Former Las Vegas star and capped Eagle Seta Tuilevuka is looking forward to getting back on the field for Montpellier in the French Top 14 in a couple of weeks.
The center has been struggling to come back from a groin injury that has been – as most groin injuries are – slow to heal.
“It’s been very frustrating,” Tuilevuka told RUGBYMag.com. “But now I’ve been able to train with the team and that’s been better.”
Tuilevuka played one match for Montpellier’s Espoires side, and played well, and now just needs to strength his legs to get time with the 1st 15.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time working on upper-body strength and putting on weight,” he said. “Now when I train I spend about 30 minutes stretching out to make sure everything is relaxed. Hopefully in about two weeks I will be able to play. The coaches are happy with me, and I have been doing a lot of film analysis and we really want to play soon.”
Tuilevuka was capped by the USA against Portugal about a year ago, but didn’t play his best. At the time he felt he didn’t fit into the USA pattern. But now he has a different outlook.
“Things were still new to me as far as being a professional player,” Tuilevuka said. “I was still learning about adjusting to different things. Being a professional player has opened up my mind to adjusting to different ways of playing. My coach has told me how sometimes things don’t adjust to you, you adjust to them. So I’ve been working on that, and if the USA wants me to play I’ll be more than willing to play.”
But the first order of business is getting back on the field. Montpellier is in the middle of the pack in the Top 14, and cold use Tuilevuka’s attacking flair to move up. On December 23 they take on Toulouse, and Tuilevuka is hoping to be in the squad for that match, and if not that one, then a week later against Racing Metro.
LONDON - Derek Asbun started and Jason Law joined the fray as a reserve for Oxford University Thursday at Twickenham as the 2011 California co-captains became the fourth and fifth former Golden Bears to earn a Varsity Blue and Oxford defeated Cambridge, 28-10, in their 130th meeting.
"It was an all-around team effort," said Asbun, who was listed as a candidate for Man of the Match by the Sky 1 TV broadcast team. "All we wanted to do was come through."
Asbun and Law join former Bears and U.S. internationals Gary Hein, Don James Jr. and Ray Lehner in the select group to have played in the series as postgraduates. Asbun started as a flanker and Law provided vital support to the forwards as a blood-substitute after Oxford captain John Carter was forced off the pitch with an injury during the first half.
Today's performance by these Rugby Bears brings the Cal alumni presence in the revered Oxford-Cambridge rivalry to nine matches by five players in its history.
Asbun is studying for a postgraduate degree in Urban Studies at Oxford while Law pursues a Master of Science degree in Sustainable Urban Development.
The rugby program at Oxford was founded in 1869, 13 years before Cal began its team. Cambridge continues to lead the all-time series against Oxford in the Varsity Match, 61-55-14.
Oxford beat Cambridge 28-10 in the schools' 130th varsity meeting, giving the Dark Blues consecutive victories for the first time since they won three straight in 2000-02.
Will Kane, Karl Outen and Tom Mitchell touched down as Oxford outscored Cambridge three tries to one at Twickenham. Cassian Bramham-Law kicked 11 points. “I think it’s pretty hard to discount every effort from one to 15 today,” Outen, who was named the Man of the Match, told Sky Sports. “Today was easily our best effort of the year.”
Oxford led 13-10 at halftime, but held Cambridge scoreless in the second stanza.
“I’m exhausted, but elated,” Oxford captain John Carter, his left eye almost closed by a large welt after being punched by Cambridge’s Dave Allen in the first half, told Sky Sports. “It’s a team spirit. Cambridge were aggressive but you just have to want it more. It’s awesome.”
Today’s match marked the return of the series tradition of former captains serving as assistant referees.
Ross Blake, who captained Cambridge to victory in 2007, and his Oxford counterpart in that game Joe Roff, who won the Rugby World Cup with Australia in 1999, assisted referee Dave Pearson. It was the first time since the 1997 game that ex-captains ran the touchline, with a professional referee and assistants handling the duties since.
Former Cal All American Derek Asbun started for the winning side.
Several Eagles are entering the second leg of the Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup this weekend.
The first one to kickoff is Kevin Swiryn, who’s starting at wing in Agen’s Amlin match against Sale Thursday. Agen is 1-1 in pool play and needs a win to stay in the hunt for a quarterfinal berth.
Many of the starting lineups or match day squads for the weekend haven’t been released yet, so it’s unclear exactly which Eagles will be playing. However, it’s hard to imagine Takudzwa Ngwenya won’t be starting when Biarritz goes up against Italian Benetton Treviso.
Ngwenya has scored in both of Biarritz’s H-Cup matches so far, a 15-10 win over Saracens and a 28-21 loss to Ospreys. Though Biarritz is 1-1, they’re just one point behind pool leader Saracens.
Speaking of the Sarries, Chris Wyles is likely to start in their match Saturday match with Ospreys, and Hayden Smith could well be in the mix. The winner of this game will take first place in the pool. This match will premier on Fox Soccer Plus 12am EST Sunday.
Samu Manoa’s Northampton has a must-win game against French Castres Saturday. The Saints can’t afford another loss after dropping to 0-2 in pool play.
Chris Biller may get some time with Bath against defending H-Cup champion Leinster Saturday. 1-1 Bath will take control of Pool 3 with a win. This game will premier on Fox Soccer Plus 12:30pm EST Sunday and re-air 8pm EST Monday.
Seta Tuilevuka’s Montpellier is still looking for its first win of the H-Cup season, having recorded a loss to Bath and a draw with Leinster.
Scott LaValla’s Stade Francais should move to 3-0 in Amlin play when it faces Crociati Parma, the Italian club Paul Emerick used to play for which has been outscored 68-10 in its two losses so far this Amlin Challenge Cup season.
Follow this link to see the broadcast schedule for all Heineken and Amlin games on Fox Soccer Plus.
USA hooker Chris Biller played in his first Aviva Premiership game Saturday, running on as a sub in Bath’s 16-13 loss to the Sale Sharks.
Biller is one of four USA players no playing the Premiership, along with Chris Wyles and Hayden Smith of Saracens, and Samu Manoa of Northampton.
Wyles started at outside center for Saracens in their 15-11 win over London Irish Sunday. Hayden Smith was not used.
Manoa was on the bench for Northampton as they lost 30-25 to Leicester.
In the RFU Championship (England’s second-tier pro competition), Shawn Pittman started at prop as London Welsh edged Bedford 25-24.
Mike MacDonald started at prop for Leeds and Robbie Shaw came off the bench as Leeds lost 33-19 to Bristol, Shaw’s old club.
Cornish Pirates crushed London Scottish 42-10, but Andrew Suniula was not used.
(Note, last week Nottingham confirmed that Tim Usasz will not return to the club.)
In France, Stade Francais won 29-3 over Racing Metro. Scott LaValla did not play. Agen beat Bayonne 37-18, but Kevin Swiryn did not play. Montpellier beat Biarritz 30-23. Taku Ngwenya started at wing for Biarritz and scored a try.
The try was a brilliant display of team rugby, starting in the Biarritz 22 and running up the left tramline and involving eight passes. The last was from No. 8 Imanol Harinordoquy to Ngwenya, coming in from the opposite side of the field to run in support.
We have not seen Seta Tuilevuka in the Montpellier lineup most of the fall.
Highlights from that game, including Ngwenya's score in the 17th minute.
In France’s Pro D2, Inaki Basauri started at lock for Perigueux, who lost 26-14 to Pau.
In Japan, Suntory defeated Honda 45-14. Todd Clever did not play.
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