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Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 10 August 2011 23:56    PDF Print Write e-mail
Playing in Pattern Saw Selects Home - Captain
National Teams - USA Men

The USA Selects led a Glendale Raptors XV only 19-10 at halftime in Wednesday night’s friendly, and one could be forgiven for wondering what the USA team’s problem was.

Selects captain Scott LaValla was pleased with his team's approach. Ian Muir photoThe Selects team, after all, started only two players who are uncapped against a club team, a good club team, but a club team. It was a little too close for comfort, acknowledged USA Selects captain Scott LaValla, but this was still a group of players that hadn’t played much together, and needed to work to feel comfortable.

Glendale, for their part, did an excellent job at what they’d been asked to do – providing a tough, savvy, opposition that wouldn’t back down. Many times in the first half the Raptors found themselves on their own line and did whatever they could, including a few illegal things, to stop the tries from coming. As this was supposed to be a test for the USA players, handing out yellow cards for repeated infringements would have done nothing for either team. It stayed 15 on 15, and the Selects were asked to figure it out.

“We knew going in we wanted to play our pattern,” said LaValla. “We did at times, but we could have been more clinical. We agreed beforehand to treat it like a test match. But we could have been more organized and if we had found our pattern more the scoreline would have been better.”

The second half, then, was critical.

“The first part of the second half is perhaps the most telling part of any match,” said LaValla, who has captained every team he has played for except the full USA side. “Early on it was about getting points. But as the game wore on you begin to feel the shift in momentum. We came out firing in the second half and scored quickly, and after that settled down.”

With some smart kicking, the USA Select backs were able to make Glendale pay.

“We reached a point when the game opened up and the tries came easily, and that was an indication of the talent we have out wide,” LaValla said.

Up front, the USA Selects had a tough forward pack to deal with. Despite playing against two very tall locks in Casey Rock and the experienced Eagle Alec Parker, the Selects lineout survived quite well.

“They had two very good lineout operators, but we had more options,” said LaValla. “I felt like we pressurized their lineout pretty well.”

In the scrum, Glendale once again opened up the bag of tricks to test the Eagle hopefuls.

“They were more cagey, I’d say,” said LaValla. “We felt we were the stronger but they did give us problems. They tried hard to get a secondary shove on and did catch us sleeping a couple of times.”

But overall for the Selects, a good day. The team played as a team for much of the evening, and for the coaches, that was gratifying.

“A point touched on repeatedly leading up to the game was that selfish play isn’t going to help you,” said LaValla. “We have a pattern we want to run, and if you want to excel individually, the best thing you can do it excel within that framework. Hustle to get our shape in attack. Hustle if we’re close to their line. We were told not to do anything we wouldn’t do Saturday against Canada. That approach made a lot of sense and I think was pretty well understood.”

 
Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 10 August 2011 21:46    PDF Print Write e-mail
USA Selects Defeat Glendale
National Teams - USA Men

The USA Selects rode a dominant second half to beat the Glendale Raptors 58-10 Wednesday night in a World Cup warmup.

The USA Selects team was mostly made up of players itching for playing time and hoping to break into the World Cup squad. They were captained by Scott LaValla, who missed last week's Canada test due to personal reasons.

The talented Glendale side battled hard early and the teams changed ends with the USA Selects 19-10 up.

But in the second half, scrumhalf Robbie Shaw punished Glendale repeatedly with his high box kicks. The kicking game tested the Glendale deep three, forced a few knock-ons, and pinned the Raptors in their half for most of the second half.

The Selects ran in 39 unanswered points before a vocal crowd at Infinity Park.

 
Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Wednesday, 10 August 2011 15:21    PDF Print Write e-mail
Palamo Grabs SLC Headline
Blog - RugbyMag.com Blog

Thretton Palamo is gradually becoming, like he has been for years in the rugby community, a household name in the state of Utah. His story, that of a rugby star switching to gridiron, has already been featured on ESPN programming. His latest splash in publicity came via a profile in the Salt Lake City Tribune, which discusses the challenges Palamo's facing by making the transition.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 10 August 2011 20:27    PDF Print Write e-mail
New Ideas Pondered for 7s Season
RUGBYmag Premier - Exclusive News

Word is that the 2012 Summer 7s season might indeed see some changes, even if they are not as drastic as RUGBYMag.com’s Alex Goff called for.

