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22 August 2008


Eagles squad was on ESPN's First Take this morning (Friday). It wasn't as tightly organized as I would hope, but a pretty nice job.
At least 2 of the 3 players interviewed weren't funny talkers.

Every time I hear this story I can't help but wonder how Bob Latham is still on the Board of Directors? I read on ERN that he is also the attorney for USA Rugby in a lawsuit. The comment was that Kooga was suing us and Latham was kept on the Board because its easier than paying someone.

Is USA Rugby that desperate? If there's one thing there doesn't seem to be a shortage of in the history of the USARFU it's lawyers..

If and when any real sponsorship, broadcast or benefactor money comes into the sport of rugby, you will see some real sports professionals flock into USA Rugby and clowns like Latham will be history. Until that time expect substandard administration at USA Rugby to be the norm.

Think Kurt's story is wrong. It was Canada we beat and we just lost to Argentina by like 2 or 3 points.

Point is the same, what would we give for those results today?

Gadzooks! You're quite right SoCal, thx.

I live in the Hartford area, and there's been a good buzz around the match this week.

USA Rugby, Munster, and the City has had a press conference yesterday that got some coverage, someone mentioned the ESPN spot, the Euro Cup trophy was on display at a local Irish Club during a High School 7's tournament, and there is an announcement expected about dedicated rugby pitches being built next to the stadium, with the support of the city.

Not exactly a massive groundswell of local support, but better than I've seen for the French and Welsh match. USA Rugby seems to be doing a better job of promoting locally.

I hope I don't have to eat my words after the gate is announced tomorrow...

BTW, from what I understand, the Kooga lawsuit is a frivolous joke.


It was the Home Depot Center, not the Staples Center. The Staples Center is where the Lakers play and the HDC is where the Galaxy play.

Good luck Eagles tomorrow. I was fortunate enough to see the game at Rentschler vs. France. I hope there are more than 6,000 there tomorrow (and hope they don't have they "invisible" posts as in that test (the posts were silver and hard to see versus the backdrop of silver stands). As long as they're taller and sturdier than the posts against Claremont Auvergne!

One more thing. There is a mention of the match on hartford.com but none on enjoycentralct.org, the two main tourist info sites for Hartford.


I think it concerns first right of refusal of the Kooga contract and I'm think USA Rugby messed up their responsibilities to the contract really bad.

It all has to do with the high and mighty attitude of the new Board. How much will this cost the membership?

LM, My understanding (and I don't claim to have all the details) is that Kooga's proposal was "renew our contract, and we won't sue you".

That is not my understanding. Kooga bought and paid for the right to renegotiate the agreement at the end of its term, before USA Rugby entered into another agreement. USA Rugby sold them this right and pocketed the funds.

It now looks like USA Rugby didn't honor the deal and moreover stiffed Kooga on a bunch of invoices where they owned Kooga money for items outside the contract.

Just more of the same from USA Rugby I'm afraid. I don't think they will be able to blame this one on poor old Doug Arnot.


