Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Friday, 17 February 2012 13:42    PDF Print Write e-mail
USA Rugby College 7s Dates
Sevens - Collegiate Sevens

Following criticism that they sprung the new USA Rugby Collegiate 7s national championships on teams too late, and picked a lousy time of year, USA Rugby has released the dates for its 2012 College 7s nationals nice and early.

The national governing body announced on twitter and Facebook Friday that the event will be held November 16-17 at a venue to be determined.

Bids will presumably be entertained for the 7s nationals in the coming weeks.

Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 17 February 2012 11:53    PDF Print Write e-mail
Santa Clara Potential Put to Test
Colleges - Men's DI College

Santa Clara University’s highest-profile contribution to rugby is the fact the school has hosted a few USA test matches.

Promotional flier for Friday night's game between Santa Clara U. and Stanford.

DI rugby glory on the pitch, however, has eluded the Bay Area Jesuit Catholic school with an enrollment just over 5,000.

But as the Broncos gear up for their opening D1-AA league clash with Stanford Friday night, they are feeling a surge of confidence despite being on a three-game losing streak.

The losing streak has to be taken in context, you see, and an 83-7 loss is rough, but not necessarily when the opponents are UC-Berkeley. Scoring a try against the Bears is something to be proud of.

They followed up that loss with a 41-30 defeat at the hands of Cal Poly, a game where Santa Clara scored six tries and no conversions. And last weekend it was a similar score, 42-32 against the SFGG club.

Losses, sure, but ones that show this team has some potential to score.

“We have much better structured practices and tons of commitment,” said club president Ryan Falvey. “We’ve seen what that can do, as now we can compete with teams like Cal Poly.”

The SFGG connection extends to more than just playing them, as SFGG Director of Rugby Paul Keeler has been helping coach the team as well.

“Paul has instilled in us the idea that we should worry about a god performance,” Falvey said. “If we are performing well, the wins will come. It helps that we have some continuity. We graduated only two seniors from last year, and we have a lot of leadership on the team.”

The players have also responded to the increased structure.

They are led by forward Tim O’Hara, who was a RUGBY Magazine All American his freshman year, with senior Falvey and center Nick Johnson also spearheading the attack.

Friday’s match with Stanford will be a first – under the lights at Bellomy Field as part of Bronco Pride week. It’s a big deal on campus, and could be, in the end, a big deal around the country, too.

Written by John O'Donnell    Friday, 17 February 2012 00:23    PDF Print Write e-mail
Column: The Safety Basics
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions

Guest Columnist John O'Donnell gives you the basics on re-starting the season safely.

Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 17 February 2012 02:40    PDF Print Write e-mail
College 7s Top 30 Feb 2012
RUGBYmag Premier - Rankings - RUGBYMag Premier offers Premier Subscribers our top 30 college 7s teams at the moment.

Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 17 February 2012 00:09    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye: Tolks
Columns - Eagle Eye

Well congratulations to USA Rugby and its Board of Directors for making a great pick for the USA Men’s 15s team coaching job.

Giving the halftime talk to his Xavier HS players. Ed Hagerty photo.Mike Tolkin is not the only candidate who I think would do a good job, but he is one of them, and one of the best. (Big surprise, right? He was RUGBY Magazine's 2010 Coach of the Year.)

I have spent a lot of time discussing the Eagle coaching position with various coaches, players, observers and candidates. They all seem to have the same idea of what is good for the Eagle coaching position:

The coach needs to have a working knowledge of the available players.

He needs to know what the pipeline is, and either have faith in it, or know how to change it. Just saying “the pipeline doesn’t work” isn’t good enough.

The coach has to be good enough at coaching and knowledgeable enough about the game to communicate his vision to the coaching community (and he has to be willing to do it).

He has to be able to speak the right language to the players.

He has to bleed red, white, and blue enough to understand that getting a cap is a privilege. A cap is not when a player gets a look, it’s where he represents his country.

The head coach needs to know that coaching the Eagles is less about formulating a game plan than it is about so much more. It requires plenty of scouting, player tracking, player development, specialized coaching, PR and marketing, and sharing in the pride we should have for the Eagles.

The great thing about Mike Tolkin is that he gets all that. He is smart, articulate, and thoughtful, but also down-to-earth and accessible. He understands that the biggest thing the Eagles could do in a week might be visiting a school on the Thursday before a game. 

Right in the middle of trying to get the Eagle job, Tolkin was also serving as a volunteer head of the committee to set up the new invitational system for the High School National Championships. That doesn't sound like someone above it all, and certainly does sound like someone who cares about the game in America at all levels.

And on the top level, he understands two important things: losing sucks, and setting up your players to lose not only sucks, it’s an insult to the jersey.

While it may be true that Tolkin’s appointment was also an economic one - an American coach is expected to be paid less than a high-profile foreign one (but do more work) – it’s also a monumental step forward for the game in this country. He is clearly not the only American candidate capable of doing this job. And in a few years there will be even more who could and should apply to coach the Eagles.

The appointment also is important for the players, many of whom wanted a coach of his ilk, and wanted a coach completely invested in the game in this country.

And that, I guess, is it. It is difficult to pursue rugby at a high level in American for a long period. Tolkin has been dealing with those difficulties for years. The players know this. The fans know this. And all the other coaches who will interact with him know this.

Now, of course, there’s the matter of making the team come together and perform. But I think we know it will, because if you look at the record of Tolkin and the men he will bring into his staff, you will see the Eagles are led by someone who doesn’t back down from obstacles.


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