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04 September 2008


Chris Wyles isn't English. Can somebody please remind me of the requirements of being American again???

Is both parents and being born and raised in America not enough?? or does your parents taking a job abroad and taking you with them at an early age make you less American?

Maybe we should start questioning Military serviceman's loyalty to their country for taking their families with them when posted abroad....

when are you going to do some research before writing your ill-informed articles? What a great American you are!

Stop for crying out loud. Chris grew up an Englishmen. Didn't involve himself in America or US rugby until he came here to play in late 2006.

He is eligible and we want him, but lets not pretend he grew up on main street playing little league.

Wyles didn't involve himself in America? How the hell do you know that? Even if you did, who are you to judge?

This anti-foreigner crap has just delved into petty jealousy. Wyles has more stamps on his passport than you - get over it.

Chris Wyles lived in the U.S. until he was 12 years old. He may have played Little League. I agree with "sick and tired" Wyles is an American.

The newbie wonders 'why havent they thought of this before?' Common in other international sports.

Because it cost money. USA Rugby is paying a salary for a player that will only play a few matches a year for the Eagles. As an organization, they have very little money, so spending money on a salary for a player who plays rugby in a different country, for a different team, is a costly decision.

Nigel's point that Chris will be in a full time training environment, which should improve his play is acknowledged. However, the business decision remains, how much will Chris improve and what else could funds like these be spent on to better development US rugby?

If US rugby funding was no issue, like in the sports who 'loan' players, this is an easy decision. In our situation, these types of decisions need to be viewed differently. We need to prioritize every dollar. A full time salary such as this could provide small training grants for a team of talented 19 year olds. Every dollar need a return on investment analysis.

The article states: "One's view may depend on the reading of an interview which not only outlines the deal, but also makes clear the union has little faith in the ability of American teams to produce international players."

Can anyone here seriously suggest that our domestic teams do have the ability to produce international players at the moment? Because that's absurd. Our teams our amateurs, even at the highest levels. I've played club rugby at the highest levels in this country (not on the Super League side, admittedly). We have some fine athletes and players, far far better than me, for example. But to suggest that they are in any way the equivalent of full time professionals getting paid to play in countries where rugby is what professional football or baseball is here -- it's ludicrous. That's just reality - our clubs don't have any money to pay anybody because nobody cares about rugby here. So to produce international level players who can actually hope to compete with even second tier countries, let alone with the Six Nations and Tri-Nations countries, our players need to be paid to play overseas. Look at Argentina - they are vastly better than us. Pretty much all of their players play in France or somewhere in the northern hemisphere, because club rugby in Argentina isn't good enough. And club rugby in Argentina is almost certainly better than it is here because, while rugby will never equal soccer in Argentina, it's still a popular sport.

American rugby is full of people who think that the only way to do things is to do them 100% American. It's ridiculous - that is the pathway to the 32 years of international mediocrity and worse that we've had up to this point. It's not our fault - rugby just isn't a popular sport here. People don't watch, nobody cares, and our best athletes don't play because there's no money. So we HAVE to send people overseas.

I hope we can do a deal like this for 45 Eagles - if we can actually get all of our players playing and training full time overseas, we can actually have a good national team. It works for Argentina, or did you not notice they made it to the semi final of the World Cup fielding an entire team of players who play their club rugby in France?

BTW - I fully understand the argument that there needs to be a dollar analysis for every decision, and it's totally valid. It's a decision we need to make - do we want to have the best national team we can have or do we want to spend our money on that team of talented 19 year olds. In a perfect world, the answer is both, of course. But I would suggest that in a world in which we are struggling to get a foothold for rugby in this country, the fastest path to recognition is to have the best national team we can have. America likes a winner. Look what the gold medal in hockey in 1980 did for ice hockey in this country - the NHL entered a golden age in the 1980's and early 1990's that it hasn't returned to since.

Correct me if i'm wrong but isn't one of the huge issues that american's trying to play professionally abroad face is the work visa issue? ie, they don't qualify to work in the EU unless they prove to be significantly better suited than a European? Or am I completely off base and our players just are that awful that they can't even get on at national 1 or 2 level?

