The time difference between Chula Vista and Moscow is 11 hours, meaning that the USA 7s teams have their days flipped almost 180 degrees from their regular circadian rhythms.
It’s not fun, but it’s also something the team has been used to, playing in Dubai and Hong Kong and other far-flung reaches of the world.
Still, it’s a major concern for the coaching staff in their first visit to Russia.
“I’ve never been here before, and we were able to do a little visiting, seeing Red Square and the architecture here, but it’s more about managing the fellas and getting ready for the weekend,” said USA Men 7s Head Coach Alex Magleby. “We’ve adjusted pretty quickly, better than in previous times. We had just gone to the UK so I think that helped. We had a little bit more time, and it’s been easier for the staff and the players.”
This has been a very long season, starting in August with the World Cup Qualifiers, through a nine-stop IRB World Series, and now the Rugby World Cup 7s, the men’s team has been playing and training for 11 months.
“We needed to take the opportunity to do some things a bit different,” said Magleby. “It’s like your periodization in a bunch of mini-seasons. That’s why we timed the trip to Seattle the way we did, to change up the environment and challenge the boys in some different ways. We’ve treated these trainings a little bit different in terms of volume and everything else, but we’re in a good place now.”
Perhaps another big factor is the humidity. It is hot and humid in Moscow, something the Northeast players might be used to, but the West Coasters are not. The extra time in Russia has helped the players acclimate to the conditions.
What the Eagles also have is some strong depth.
“The good news is we have 12 guys who have all started for the team,” said Magleby. “So your bench are all guys who have proven they can play under pressure. We will start the seven who are most comfortable playing with each other. But you might mix it up based on fitness and performance and having to get through, hopefully, six games. Some guys may not play that much on Friday or even Saturday, but then on Sunday we will need them.”