The USA Eagles, led by Todd "Jawbone" Clever have dropped their 21st match in a row. Last year it was 10-6, this year it was 46-22, with a scoreline that was gentle on the Eagles performance. Munster had three knocked on scoring opportunities and one forward pass called (with a couple more made.) So it could easily have been 56-22. Is Connecticut bad luck for the Eagles? Or is the team hapless? Why the change from the venue in Boston?
At the 23rd minute, Munster made an American football style snap from the base of the scrum (oh, the irony-- though "Jawbone" looked on the verge of trying an American-style football pass at an almost quick lineout in the 55th minute) and it almost led to a try. Of course, they got a chance to kick for the posts (which they missed) after we late-charged their kicker.
The Eagles first try came via Justin Boyd who received a beautifully executed skip pass and dotted it down easily.
At the 37th minute, Boyd attempted a chip and chase. It was gathered by Munster but he covered well and made the tackle and ended up poaching the ball from the ruck and dishing to the Eagle locks with Stanfill crossing the line. (17-15 and I still have some hope in spite of my cynicism)
Justin's offensive glories were countered by his defensive failures. He put in some crunching tackles on the wing (wink wink) with his crowning glory being a high tackle, the result of his body position being just that. Too high. This penalty set up a Munster rolling maul that pushed over the line for a score in the 48th minute. Munster had two mauls cross over with little effort to collapse from the Eagles.
In the 59th minute, with a man down (see Mate Moeakiola paragraph below) the Eagles scored a try.
To use a hockey term, Mate Moeakiola is a "goon." Does this guy watch Willie Mason highlight reels to get pumped up before a match? (Just type Willie Mason into youtube) He should have been off after his eye gogue in the 20th Minute. I have not seen a move like that since I quit watching pro wrestling. Just after that he gets bundled into touch (keep in mind that he was probably the biggest man on the field) Not to mention his late punches at the 55th minute, for which he was finally sent off and which reversed our penalty.
At the 74th minute a would be well worked try by Munster was held up in goal. Shortly thereafter, Chris Wyles tried to sell that he had not knocked on his would be try, but he did not fool the assistant referee.
Munster's man Murphy (who had been held up) scored to effectively end the game and my suffering.
What if Ronan O'Gara had been playing instead of running water? What if Doug Howlett had been playing instead of being subjected to an asisinine interview? I guess if our unavailable players had been there 'Z' could have taken care of Howlett (wink wink,again). Not to mention the rest of Munster's other international players/ Heineken Cup champions.
Let's look at the bright side (and ignore 21 losses in a row) The camera work was much improved today. By my count, the ball was out of shot only twice while last game it was out of shot (insert infinity symbol) here. I thought the ref was also less conspicous.

Kyle's got it about right. Racing backwards and winning!


Nice summery.

I would disagree about the ref, tho. I don't recall a ref who was more "in the way" than CH was in this game.

He was continually in the way, ducking, and I don't think I'd ever seen a ref assist a ballcarrier before. (If you watched the injury time Munster mauling at the end of the first half, you'd have seen CH push/shove the Munster ballcarrier towards the American try line.)

Semper Fi,

So I didn't miss much by falling asleep before kickoff, eh?

Maybe it was just that he wasnt miked or they kept it a little further down in the mix.
I didnt really care about this test anyways (i.e. my crystal ball told me the outcome.) If we lose to Uruguay, I am going to start wearing my rugby Canada shirt.

Johnson's teams are playing the worse rugby the US has ever played, with more money and support than ever. Can't wait to hear his comments on the players not being fit enough.

That game brought a teir to my eyes. In my opinion there are only two things that can be deduced by the recent run the Eagles have had against clubs and full tests. Either the rest of the semi-pro rugby world has improved on a grassroots level much better than we have, or that USA Rugby is failing badly in regards to coaching even with the IRB money, foreign experts and additional matches.

You have to figure if the Eagles lose their tests in Japan it is time to call a spade a spade and start to schedule fixtures against the likes of Portugal, Spain, Korea, German, Brazil and Uraguay and accept that we are a Teir 3 rugby nation and build from there. We can not compete at this point with pro clubs, or tier 2 nations like Canada, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and I am afraid we are going to learn in Novermber also Japan.

Japan has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years, and it is not only the rugby organization. They have adopted a more western diet and are producing bigger and stronger athletes. A kid who fell in love with rugby in 1995 when he was 10 is going to have had the opportunity to eat like a westerner with little effort if he lives in an urban area (80% of Japan does). Japan has a professional league that is well monied and youth rugby has been organized and thriving for a couple decades. Japan is no pushover for the Eagle like they were in the past, and if the Eagles lose both matches I am going to officially consider USA Rugby a Tier 3 rugby nation. Bring on Brazil!