 
Written by Pat Clifton    Wednesday, 10 August 2011 15:00    PDF Print Write e-mail
Raptors Relishing Match With USA Selects
RUGBYmag Premier - Profiles and Interviews

Former Eagle Andre Bachelet will scrumhalf for Glendale. Clifton photo

Taylor Howden with Belmont at Club 7s Nats Sunday. Dobson Images

Dewon Reed running over Boston Irish Wolfhound at Nationals

Tonight, the USA Select Side takes on the Glendale Raptors at Infinity Park. The game is significant for many reasons.

The obvious one is it gives those on the fringe of the 35-man pool from which the World Cup roster will be selected a chance to prove their worth. It’s a chance for guys like Cam Dolan, Zack Test and Pat Danahy to make their case for the World Cup.

For the opposition, the game is a chance to prove they should have garnered more consideration for the World Cup themselves.  

“It’s going to be such a funny situation to be in, because they’re looking to earn a spot, and there’s a handful of guys that are going to get to suit up for Glendale tonight that are all trying to prove the same thing,” said Glendale No. 8 Ryan Chapman.

“There’s a couple of us trying to prove that we should have gotten a little better look, and a couple of them that they should be on that World Cup squad, so pretty excited for the opportunity. It should be a pretty fun test match, I think.”

Chapman, along with Alec Parker, who will be starting at lock for Glendale, was part of the Eagles’ last pre-World Cup haircut, which trimmed their player pool from 50 to 36.

“Coming out of camp, I never really got any feedback on what they thought of me and what I needed to work on, but I knew I was valuable because I filled several different positions,” he said.

“The only thing I am out to prove is that not only am I good enough to play against these guys, but play really well.”

Along with Chapman and Parker, there are several Raptors who would like to make a statement against the USA Selects, chief among them being Ata Malifa, twin brother of Eagle flyhalf Nese Malifa.

He’s played for the Eagles in the past, as have locks Casey Rock and Hayden Mexted.  

“I think this will be a much more competitive match than people are (thinking), especially after the validity of our team run last night,” said Chapman.

“I think it will be an interesting game, especially with that matchup at 10 (Maximo DeAchaval for Glendale vs. Roland Suniula for the Selects), Ata in the centers, Dewon Reed has a little bit to prove, having been in the 7s player pool for a while, so there are guys out to make a statement, and I think it’s going to be good.”  

Another reason the match is interesting is it features a National Team, albeit not the full-blown Eagles, playing an American club side, not a territorial all-star team or a select side of any kind, but a club side.

“For us, for our club, it’s a huge honor to be able to play any National Team, let alone the US National Team, and for our city and the people in our town that support rugby, I think this is a huge compliment to them,” said Glendale Director of Rugby Mark Bullock.

“From the city’s standpoint, it’s a great honor. We’re ecstatic about the opportunity to play, and the players are pretty fired up. I think they feel real good about playing the US team and providing hopefully some good competition.”

All but a few of Glendale’s 22 will be guys who played with them in the fall, spring or summer. Others, like DeAchaval, Howden and Chapman, played elsewhere. The former two played for the Denver Barbarians’ Super League side in the spring, and the latter for the Utah Warriors. But Chapman and Howden are Glendale alums, having played for the Raptors in the past.

“I was always real critical of people who jumped around from club to club, because I got to Glendale right after college, before we even had a stadium,” said Chapman, “so I take a lot, a lot of pride in wearing the 50-premier-match blazer and stuff like that and being a Glendale Raptor for life.”

Bullock says that despite his team being the underdog, Glendale is out to play at a high level, and ultimately, win.

"Every time we go on the field, our goal and expectation is to play our very best and come out victorious, but the real bottom line always is to perform the very best we can, and then the final results are going to be determined by how we control ourselves and how the other team plays. We can play our best game, and the other team can play their best game and they beat us, I mean that’s how it is," said Bullock.

"We had actually a really sharp training session last night, and hopefully we can carry over to tonight’s match."

The game kicks off 7pm local time and will not be webcast.

 


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