Any word on where Clever is going to play?


I think you're correct.

It seems that this sort of system (having players in the Euro leagues) has worked well for Canada. Look at our results against them in the last 5 years. I'll admitt that it might be easier for the Canucks to get permits based on being a commonwealth nation but then again I may be wrong.

10 caps for your country is what it takes to get a visa to play in the UK. That is the anecdotal evidence that is needed to show that you are better equipped to perform consistently better than a native.

Pathway bull by the way. You need the u-20's playing the same patterns as the seniors. same game start and vison. You need an academy that can take and immerse these kids in the game....you need to send the kids to France, UK, SA, NZ at 19 yrs old and pay at the same time time as paying 10 cap plus pros to train in elite environments.

I'll take the bait. Lets say with overseas work rules and all, we get our top 15 players playing overseas, in full time training environments with this USAR 'loan' the player out program. This will cost us a pretty penny, but lets assume for a moment it can and did happen.

These players would improve no doubt. Therefore the Eagles would improve. The question is how much? Which losing match we have played in over the last couple years becomes a victory? Done, is my bet. I welcome the conversation whereby someone can make a case for a victory from any of these drubbing. Even if we aren't 0-13 and improve by a couple of matches, what has really changed?

This is back to how misguided the mission is. If we were to take these same funds and investment them in younger players with a chance to be really good it would be a more sound decision. Further, investing all this IRB grant money, NA4 wasted money and all the manpower and salaries being spent on the Eagles would assure a real and strong plan for our future.

Spend money on improving domestic rugby where many 1000 of young athletes play. Spend money on youth, high school and university elite pathways. Spend money on making club rugby better, with improved capacity, venues, coaching and refs.

Spend money on a domestic broadcasting strategy.

Instead Boulders plan is to spend money on the Eagles in a misguided belief that this will propel the overall success of US rugby. It won't. This rugby union like all rugby unions will need to be built from the ground up.

Final take on the USA Rugby plan, take players that professional rugby doesn't want to contract, (ala Emrick, MacDonald) and award them USA Rugby contacts, then send these players overseas as free players to professional clubs. Someone please explain to me how this modest improvement these US club players will enjoy will provide a return greater than investing in domestic rugby. Lose less often and by less isn't a plan! Let's create a plan to win.

Wouldn't it be helpful for all if Mr. Melville would lay out his plan in black and white for the USA Rugby community rather than us having to guess it? While I have great admiration for him and all he has accomplished in the game, I find Mr. Melville's lack of communication with the USA Rugby community to be totally counterproductive. We have to speculate on what USA Rugby's plan is, assume certain motivations that drive the plan, and resort to screaming from the bleachers on websites like this as a means of expressing our views. If they would outline their strategy, explain how and why they've come to it, and open it to some modicum of debate, perhaps we can all get on the same page and get behind USA Rugby. There is nothing on the USA Rugby website that approximates such a plan and his scant number of interviews offer little of substance.

If he and Scott Johnson think the USA club structure is inadequate for producing a competitive national side, say so and give us a plan to fix it. Don't insinuate it with comments like Scott Johnson's. Tell the truth - we can take it.

As it is, sadly, I feel as though Nigel Melville wants only my financial support and considers any quid pro quo unnecessary. Maybe I'm just a dumb Yank in his eyes, but I think he needs me, and all of us in the USA Rugby community, more than I or we need him. If he wants our support, he has to earn it with a clearly laid out vision and plan until the results can speak for themselves. Right now, the results of his short tenure are not promising and I have no reason to expect anything different in the future.

Kurt, a little short of material for this week? So, this is BAD that Wyles is on a loan program to improve his game? What am I missing?

I have not problem with Wyles getting this sort of deal and I hope we get another 10-20 players on these type of contracts. That being said - this "build for today" strategy will only take us so far. I agree with so many other readers who are anxious to hear the rest of the story and how we will be growing the game at the grassroots level.

I must admit I've never read the word "secondment" in my life so if nothing else, I can add that to my vocabulary! If I can throw my hat into the never ending debate of how to improve the Eagles...