It is a work in progress. A side of mostly developmental amatuers got whooped by a side of real professionals.
A bunch of snarky, smart- assed "analysis" won't make the process speed up any faster. I think we are all aware that "we", the US MNT, aren't ready for primetime.

Dave Sitton needs to retire. I am sure he is a nice man, but I really think USA Rugby would be better served by someone with a more current rugby pedigree. It's going to be a Donnybrook...said three or four times....come on we are in the USA here and someone that stubbled onto the game wouldn't know what he is talking about, and if you are Irish and watching you would think he is an idiot. And where did he come up with corkscrew kick for a box kick or kick for touch from the #9? Put the viewers out of their misery and replace the guy.

The fat man doing the field reporting is horrible too. It's embarrassing.

Good atmosphere at the stadium yesterday, I don't know what the attendance total was but it was certainly enough to generate a decent buzz inside the park.

Downside was the excruciatingly slow ticket office. There was a ridiculously long line of people trying to pick up pre-paid tickets, so it was mid way through the first half when many people actually got to their seats. That's a failing of stadium staff however and not a USA rugby error.

Sitton and Vizard are OK together. Vizard has to save Sitton's bacon every so often. I not sure Dave Sitton knows the laws.

John Broker, has got to go. He has no future behind or in front of the camera. That fake speech pattern is beyond painful to listen to. Plus he does these sideline interviews where he words these long questions looking at the camera, waving his hands, while the guy we are meant to be hearing from just looks on. The broadcast improved somewhat in my opinion, but Broker remains the aspect which is unwatchable.

The USA Eagles are being rebuilt by Coach Johnson around several core players including Todd Clever and Chris Wyles. His first goal is to have a fit squad which seems to have improved over the last several matches. Since he is bringing in new players to size up in international competition, he has a team fielded that has played very little together...nothing close to finding that "team chemistry" that you need to win. In addition there are still far to many mental mistakes which is also somewhat explainable (can't stand mental mistakes though) which will improve over time.

There were other signs of improvement. The gainline defensive stand was awesome and resulted in the most exciting play of the day. Kicking is better also. It was a very competitive first half.

To expect a young and relatively inexperienced team (both together and internationally) to play any better after a week together is not dealing in reality.

On another note, 8300 in attendance is also an improvement and the TV cameraman that could actually follow the play was better also. Now if only we could get the crowd on the camera side?

We got twice that crowd in Houston 7 years ago, what is it an improvement over? Did you just get here too?

You got a lot of excuses for old Scott boy, I guess we'll see. Don't look good though.

Watched the game last evening after getting hove from vacation.

The first half was not bad, the second half not so good.

Some of the good that I saw was the ability to come away with points while in the opponents 22 and also taking advantage of a Munster mistake to score a try. It was a gift for sure but we took it!

The try that started from a strong defensive stand was a good one - Boyd did a nice job following up his kick and it was nice to see the two locks the first downfield to finish it off.

Most of the poor play came in the second half when there was a lot of substituting. Less experienced players came in and it showed, at least in my opinion.
But the guys do have to get experience.

One decision that I defended earlier that I will take back - the imports that have been brought in show no improvement over our home grown talent. IF Johnson is going to bring in an offshore player that player has got to be one that is going to be a legitimate impact player. Otherwise, I agree with many here that it is a waste of time and resources to bring such players in. Robbie Shaw may be that guy though Petri is aslo very good. At least between these two we have a couple very competetive half backs.

When all is said and done if the Eagles can beat Uruguay and at least split with Japan then I would say year one under the SJ regime is a minor success. Sweep the tests we have coming up ...
Well, lets hope for the best!

Will our pro players be available for the test matches?

Is the Lawsuit pleading a matter of public record? It would be great to see a copy posted to the web.

