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Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Wednesday, 09 April 2014 14:20    PDF Print Write e-mail
Military Presence at College Park Serevi HP Camp
Colleges - Camps & Clinics


On a cool late winter spring weekend in March, USAR and Serevi Rugby held a two-day High Performance Training Camp on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, led by USA Women’s 7s Coach Ric Suggitt, USA Men’s and Women’s Assistant Coach Richie Walker, and Serevi Coach and former Eagle Pate Tuilevuka.

Unique to this camp was the attendance of several members of our active military service, who play rugby when not defending our country at home and abroad. Rugby and the U.S. Military have held a special bond for years, but in the below reports from a Marine Sergeant and an Army Captain you’ll hear just how much crossover there is between the skills and fitness needed in each endeavor. Big thanks to both of these gentlemen for their service to our country, and for sharing their passion for the game.

Corey Parker in action at camp.
Corey Parker on duty at Camp Pendleton.
Matt Ryan in action for the US Army.
Matt Ryan, center of picture, on patrol in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 2013.

Sergeant Corey Parker
U.S. Marines Corps – Quantico, Virginia
My name is Corey Parker I am a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps where my military occupational specialty is as a CH-46E helicopter crew chief. I am currently stationed Quantico, VA, which is where I started playing rugby and have been playing off and on for about three years. Prior to my current duty station I was stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA from where I was deployed to Al Asad, Iraq in 2009.

Prior to playing rugby I played baseball as a kid until high school, with one year of roller hockey somewhere in the middle.  So rugby has been my first sport with any major physical contact and I love every minute of it.

The two most important things I’ve learned at the USAR/Serevi Camp are that you have to trust the other players on your team to support you on and off the field, and that there is a substantial need for communication.

Rugby has been a huge impact on my professional career as it takes a lot of mental toughness, critical thinking, teamwork, and fitness to push through a tough rugby game. These same aspects are just as important in the military. You need to be able to focus and complete the difficult tasks are put in front of you and your team.

I hope to use all of the camps that I have attended to help improve each player that comes through my team, and to one day possibly get looked at by U.S. coaches for either national team. If I can’t play for USA rugby I would love to be part of their staff and support them through the Olympics and now, the Rugby World Cup.


Captain Matthew Ryan
U.S. Army – Afghanistan
My name is Captain Matthew Ryan, I have been serving in the Army on active duty since I graduated from Xavier University and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 2008. I have served with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC and with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY.  I am a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and as I write this article I have less than six weeks remaining in my deployment. For the last 8 months I have been serving as an advisor to Afghan Security Forces, and it has been equally rewarding as it has been frustrating.

Recently while back home on R&R, I attended the USA Rugby/Serevi High Performance Training camp at the University of Maryland. I have been playing rugby since I was 17, but I really only have about a year of experience playing sevens, and I looked at this as an opportunity to learn from the best.

Going into the camp, I didn’t really know what to expect, except that there was probably going to be a lot of running. I was also hoping that we were going to do some hitting, since I had a lot of pent-up aggression from being in Afghanistan. On the first day we started with some basic drills. We worked on passing, decision-making, tackling, and defensive alignments. I loved how each drill we did throughout the day built upon the previous drills, forcing the players to focus on the basics of what we were learning, and not just forget what we had previously gone over. The second day we ramped up the intensity, working on a lot of the same things as the day before, only faster. The coaches ensured we were switched on from the start, and the pace of the day forced us to stay focused on what we were doing. My favorite part of the camp was after lunch on the second day, when we finally got into some full contact scrimmaging. It really brought out the best in everybody, and there was some fantastic rugby being played. Overall, the camp was an amazing experience, and from the abundance of young talent I saw there, the future of USA rugby is looking good.