I fully get the argument for having players go abroad for rugby immersion in NZ, SA, Britain, France, etc. to improve their skills. Fine. But remember, these improved players must come back to an Eagle camp that consists of many domestic-based (i.e. amateur) players, and, rugby being the ultimate team game, their advanced skills are diluted among the other amateurs on the team. The result is consistent losses to the other professional sides of the world. This is our current dilemma.

What's the answer? I believe we need to take a Soviet approach to USA rugby. Yes, I know, it's difficult for us Americans to associate the word "Soviet" with anything positive (I lived in the former USSR for 2 years--I know how much it sucks!!), but if the Soviets did anything right, it was put together some amazing athletes. Take their olympic hockey team. With the exception of the Squaw Valley and Lake Placid Olympics, they throttled everyone they encountered. They were able to do this because all team members played, practiced, and trained together for long periods of time.

Imagine if the Eagles did this. Imagine if USA Rugby contracted 25-30 Eagles to live, train, practice, together (in the USA)full time. Team cohesion can more than make up for individual shortcomings of rugby intuition. The Eagles put out a very respectable performance in the World Cup's toughest pool in large part because they were together for more than a month. We can't throw together a team to train for a week and expect them to do well against a professional side. There needs to be a group synergy. Instead of pissing money into an NA4 and loaning out Eagles to clubs abroad, use the funds to have the pool train together full time.

If the focal point of international rugby is the result of the national team, work to improve the TEAM, not in a peicemeal fashion. Otherwise, I believe we will continue to swirl in the drain and have the likes of Brazil and Korea nipping at our heels.

Go Eagles!!

I'm just trying to figure out how we are paying for all of this... Two years ago we didn't have two nickels to rub together and now we (USAR) are putting players under contract and flying in players for matches?

IRB grants, raised dues and National Guard sponsorship seem to be the only visible and tangible cash infusion into USAR.

Let’s see the budget and maybe we can get an idea of how it translates into a strategic direction. Hopefully it will show that the IRB cash is funding these types of arrangements, along with all the other “high performance” objectives (NA4, Eagles matches, etc). However, if the general fund and/or the National Guard cash is being used to support the high performance initiative then I think it is incredibly short sighted and money ill spent.

How is this initiative creating an atmosphere that will “inspire America to fall in love with rugby”? I just can’t figure out how a successful national team is going to translate into a more popular and inviting atmosphere locally… Somebody help me out because I am quickly losing my patience with all this nonsense… I’m on track to send USAR about $12k this year - should we choose to require USAR membership with our programs. While that may not be a lot of money in the national budget, it sure would be nice to keep that money at home.

Oh, and I watched the last South Africa / Australia test again last night. It was very moving to watch all those boys stand arm in arm and sing their national anthem before the match.

Serzhantovo hits the nail on the head. Until USA Rugby can establish an Eagles facility and employ and train a TEAM together, we will not be competive with Tier 1 nations. And as always, this is a matter of money (or lack thereof).

What if USA Rugby hired a high powered lobbyist to make our case in Congress for funding for our Eagles. With the billions of dollars spent on "pork barrel" projects in the Federal budget, we might be able to convince our Federal government to fund such a project to bring us competitive in one of the world's most popular sports. Our argument could be one of national pride, pure and simple. Surely there has to be someone in Washington that has played rugby or has ties to rugby that could champion such a cause. You would expect the lawmakers where the proposed facility would locate to at least be interested in such a proposal. We are talking their language...jobs, economic development, sport, and national pride after all.

Again, Da Truth does speak the truth. What is so bad about an Eagle improving his game in Europe?

And lastly, the upcoming movie Forever Strong could do more for promoting rugby in the US than anything anybody else could do in the short term. Strike while the iron is hot and let's head to D.C. for some funding for our national team!

With my campaign over Bill is available to do some lobbying. Upon College graduation he won a Rhodes Scholarship to University College, Oxford where he studied Government. He developed an interest in rugby union, playing at Oxford and later for the Little Rock Rugby club in Arkansas

I know Flynn likes to consider himself an expert on all things rugby, so I thought it would be interesting to see how the young Welsh U20 scrum half did in his first Magners League match of the year. This is the guy Flynn considered rubbish and couldn't hold Petri's jock.

