Columns and Opinions
Written by Waisale Serevi    Tuesday, 11 September 2012 21:33    PDF Print Write e-mail
King's Corner: Good Things Come in Small Packages - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


In this edition of King's Corner, 7s legend Waisale Serevi discusses playing and coaching with two of the game's legend, and how they managed to rule the 7s world despite being ... how should we say ... not the most physically imposing. 

 
Written by Alex Goff    Tuesday, 11 September 2012 17:11    PDF Print Write e-mail
Rugby Coach Weekly Reprint - Changing Position Under Pressure - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


The latest installment of our reprinting of Rugby Coach Weekly's advise and ideas for rugby coaches.

This one is a drill devised by RUGBYMag.com Columnist Eamonn Hogan on how to change position when you're in contact or under pressure.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 02 September 2012 19:20    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye: 7s Eagles Need More Power - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


Size and power are important parts of the future of international 7s.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 31 August 2012 15:01    PDF Print Write e-mail
Running Touch: Elite Cup Fallout? - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


Is it about more rugby, or more good rugby, or less rugby?

One wonders. The fallout from the restructure of club rugby won’t be known for years; it might be good. It might not be. We’ll see.

But right now, after talking with several clubs and examining the new plan, especially the new Elite Cup, I have some observations for you:

The Elite Cup Plan was designed to address one of the lingering issues among Super League teams, to-wit: DI leagues were not being particularly cooperative in allowing Super League clubs to field reasonably competitive DI squads.

This is because the DI leagues and clubs therein didn’t want to lose. But it was also because Super League teams didn’t help, by sometimes actually fielding well-known star players in DI league games and therefore making it seem like RSL teams were gaming the system. In the end, the players who were hurt were the up-and-comers – good young players who were getting sub time in the Super League and needed DI playing time.

Now it’s all solved, right? The Super League disbanded; all Super League teams are back to being DI, and the Elite Cup is something separate.

However the pushback remains. NYAC won’t compete in DI (either because they think it’s a waste of time, or because the Empire Conference was bloody-minded and didn’t let them in … depends who you ask). And even Boston is reportedly getting the runaround – based solely on the fact that other DI clubs don’t want to lose to these former Super League squads.

I wish the message were still clear – if you skew the competition to keep out the good teams, did you really win anything?

So it’s up to DI leagues and clubs to accept this fact – many of the former Super League teams are, in fact, really very good and could well take a playoff spot supposedly meant for others. Too bad. It’s sports. Better teams (usually) win.


Playing in DI won’t be enough for good clubs.
The best clubs will win many of their league games by large margins. Now, I’m not saying that several DI clubs can’t keep up. But what I am saying is that playing their best players in league games won’t help the teams formerly-known-as-Super-Leaguers, and certainly won’t help the teams that get thrashed.

So … what you will probably see is a team like San Francisco Golden Gate select down for DI league, and reserve their best lineup for major friendlies or the Elite Cup. (This is not unlike what Cal has done for years. When in the NorCal DI league, Cal didn’t always put its most accomplished 15 on the field, but if you started against UBC, you knew you were considered the best.)

Such a plan could work. The DI leagues will get a good, competitive addition, and at the same time, the elite squad can create their own nicely-defined elite season.

Old Puget Sound, Life, NYAC and SFGG have all begun setting up a series of tough games. In fact, one club said that without the Super League scheduling the games has become easier – now they have the flexibility to plan ahead by many months.


Playing the Elite Cup might be good enough.

NYAC looks to not be in DI this season, but will be in the Elite Cup. Going forward, DI success in Year N will dictate Elite Cup participation in Year N+1 (similar to the Heineken Cup in Europe).

So if NYAC wants to remain in the Elite Cup they will either have to play DI eventually, or figure out a way within USA Rugby to stay in the Cup as long as they are competitive.

As it is, playing three pool games and potentially two playoff games might be the right number for some. And if it’s not, you can add some friendly games. DI you could delegate to another group of players.


We might see the return of the Tour
Teams I have spoken to are pretty excited about freeing up their spring. They are aware of what the bar is, and how they can work to raise it. The Super League was successful in a lot of areas in helping the game, but also fell short in some areas.

In a way, the total inadequacy of a 64-team DI competition where half the teams are not dependable (they might even be good – but can you depend on them to pitch-up, on the road, on a regular basis?), plus a short cup isn’t going to help players keep up with pro leagues of 15 or 20 games.

That’s OK, because the clubs will fix it, and one way to do that is on tour. Canada, believe it or not, is in a similar position, and offers a wonderful opportunity for travel and challenging games. Traveling to the next state, or another continent could work, too.



What this confusion offers, then, is freedom - freedom to recapture control of your own season. Top teams I have spoken to are energized by the new regime, not because USA Rugby has taken more control, but because, thanks to their depth and overall club structure, they are able to break free and create their own schedule, and their own destiny.

It’s hard to predict how it will shake out – whether we have teams that just play in the Elite Cup, or whether we all just get sucked into mediocrity. But I do think, in the end, we will find teams that take control now to be a club of 50 like-minded players who aren’t afraid to lose games in order to achieve something, and those teams will lead American rugby.


This is a Running Touch column by Alex Goff




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Written by Alex Goff    Monday, 27 August 2012 16:09    PDF Print Write e-mail
GoffonRugby: An Attempt to Simplify the Restructure - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


Here’s a quick rundown of the club restructure as I see it. I hope this make things simpler, not more complicated.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 26 August 2012 19:00    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye: Eagles 7s Team Needs to Make its Own Luck - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


Well the USA did the job; they qualified for the 7s World Cup. They did so convincingly, not being challenged by any of the teams in their way.