For me, playing rugby has had so many positive impacts on my career as an Army officer. From fitness, to mental toughness, teamwork, and especially stress relief, rugby has helped me in all aspects of my professional life. As an officer, you are expected to be physically fit, and not be able to just meet the physical fitness standards, but to vastly exceed them at all times. Being fit enough to play rugby, especially sevens, ensures that I maintain the appropriate level of fitness that is expected as an officer. Teamwork is another major parallel between being a rugby player and being in the military. Rugby is the ultimate team sport. In every part of the game, a team will not be successful without working together. From passing, to rucking, to playing defense, if anyone out on that pitch plays as an individual, the result will never be good. The same thing goes for anything we do in the military. It is a team effort to accomplish any mission, whether it is in combat or in training.

At this point, I am focused on maintaining my fitness so that I am ready to step on the pitch as soon as I get back home. There will not be any time to waste trying to get in shape or get back in shape. There are a lot of tournaments that I am looking forward to playing in this summer, especially the Liberty Cup in New York City on June 14th. I’m also hoping to get a shot at re-joining the All Army sevens team this summer.  My long-term goal, which will take a tremendous amount of hard work to achieve, is to be nominated for the Army’s World Class Athlete Program and spend my days in Chula Vista getting paid to play rugby. For now, I’ll focus on getting better, because better never stops.



 
Written by Jackie Finlan    Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:47    PDF Print Write e-mail
Women DII College Playoff Details
Colleges - Women's College


A new women's DII college champion will be named this year, and now that playoff details have been released, there is a (nearly) clear idea of which teams are in the running. It was unclear how many play-in games would take place, as it was evident that a full Round of 32 could not be supported. In the end, two play-ins between conference runner-ups are occurring: CSU Northridge vs. UC Santa Cruz, and South Florida vs. Alabama.

2014 will name a new DII champion, and Davenport ranks highly on the potential champion list.

There is some damage control that remains. Colgate, which finished second in the Excelsior conference last fall, pulled out of the State College, Pa., group after sustaining too many injuries this spring. It appears that either Alabama or an unnamed team will fill that spot. What that means for the USF vs. Alabama play-in remains to be seen.

Palo Alto, Calif.
Humboldt State vs. CSU Northridge or UC Santa Cruz
Western Washington vs. CSU Long Beach

This pool assembles the best teams from the Pacific coast. The West Coast conference was embroiled in some controversy when an undefeated Fresno State was deemed ineligible and their victories turned into forfeits. Humboldt stepped into the top slot and earned the automatic berth. Western Washington won the Cascade conference after an exciting title bout with Central Washington, holding onto a 36-32 victory for the trip to California. CSU Long Beach makes its first trip to the Round of 16 after an equally thrilling league season. The 49ers defeated two-time reigning SoCal champ 22-13 in a league game that determined the standings leader, and the automatic berth.

CSU Northridge and UC Santa Cruz finished second in SoCal and West Coast, respectively, and will fight for the fourth spot in Palo Alto this Saturday. The two teams played against each other in last year's Round of 16, and Northridge won handily, 67-5.

State College, Pa.
Davenport vs. SUNY Geneseo
Indiana (Pa.) vs. Salisbury

Davenport finally gets its shot on the national stage, and the Panthers have been impressive in pre-season. The Indiana side defeated Notre Dame College convincingly and posted single-digit losses to Big 10 teams Indiana and Notre Dame.

SUNY Geneseo won the Empire conference in the fall (Buffalo finished atop the standings but is a DI team that competed in ACRA’s DI playoffs) and bowed out of the ACRA quarterfinals after losing 41-10 to Vassar. IUP won the Allegheny conference in the fall as well, while Salisbury lost 24-17 to Mary Washington in the Capital conference final and looked good in last weekend’s Cherry Blossom tournament.

Appalachian State vs. Kent State
Mary Washington vs. Alabama or Other

There are three conference winners in this pool, and one is tempted to call Capital conference champ Mary Washington the strongest of them. After a busy, successful fall, the Virginia side has played seven games in 2014, winning all of them save the opener against DI UVA. Appalachian State hasn’t been so lucky schedule wise, as the teams in the Carolinas conference aren’t as reliable, but after a 96-12 victory over traditional rival College of Charleston, one can assume that AHO is shaping up nicely. Kent State won the DI Mid-America conference, so it’s curious that the Michigan school is participating in DII nationals. That said, Kent State competes at a DII level (as evidenced by the team’s 83-7 loss to Northern Iowa in the first round DI ACRA playoffs in the fall, and 24-0 loss to DII Notre Dame College).

