Poor strategy and execution, not substandard high performance programs, are the main causes of the national team's 0-6 record.
In rugby as in every other sport, the roster is always more important than the farm system or draft, because competition takes place here and now. And the coach is always entitled to the last say on the roster, for how and who plays the game reflects his vision of success.
Wins and losses directly, primarily reflect the team's own efforts. There can be no extenuating circumstances, not even idiotic front-office decisions or injuries, because only the team's systems and outputs can be sufficient to surmount every combination of problems.
To be sure, there are myriad shortcomings in USARFU's approach to identifying and preparing players for senior international competition. They range from pay-to-play teenage trials camps to selecting age-grade players who don't project to the next level to settling for 'America qualified' athletes to scuttling the domestic representative system.
The story of America's post-2005 HP programs is one of reduced opportunity and predictable waste, and forms a core part of the national team's worldview. The Eagles also know that US school and senior rugby mainly exists to provide recreational competition -- as it should do -- and USARFU is dependent on taxing these recreational players as well as International Rugby Board welfare. Together, this trio spells structural disadvantage.
Although the landscape has changed since the game went pro in 1995, it has ever been so. The Eagles have always known that only the work they do together -- whether at or in between assemblies -- can fill the gaps.
The honor of playing for America lies not in selection but in meeting this responsibility. The word for taking personal and collective charge of the task, the quality that separates good Eagle teams from bad ones, is overachievement.