Teenage scrum-half Rhys Webb was undaunted amidst the Ospreys' 13 internationals and the Wales Under-20 star showed that Jamie Nutbrown will have to fight for the number nine jersey when he arrives from New Zealand.

RTE Sport
Their advantage in the contact areas and tackle situations, with Marty Holah particularly prominent, allied to an eye-catching display from Under-20 international Rhys Webb helped Holley's men keep ahead.


Better late than never, to come aboard the 'we can do better express'.

No budget in three years. No attempt to explain the unions financial picture. This is all privileged information. A whole bunch of lip service on important stuff like HS and college rugby.

The Boulder staff and budget is consumed by the Eagles. As short sighted as this is, we can't even complain except on message boards. We no longer have representation at the local or regional level. Its as if this is some bad dream we can't wake from.

The supporters of this madness make those questioning the performance and approach of the leadership, out to be disloyal.

Count me as part of the group that loved rugby and particularly US rugby long before these clowns told me to do so. These USA Rugby leaders know the right thing to do is to be accountable and present budgets and the direction they are taking us and they're not doing it, by choice. I've had enough, its time for them to go, the lot of them.

Arranging for our best players to play overseas is an excellent idea. It has been done in the past in an adhoc way and it improved their performance. It wasn't all that difficult to do and didn't cost a whole lot of money. Today's professional game has changed the cost aspect of that equation. One has to ask, is that now the best place to spend today's dollars? Guess it depends on how many we have and where else we might better spend them.

Placing an entire Eagle team in overseas club situations is not entirely a bad idea either, unless that is the primary focus of the national leaders and the primary expenditure of the union's financial resources....as it appears it may be.

Creating a year-round rugby training facility for the entire Eagle team is not a bad idea either. Other American sports have done that successfully for years within the USOC. However, it's a bad idea if it is the primary use of the union's funds....as it likely would be.
Maybe sponsors for such a facility could be found. The chances of that happening would be increased only if our sport had more meaning in American communities than it evidently does today. An Eagle victory or two or even participation in the next RWC isn't likely to move that needle all that much on main street.

Neither approaches have much of anything to do with building or improving rugby as a sport in this country, which -- unless we have been misinformed these many years -- is the mission and charge of the national union and its officers and staff.

The only way to improve rugby in this country is to spend our national union dollars and personnel resources on youth, highschool, collegiate and club program development.

The Eagles are, after all, a product of what that base produces today. I've seen little, if anything meaningful being done by the current national leadership to improve that base. Am I missing something important that has eminated from Boulder in that regard?

We need to quit wasting what little we have chasing the next Eagle win....a win that will soon be forgotten by even the most involved fans of the game.....let alone the American sporting public.

The Eagles are not American rugby. They are only a small part of a bigger entity that is getting the short end of the stick due to the focus of those who presently run the union.

I guess we should be careful of what we asked for.....sometimes things can get worse..... and it looks like they have.

Ed Schram, Sr.

Logic exercise.

Eagles compete against professionals
Domestic league not professional
International leagues professional
Eagle pool players should play in ________ leagues

Business exercise.

Your business has limited resources.
Your business aspires to be the best.
Your business needs to prioritize its developmental approach.
Your business will reach its goals by using strategic planning and financial discipline.

Nice business exercise. I hope you don't run one.

Come on, you can do better than insults.

No one can argue in the main about contracting players with our limited money and sending them overseas to play, if the only gage of success is improvement over whatever standard they would have reached staying in American. If this is as far upfield as you can see, its you who can't run a business.

The first question that needs to be asked of the expenditure is what amount of player improvement are we counting on. If we take the first two candidates Wyles and Clever, we shouldn't expect much. Both are among the Eagles most seasoned players, lots of international experience. Both have been playing the sport since they were school boys. They should improve, but not by much. It would however make sense that really good athletes with limited rugby experience would improve at a more rapid rate in a full time professional training environment.

The real business evaluation is calculating the effect and benefit this individual player improvement will have on the Eagles win-lose record. If for example, this plan resulted in significantly more Eagles victories it would be somewhat defensible. If the plan only produces slightly better performances and not many more victories, then it is a luxury we can't afford.

