Kevin Swiryn is in the starting lineup for Agen’s Amlin Challenge Cup match against Brive on Sunday, which is good news for the USA wing.
Swiryn lost his USA starting job to James Paterson during the World Cup, right at the time he felt he was returning to form.
Back at Agen in the South of France, Swiryn has had some work to do to break back into the starting lineup. Last week he came on as a sub and scored a try. A La Vila player tried to clear the ball from his tryline. The ball bounced downfield and into the arms of an Agen player. Swiryn saw space on the outside and came racing in, called for the ball, sidestepped a defender, and was in. Good, heads up play from Swiryn, and now he’s in the starting 15.
“It was nice to get on the field and then score as well,” Swiryn told RUGBYMag.com. “It's been tough to get time since returning because our team did well while I was gone, and continues to. Therefore, squeezing into the mix is tough while everyone is playing so well.”
But Swiryn, who struggled personally through a difficult spring, is pleased to be back with a team that perhaps fits his way of playing better.
“It's great to be back in France and just to be in one place for awhile,” he said. “I really enjoy playing for my coach here and with understanding the language better I'm still learning stuff every session. Our backs coach is a lot like [St. Mary’s Head Coach] Tim O'Brien; he does a lot of skill work and prepares you to play by learning how to react to situations rather than have things set in stone. He loves using the word, ‘adaptation.’”
Asked if he suffered from a lack of confidence through 2011, Swiryn said he didn’t. He felt his play improved against Canada and against Japan, where he scored both of the USA’s tries, was one of his best games as an Eagle.
“I don't feel I ever lost [confidence], and therefore I still have it,” he said.
But changing between the Agen way and the USA way was difficult – just as it was difficult for Seta Tuilevuka to switch between the Montpellier way and the USA way.
“It's more about getting used to changing all the time,” said Swiryn. “How I play rugby here in France and how I had to play on the USA team are two completely different styles. Whether one is better than the other isn't the point, it's that they're opposite and when you change so drastically it's difficult to get comfortable.”
Agen (in red) highlights v. La Vila. See 4:00 for Swiryn's try.
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