Thursday, April 05, 2007

USA Eagles announce RWC prep program

January 3, 2007

USA Rugby news release, excerpt:


BOULDER, Colo. - USA Men’s National Team Head Coach Peter Thorburn has officially announced the program that will be used leading up to the 2007 IRB Rugby World Cup in France. ...

Between the three World Cup camps, the Churchill Cup, the NA4, and the games Thorburn has scheduled for late August, the U.S. has the opportunity to really focus on coming together as a team and to get the selected players to truly perform to their potential once the World Cup begins.

The first Rugby World Cup training camp is being held Feb. 18-24 in San Diego. With 60 players, 10 staff and specialty coaches being brought in to focus on a range of rugby specific components of the game. From the scrum to lineouts and kicking skills to ball retention, Coach Thorburn is really looking to fine tune the U.S. squad’s skills with as much technical training as possible. ...

The 50 players that Thorburn has officially invited to this first camp include Mark Aylor, Brian Barnard, Patrick Bell, Aaron Beuhring, Will Brazier, Blake Burdette, Adam Casias, Todd Clever, Mark Crick, Philip Eloff, Chad Erskine, Vahafolau Esikia, Michael French, Jason Guerts, Riaan Hamilton, Elwood Hullinger, Scott Jones, Kimball Kjar, Danny LaPrevotte, Brian Lemay, Jason Lett, Andrew Locke, Mike Mangan, Dominic Mara, Travis Meidinger, Hayden Mexted, Matekitonga Moeakiola, Kevin Mongold, Christopher Moreno, Tasi Mounga, Jone Naqica, Andrew Osborne, Chris Osentowski, Alec Parker, Dan Payne, Rikus Pretorius, Latu Puloka, Patrick Quinn, Nathan Rogers, Ronald Rosser, Douglas Rowe, Andrew Ryland, Jake Stanfill, Louis Stanfill, Albert Tuipolotu, John Vander Geissen, Francois Viljoen, John Vitale, Ben Weidmer, and David Williams. The remaining ten players and the specialty coaches have yet to be confirmed.

After this first camp, the World Cup program will take a five week break as the vital Rugby Super League’s season gets underway. Thorburn will, however, be attending games every weekend, as well as all opportunities for himself and his staff to look at the Division I, II and III club players.

Then in early April, the U.S. elite will convene in San Diego once again for the first North American 4 assembly and match, which features the U.S. Hawks versus the U.S. Falcons. The U.S. has another four week break and then the NA 4 competition resumes during the second week in May in Seattle. From Seattle the Churchill Cup Squad departs for England.

“The NA 4 was developed by the IRB global strategic investment program, which involves a considerable number of high performance, tournament and infrastructure initiatives that were designed to increase the competitiveness of international rugby. The positioning of the IRB NA 4 alongside the Churchill Cup, which starts on May 13, along with some pre-World Cup matches ensures that the U.S. public will have unprecedented exposure to international rugby this year,” Thorburn said. ...

After the Churchill Cup squad returns from England, the men’s team will again get a two week break from camps to spend some valued time with family, friends and employers. Then in late June, the third and final NA4 matches will take place in Vancouver. Just two weeks later, in mid-July, the second World Cup Camp will take place in Aspen, with 36 players, plus some specialty coaches on hand. Finally, there is a three week gap, so that Thorburn and his staff can select the final 30 players for the World Cup and then they have one last assembly on Aug. 22, in Muscatine, Iowa.

In this period, revision of all the work carried through these build-up programs will be come to fruition. And the team members’ immediate family will be invited to attend this camp in recognition of their commitment and perseverance during the 16 weeks that the players will be away from home between mid-February and the World Cup.

At the latter part of this assembly, the Eagles will play two matches against two strong teams that have yet to be selected from four or five options in the pipeline. These games will most likely be played in the north eastern region prior to departure for France on Sept. 1-2.

The U.S. starts its World Cup action on Sept. 8 against England in Lens, France. Only four days later, the U.S. has another pool-play competitor to challenge, although that competitor has yet to be determined, and then it gets a good 14 days to recoup. On Sept. 26, the USA will meet Western Samoa in St. Ettienne, and will round out the pool play action in Montpellier against South Africa on Sunday Sept. 30.

“We will play two really tough international sides and two very good, physical sides at this World Cup,” Thorburn said. “We will remain the underdogs going into it, which I think is a good thing.

“The program we have been allowed to put together by USA Rugby will be as good a preparation as any non-professional team at world cup will have. If we show the expected improvements, and we shall, then our performances will be our judgment. Performances at the top end of our potential will give positive results that are essential for the sports movement forward in America.”

For full details, including Thorburn's extended comments, click here.


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