As mentioned in the intro, Alabama may or may not compete in this pool depending on whether USA Rugby can find a suitable replacement for Colgate’s withdrawal.

Marietta, Ga.
Lee University vs. South Florida/Alabama
Florida International vs. North Georgia

Florida International won the Florida conference and may or may not be joined by Florida #2 South Florida (again, it all depends on whether a suitable replacement for Colgate can be found). When the two teams played back on March 1, FIU won 34-5. North Georgia, as mentioned above, won the SIRC with a five-point win over Alabama. Lee University won the True South conference, but the only other team in the league was UT Chattanooga. That lack of competition plus the uncooperative weather have made for a mixed season this spring. A young squad dominated by underclassmen has had trouble keeping pace with the top DII teams but is playing decent rugby right now.

 
Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Tuesday, 08 April 2014 19:08    PDF Print Write e-mail
Video: PRP Highlights Olympic Club v Santa Monica
MultiMedia - Shows and Highlights


Austin Brewin photo
Olympic Club hosts its annual Pink Jersey Pink Tie game to benefit the KAM Foundation, which provides support for breast cancer patients.

It's a wonderful charity, and this year's game, a Pacific Rugby Premiership clash between O-Club and Santa Monica, provided a worthy spectacle of the game.



 
Written by Press Release    Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:57    PDF Print Write e-mail
Pacific Nations Cup Details Announced
International - International News


The International Rugby Board has today announced the match schedule for the IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2014. The new format will feature six teams who will compete in two pools of three. In Pool A Samoa, Tonga and Fiji will battle it out to determine the Pacific Island conference champion for 2014. In Pool B USA, Canada and Japan will compete for the Asia/Pacific conference title. 

The tournament will take place over three match days on June 7, 14 and 21. With Rugby World Cup 2015 fast approaching, the IRB Pacific Nations Cup will give valuable and competitive game time to all six teams.

IRB Head of Competitions and Performance Mark Egan said, "The Pacific Nations Cup is an excellent opportunity for all participating teams to play some tough, competitive test matches with just over a year to go until Rugby World Cup 2015.

"We have a long-term commitment through our 10-year strategic plan to create greater levels of quality test competition for tier two nations in order to boost the competitiveness of the world game."

"The PNC will help us reach that goal, but also provide some great Rugby for local fans, especially on the last day when great rivals Fiji take on Samoa in Suva and USA host their neighbors Canada in California."

Re-affirming its long-term commitment to boosting the tier two competition schedule and the competitiveness of the international game, the IRB last week confirmed that other tier two unions would be taking part in the IRB Tbilisi Cup and the IRB Nations Cup in June.

The IRB is committed to assisting tier two unions close the competition gap to Tier One through a combination of investment in high performance program support and a £3.3 million investment in competition structures for the senior national teams.

IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2014 Fixtures (all times are local)
Saturday, June 7

14:00 - Samoa v Tonga, Apia Park, Samoa
18:00 - Canada v Japan, Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, British Columbia

Saturday, June 14
15:00 - Fiji v Tonga, Churchill Park, Lautoka, Fiji
19:30 - USA v Japan, Stub Hub Center, Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, June 21
15:00 - Fiji v Samoa, ANZ Stadium, Suva, Fiji
15:00 - USA v Canada, Cal Expo Facility, Sacramento, CA

 
Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Tuesday, 08 April 2014 19:05    PDF Print Write e-mail
Video: PRP Highlights OMBAC v Denver Barbarians
MultiMedia - Shows and Highlights


PRPIn a wild Pacific Rugby Premiership clash in Glendale, Colo., the Denver Barbarians and OMBAC face off.

This is a game where the winner could take a big step toward challenging for a place in the top two ... so what happened?




 


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