This interview was reprinted with permission from UR7s.
Alex Magleby has just completed his first full season and has seen his side finish the season so strongly that commentators are thinking they might be an outside bet for Moscow. With the addition of Carlin Isles and more pressure than ever it's been an incredible season for the Eagles 7s.
UR7s: Hi Alex, thanks so much for sitting down with us, let's get straight into it. It was a slow start for the USA but a strong finish. How has the side grown as the season progressed?
AM: Physically we weren't too far off the mark at the beginning of the season, I don't think but it's been our tactical and training IQ that has improved as the season has progressed (staff and players). Probably more importantly, there has been some mental & emotional maturation for the guys over the last 9 months, which I believe has helped the on-field performances improve.
UR7s: What has changed in the last 12 months for the improvements to take place on the field?
AM: The culture continues to be tweaked. That starts with the leadership. Matt Hawkins has steadied the ship as captain and has been a good example for younger emerging leaders like Zach Test and Shalom Suniula.
UR7s: The crowds want to see Carlin Isles but Nick Edwards has been a revelation. How has Carlin come on during his first season and what does he have to learn from Nick?
AM: I have been really impressed with Carlin, particularly off the field. With all of the media attention he has remained a team-first guy, that's a tough thing to do. He has continued to work and grow as a player and person. As a teammate it's vicarious joy for his teammates' performances when he is not on the field. Only 7 guys can be on the field at a time, and combinations are key. Carlin has done a great job coming off the bench providing the x-factor we have needed and could very easily be a regular started.
Nick continues to improve and impress---tackle rate near the top of the team, turnover rate near the top, is a restart threat, and of course has done a bang up job as an attacking footballer.
UR7s: A number of the players have now been in the USA squad for a few years, how beneficial has this been?
AM: Experience is not always a good thing! Baggage from the past can weigh down a team. Fortunately, we have quality player leadership that has benefited from years on the circuit.
UR7s: What was your targets at the beginning of the season?
AM: To win.
UR7s: What is the ambition for the Rugby World Cup in Moscow?
AM: To Win.
UR7s: After your first full season in charge, how are you personally enjoying the world series and balance with home life?
AM: What Balance?
UR7s: What can we expect from the USA 7s over the next 12 months?
AM: Our two main goals this year were 1) develop the leadership and culture for future successes 2) create the conveyor belts for high quality athletes to develop and compete for spots with current team.
We have been able to do both. Next step is integrating the two, which can be a challenge, but is an exciting proposition.
UR7s: Alex, thanks so much for spending the time chatting to us. Good luck in Moscow. We are big fans of the Eagles and will be following your exploits closely.