What the hell is USA Rugby doing with their broadcast team? Our Chairman knows that the most coveted audience for advertisers is the 18-34 crowd and that is exactly what was on the field! And considering that the fastest growth in rugby in the USA is at the HS and youth level, why have an old guy talking about the game being a Donnybrook and making obscure references to the first "gridiron" player to throw a forward pass? The kids will love those references! And why not have a young broadcaster - maybe someone who played college rugby - on the sideline asking the coach about an Eagle that he coached in HS? Wouldn't that be much more helpful to connect young players with a pathway to the Eagles?

Viz should be the old man in the booth and he should be surrounded by young, vibrant and excited about rugby broadcasters. Come on USA Rugby, a lot more MTV and a lot less 60 Minutes.

"IF Johnson is going to bring in an offshore player that player has got to be one that is going to be a legitimate impact player."

Hear, hear. Below-average Rugby league wingers have no place in the Eagles.

"We got twice that crowd in Houston 7 years ago, what is it an improvement over? Did you just get here too?"

For the Springboks, which is by far the biggest home Test the Eagles have played ever. If the Eagles somehow figure out to ask the All Blacks, who travel through America every year, for a Test match and get 8300 then there's grounds for complaint.

8300 is an improvement over the Wales crowd of 2 years before when Wales were the Grand Slam winners, so it's not bad.

By the way, the NZRFU is talking to USA Rugby about hosting a Test vs. Australia in the USA. The USA needs to fix up a curtain raiser vs Canada for that game, and should be talking to NZ a Test vs the All Blacks. We'd get murdered but it'd bring a huge crowd and new people to rugby.

Both Oz and NZ rugby unions are looking for ways to raise money on the backs of their national teams. The Fall internationals are basically a trip to the bank for these unions, with a sold out Twickers a big payday. This Spring includes a fourth Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong, which is basically a money making scheme. There is no reason they would not look to USA for a fourth Bledisloe Cup match in 2009. I would love to see that match in the USA.

Don't know how many tickets they could sell, but a sold out Rose Bowl or Coliseum in LA would be great visibility for the sport in the USA. A sold out MLS stadium wouldn't get on the sports media radar. They need to go large, or it wouldn't be worth it for them or the USA.

When these big test come our way, I'm sure these pro outfits are looking forward to using our unions media team, broadcasting team, event management arm. NOT!

This union has so much potential being wasted by this out of touch administration.

“We are happy to be able to walk away with this win,” Munster Coach Tony McGahan said. “We knew coming into this match that the U.S. would provide tough competition and they didn’t disappoint. To be able to put up 46 points against the U.S. was no easy feat.”

-Is that last line sarcasm? Either way it hurts.

I guess Munster sees these matches in the USA as a way to broaden their fan base, and revenue opportunities, in the same fashion that football teams like Arsenal, ManU, Chelsea, Real Madrid, AC Milan, etc expand their fan base with exhibition matches in Asia and the USA. They didn't come for the rugby! Munster botched at least 3 scoring opportunities, and gave away one try. The real scoreline should have bee 60+ to 15.

LOL at "Viz should be the old man in the booth". If I played along side him than I guess that would make me somewhat long in the tooth as well....

Anyone know of scheduled re-broadcasts of this match? Eventhough I have read the forensic report, I would still like to see for myself.

Z, Emerick, Big Mac, Hercus in the lineup will certainly help us in the full internationals later this year.

I believe Setanta archives the games so you should be able to see it there.

Munster's best Int'ls stayed home. These were provincial guys, and this province is smaller than Pennsylvania in area and population. Their guys are the equivalent of college footballers, aged 22-25.

If you want to coach US world cup guys, hang up your boots, and go find a youth club of 11 year olds, Clever & co. will be ancient by the time the US has relevance on the world stage.

Hey SDHitman,

If your ISP supports it go to www.espn360.com and launch their player. the game is archived there.

Really? had a great point. Viz is good...he needs someone more like the age of the one's playing the game...and for that matter -how about a ripped blonde rugger hugger on the sidelines with the brief interviews. Gotta be a bunch of em out there with media experience and knowledge of the game...I know 2. ;)

My bad...1 blonde and 1 redhead

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