While the Buffalo women hit the pitch at the Winterfest 7s tournament in the snow this weekend, our Florida and Louisiana Stars saw time on the 15s pitch as a part of Fort Lauderdale's Ruggerfest. Both FAU and FIU played with and against Ft Miami women, while coach Eyal stepped in as a flyhalf and outside center with The Willing touring side. Star Jessica saw action in the Mardi Gras tournament in NOLA too. We'll have plenty of Eyal's photos to share and reports from players later this week!
In the meantime, the USA Men's 15s side held a four day domestic player camp at Life University just outside Atlanta, in Marietta, GA. Life is one of the top overall programs in the country offering rugby scholarships to undergraduate men and women as well as fielding men's post-collegiate D1 and an Elite Cup/Super League side. The chiropractic school also offers psychology, business, and nutrition degrees amongst others; and it boasts one of the most beautiful training facilities and playing grounds I have seen in North America. With a coaching staff with former Eagles flanker and Men's 15s coach Dan Payne as the Director of Rugby and the talented Rosalind Chou guiding the new women's team.
I followed the game via Life's Twitter feed. Early on it seemed they were in clear control of the match as they jumped out to a first half lead. The 2nd half was a different story as the Eagles found their stride and dotted down several tries. It is worth noting that Eagles standouts like Todd Clever, Samu Manoa, Cam Dolan, Chris Wyles, Scott LaValla, Toby L'Estrange and Blaine Scully were absent from the scrimmage due to their professional contracts abroad.
Rugby Magainze put together a gallery of the camp here and This is American Rugby put together a recap of the match:
Eagles Close Out Camp With Scrimmage Win Over Life
The Eagles closed out their domestic camp with a 43-20 win over Life earlier today. Head coach Mike Tolkin used the opportunity to not only give new players a chance to show what they have in a game environment but also to give players that haven't played much rugby since last November the chance to get their legs under them once again. For Life it was an opportunity to play a solid opponent prior to the start of their spring season.
Life were the aggressive team early on and even took a lead into the break. AJ MacGinty scored first for Life before Danny Barrett leveled to make it 7-7 12 minutes in. As expected due to rust and being a makeshift side the Eagles committed a number of penalties. MacGinty was quick to convert those chances making it 13-7 at halftime.
In the second half the Eagles turned it on and scored a number of tries. The first of those tries came just 10 minutes into the half followed by a Tim Maupin try a few minutes later to make it 24-13. The Eagles would then run in two more tries to put the score at 36-13 with ten minutes left. Both teams then traded tries to end the match to make the final 43-20.
The Eagles will next assemble in March ahead of their World Cup qualifying series against Uruguay. That assembly will also be in Atlanta, which will host the return leg of that series. It is expected that they will once again scrimmage but this time the South Panthers. The next camp will primarily be domestic players once again at the start with the same goal of getting them matches. Overseas based players will join them after their club's matches. Although only 26-30 players will be called on for the World Cup qualifiers and many of those players are already set, Tolkin is keeping his eye on this summer when the Eagles will have three matches as well as next fall's Americas Rugby Championship.
Another brief write-up from Rugby Magazine:
USA and Life Players Enjoy Big Game
|National Teams - USA Men|
The USA domestic players faced off with Life University this past weekend to cap off the USA domestic camp.
Forty-seven players took part in the scrimmage, and here's a photo of all of them. It's interesting to note, that the Life team was no team of patsies. At least ten of the Life players have been in the USA system either in age-grade, All Americans, USA Selects, or full Eagles. Others are very close to gaining that status.
Here's the post-game photo.