 
Written by Eamonn Hogan    Friday, 17 August 2012 18:07    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eamonn Hogan: Coaching Burnout - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


Although not a major talking point in the USA quite yet, the game is beginning to see signs that highly qualified and experienced coaches are stepping down from successful programs to simply find the enjoyment of the game they have lost due to the pressures that Amateur coaches should not be dealing with. In 2005, Eamonn completed his Degree dissertation (as a VERY mature student) on the issue of Coaching Burnout, an edited version of which was subsequently published by the RFU Technical Journal. In this article, he gives his thoughts on the subject with an American slant

 
Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 16 August 2012 15:39    PDF Print Write e-mail
GoffonRugby: Picking the All-Star 7s - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


The Men’s 7s National All-Star Championships is a contest between eight all-star teams to crown the best region in 7s, and find players for the national team.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Tuesday, 14 August 2012 17:50    PDF Print Write e-mail
New Feature! Rugby Coach Weekly Reprint - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


RUGBYMag.com is proud to offer a new feature.

We are partnering with Rugby Coach Weekly magazine to give you a regular look into some coaching tips and ideas.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Tuesday, 14 August 2012 17:50    PDF Print Write e-mail
New Feature! Rugby Coach Weekly Reprint - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


RUGBYMag.com is proud to offer a new feature.

We are partnering with Rugby Coach Weekly magazine to give you a regular look into some coaching tips and ideas.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 12 August 2012 19:43    PDF Print Write e-mail
Why Winning Serevi Matters for Falcons - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


The USA Falcons’ victory at the Serevi 7s is one of those events that could be heavily overstated.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 03 August 2012 18:58    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye: What I Like About All American 7s Picks - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


The Collegiate All American 7s teams that will go to Glendale for the Serevi Rugbytown 7s and the NASC in Chula Vista are very, very strong teams.

They aren't just one-dimensional - the mix of players is a good insight into how USA teams should be constructed going forward.

 
Written by Waisale Serevi    Wednesday, 01 August 2012 03:00    PDF Print Write e-mail
King's Corner - Staying on Top - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


At our April Training Camp in Chicago, an eager 10-year old with an oversized personality asked me an interesting question.

 
Written by Waisale Serevi    Wednesday, 01 August 2012 03:00    PDF Print Write e-mail
King's Corner - The Hard Work of Staying on Top - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


At our April Training Camp in Chicago, an eager 10-year old with an oversized personality asked me an interesting question.

 
Written by Aaron Manheimer    Saturday, 28 July 2012 16:23    PDF Print Write e-mail
Training: Training the Stiff-Arm - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


RUGBYMag.com columnist Aaron Manheimer and Chicago Lions star Mark Roberts show methods for training to improve your fend and stiffarm in rugby.

 
Written by Eamonn Hogan    Friday, 27 July 2012 00:17    PDF Print Write e-mail
Cardinal Rules of Amateur Rugby Coaching - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


 Coach and commentator Eamonn Hogan discusses some rules for coaching in Amateur Rugby.


 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 22 July 2012 23:09    PDF Print Write e-mail
GoffonRugby: Searching for the Pool of Death - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


I was looking for the "Pool of Death" in the national 7s championships, but I really don't think there is one. Sure there are some tough pools, and perhaps one pool has a heavy. heavy favorite (Pool C). 

 
Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 12 July 2012 01:01    PDF Print Write e-mail
GoffonRugby: What Kind of Club are You? - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


So I spent an evening the other day solving all of American rugby’s problems. You know that sort of conversation – we should do this, we should do that. Here’s how we fix the Super League. Here’s how we fix the politics.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:31    PDF Print Write e-mail
Perfect Learning Tour for HS All Americans - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


The High School All Americans tour to South America is not for the faint of heart.

 
Written by Eamonn Hogan    Monday, 09 July 2012 12:39    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eamonn Hogan: Does U20s Win Mean Anything? - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


So, in a thrilling match in Utah, the USA Junior All Americans (U20s) won the Rugby World Trophy. I had many texts and Facebook messages from players and parents saying what an occasion it was and wishing I could have been at the event. To say I was overjoyed at hearing the result is to underplay it somewhat as I was jumping about my house at 3.15am UK time. However, shortly afterwards reality hit when I looked at the challenges that lay ahead for my friends in that program.

 
Written by Aaron Manheimer    Tuesday, 26 June 2012 16:19    PDF Print Write e-mail
Training: Lineout Strength - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


RUGBYMag.com Contributing Columnist Aaron Manheimer showcases strength conditioning for lineouts.

 
Written by Aaron Manheimer    Tuesday, 26 June 2012 16:19    PDF Print Write e-mail
Training: Lineout Strength - P
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


RUGBYMag.com Contributing Columnist Aaron Manheimer showcases strength conditioning for lineouts.

 
Written by Waisale Serevi    Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:27    PDF Print Write e-mail
King's Corner - Playing Catchup
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


I was recently posed this question by a 20-something American player:  “So I didn’t grow up in a rugby nation playing rugby every day. How can I catch up?”

 
Written by Waisale Serevi    Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:27    PDF Print Write e-mail
King's Corner - Playing Catchup
RUGBYmag Premier - Columns and Opinions


I was recently posed this question by a 20-something American player:  “So I didn’t grow up in a rugby nation playing rugby every day. How can I catch up?”

 


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