Kiwis teaching Eagles to fly
February 19, 2007
Good news for the USA Eagles, via the New Zealand Herald:
Coaching duo heading stateside
By Gregor Paul
New Zealand Herald
All Black specialist coaches Mike Cron and Mick Byrne will head to the US today to lick the Eagles into shape.
The two are being sent stateside to help to cement the blossoming relationship between the New Zealand Rugby Union and USA Rugby.
Last year NZRU executives Steve Tew and Chris Moller met officials from USA Rugby to examine ways in which New Zealand could help to promote and grow the game in North America.
The NZRU sought the meeting as it wants to grow the sport and also to assess commercial opportunities.
Cron is recognised as the pre-eminent scrum coach in the world and Byrne, having played Aussie Rules professionally, is considered one of the best kicking specialists in the business.
They will host clinics with the US national team the Eagles to help them prepare for the World Cup and they will also work with some of America's emerging coaches.
NZRU deputy chief executive Tew, said: "We have made a commitment to both the USA and Canada that we will help them grow the sport. We have made a long-term investment to both those markets.
"Last year, myself and Chris Moller met with the guys who were trying to restructure and rebuild US rugby. We have a very good relationship with both USA and Canada. Last year the Canadian development team came over and sending Mike and Mick over is part of that commitment we have made."
Tew said that, while the NZRU already had a relationship with USA Rugby, the recent appointments of former NZRU board member Kevin Roberts as chairman and former All Black selector Peter Thorburn as head coach of the Eagles had helped forge closer ties.
Former England halfback and coach of Gloucester and Wasps, Nigel Melville, has also been recently appointed as chief executive of USA Rugby and there is genuine optimism that the US could finally have the blocks in place to become a rugby superpower.
Tew said that the New Zealand Maori's annual appearance in the Churchill Cup, which features the Eagles and Canada, was helping raise the standards in North America.