Matt Hawkins is so used to playing with pain, he feels almost weird playing without it.
But that’s what the USA 7s team forward will be able to do next weekend at the Australia 7s in Gold Coast, Queensland.
“The last half of last season I was really banged up and sore,” Hawkins told RUGBYMag.com. “My main focus since then has been to get back from my surgeries. I had two surgeries and they’ve relieved a lot and I am feeling 100 times better.”
He knew he had to get fit, too, to make the team.
“I wouldn’t have come to camp if I wasn’t confident I could play,” he said. “It’s just been nice to get back and feel fresh again. I feel like I can do pretty much everything I’ve been able to do before. It just doesn’t hurt as much.”
The team Hawkins rejoins is not an unfamiliar one. Only Folau Niua among the 12 going to Australia is a player he’s unfamiliar with.
“I haven’t played with Folau, but I’ve seen him several times and I know the skills he brings to the table,” Hawkins said. “It’s exciting to be on the team with him and it’s exciting to be starting the World Series again. Overall we have a great team. It’s good to see Mike [Palefau] and Nick [Edwards], who is a real good friend of mine, on the team. They bring a wealth of experience and are great players.”
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.
Philadelphia, Pa. – On Friday, November 25th, for the third year in a row, local high school and collegiate rugby players will participate in the Josias A. Sterling Memorial “Apple Pie 7s” Rugby Tournament to honor the memory of Josias A. Sterling, the former St. Joseph’s Prep High School and Temple University player lost his life when swept away by a riptide in July 2009.
Previously featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Rugby Magazine, this annual tournament has had tremendous growth over the past three years. It is the primary fundraising vehicle for the Josias A. Sterling Aquatic Education Program which provides 100 at-risk youth with scholarship funding each year to attend six-week aquatic education sessions at the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Philadelphia. Legendary swimming coach Jim Ellis, inspiration of the 2007 film Pride, will be attending this year’s event to represent the work that is being done at the Community Center in conjunction with the Josias A. Sterling Aquatic Education Program.
“It is the wishes of Marie and Jean Sterling, along with our hope and intent, to transform a terrible tragedy into something extremely positive,” said Bill Gregory, one of Josias’ former coaches, friend of the Sterling family and event organizer. “We are making this possible through our commitment to provide swim lessons to children in need. The Josias A. Sterling Memorial Fund is providing $50,000 over the next 5 years to give 500 children and their families the opportunity to receive aquatic education with the ultimate goal of avoiding another drowning tragedy.”
The 3rd Annual Josias A. Sterling Memorial “Apple Pie 7s” Rugby Tournament is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 25th, from Noon to 4pm at Edgely Field in East Fairmount Park. The teams, made up of high school and collegiate rugby players, will compete in quick, action-packed seven-on-seven 14-minute matches. For the first time, the 3rd Annual Tournament will include women teams.
RUGBYMag.com's live coverage of the ACRA Women's college final four continues with the women's DI semifinals.Stay with RUGBYMag for live coverage and reports.The second DI semi is Army v Navy at 3pm ET on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Read more...
RUGBYMag.com's live coverage of the ACRA Women's college final four continues with the DI semis Saturday on live webstream.Stay with RUGBYMag for live coverage and reports.Norwich plays Northern Iowa at 1pm ET on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Read more...
RUGBYMag.com's live coverage of the ACRA Women's college final four starts Saturday with our live webstream.Stay with RUGBYMag for live coverage and reports.1st Game Winona v Kutztown at 9am ET on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.The game below starts at 11am ET and is Vassar v Notre Dame College. Read more...
RUGBYMag.com's live coverage of the ACRA Women's college final four starts Saturday with our live webstream.Stay with RUGBYMag for live coverage and reports.1st Game Winona v Kutztown at 9am ET on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Read more...
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