. If Dowling is given the time they will improve. If there is a fire sale every time they don’t perform they will never improve.”
–Dan Payne is the forwards coach he needs to get the unit to ball carry better and generate go forward ball. We need a foreign high level skills coach, our handling and vision falls apart in the Green Zone.
Head Coach: From a fall season full of positives to a summer of disappointment. The heat is slowing being turned up on Mike Tolkin. Lucky for him USA Rugby’s management is more calm. Plus the only man that could even be thought about as a replacement is the aforementioned Payne, so they are in the same boat. Tolkin needs to develop a Plan B and serious check his blind-spots for players like Seamus Kelly and Brian Doyle for Blaine Scully, James Paterson and etc. Also shifting LaValla to 8 and Clever to 7 would be an idea worth trying.
Overall analysis & thoughts: Stand Fast ‘Murrika, Stand Fast USA Rugby fans. This is part of a RWC cycle. We keep the coach (Just look at Alex Magleby with the 7s). We have to trust the best domestic coach we have ever produced. We need some different ideas in the forwards and no one knows that more than Tolkin. Medium term, Holzman says “we need to look at recruiting Callum Black, Dave Ryan and the like to shore up the front row.” Maybe when the RWC comes around they will think about it. Long Term, Bones Attewell says “A pro league is the only way to go.” If not, maybe it is time to bring regionals back.
Now let’s look at the performances of the AIG (College) All-Americans and (U-20) Junior All-Americans.
This group of AAs is probably the group consisting of kids playing rugby the longest that have made the AAs and fans expected better. It is not about wins but competitive losses with flashes of hope for the future. Not sure how many future eagles are coming out of this group. The have Madison Hughes on the wing instead of Fullback, JP Eloff at Outside Center!?!. In addition to no Kingsley McGowan(considered but not selected) for whatever reason. Is it a case of funding, where the kids that can afford the camps go? Wasn’t this group full of grads from the Junior World Trophy winning Jr. AAs?
As for the Jr. AAs, it must be down to funding and those that have the money to go to the camps, get selected. Also there maybe too much politics involved as 11 players made the final tryouts from Metropolis and 5 made the team. Metropolis hosted the match with the Canada U20s which we lost. Alarms should have been going off. The defense and tackling was not good enough. We weren’t gonna win but the century by England and near century by South Africa should have been 20 pts less for each game. Our fundamentals were really poor. After last year, more was expected and this year was a cleat disappointment.
We have to come up with a way to bridge the gap for our players it seems at High School and College level. The gap between where we are and our competition is very large and our kids are struggling to make the leap.
That is it for now, feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats, @ckuxmann and @Ebstide52, respectively. And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.