Some might want this examination to continue to the negative effect it will have on our domestic competitions, but I'll stop here.

The counter balance is what else could have been done with this money. Many believe much more is the answer. That we could use this money to develop something more substantial and lasting in our domestic ability to develop world class players.

Why isn't this even being discuss and why are we chasing these Eagles victories with such blind conviction? Because its more sexy for the foreign crowd running USA Rugby than the, unglamorous brick by brick building of American rugby. The time frames don't suit their careers or commitment to the task.

They'll leave soon enough, claiming victory of some type, blaming us for the things they couldn't get done and we will be left to carry on as we always have, building US rugby from the ground up.

We will have lost time, blown millions and jeopardized the IRB faith that an investment in US rugby will work. But we will carry on, because I suspect we loved US rugby before they told us we should.

Players who will be national team for the next 4 or more years aged 20-26 placed into quality setups with facilities, trainers and coaching is the way to go.
Get the best qualified (talent,work visa, test caps qualified) into overseas setups and then get the next tier of domestic players playing together.
I like the idea of 7 or 8 guys playing for a single club like Denver in World Cup Year or OMBAC in the early 90's or Aspen when they had their run in the late 90's.


Be accountable? Present budgets?

Do you mean like the transparent budgets put together and presented by the USA Rugby leaders before these "clowns" took over?

Maybe you can tell us from these budgets where the $10 MILLION from the BskyB deal went? That wasn't too long ago now was it and i don't remember much of that making it to youth rugby or the eagles for that matter!

Remember, there was money in USA Rugby that shadowed the IRB grant before the message boards started up criticizing what the leadership do with the small contribution that the IRB give now!

S&T you obviously are not informed and not bright. I will not discuss my views with you.


This $1m a year over 10 years provided 100% of the Eagles budget and every dime was accounted for as part of the budgets USA Rugby published.

No cipp funds, general sponsorships and IRB grants were then used by the Eagles.

Looks like a good model from where we sit today.

I'm not sure the relevance of a 1995 broadcasting agreement and the USAR 2008 Wyles player contract. Except to agree that we knew a hell of a lot more about union finances during those earlier years, than we know today.

USA Rugby had an outside, professionally audited financial statement in the form of a year-end annual report published every year. The then Board of Directors, released budget information at the beginning of the year for every line item. These were heavily debated and public discussions on where and why funds were being spent.

The contrast between what the membership knew about their rugby union then and what we know now is night and day. Considering the amount of IRB money flowing to USAR, dues on 60k of us, the size of the union staff, the high wages of several key employees and the plans to now contract players, this is a disconcerting fact.

We know our performance on the field is worse than ever before. We know we are spending more money than ever before. How can it be the union members have less information than ever before?

The significance of the 1995 deal that funded the Eagles for 10 years is that USA Rugby basically didn't do anything else to support the game. During this same period of time the game went professional and the giants and minnows alike made moves to improve the game. Places like Romania, Georgia, Argentina and to some extent Canada placed players in pro leagues in France and the UK. Existing rugby nations established pro leagues, but also created an academy system that turned kids into pro rugby players at 18 years old, with many not going to college. So, we are losing out on two fronts. Established rugby nations have raised the bar in all areas, and that is why clubs are able to beat our national team. The minnows now have 10 years of professional culture in their national team, and it takes that long as was seen by the Argentina performance in the WC. Now we have other minnows using the IRB money in conjunction with either national sporting organizations and funds, or partnering with existing cash rich sporting organizations like in Spain where the biggest football clubs are buying rugby clubs and forming pro leagues to try to generate additional revenue from an already maxed out domestic market for football. Germany is doing a little of both on these fronts, and I think Portugal has always had a rugby/football facilities and ownership relationship. Does USA Rugby have the same options? No not really? Do we have other options? Yes. Do the members see a defined plan or just some dabbling? Just dabbling. Are we sliding farther back? Yes. Is there no way to make a huge leap forward? Yes. Does it involved money and existing athletes from other sports? Yes. Is it a chicken and egg scenario? Yes. Can it be solved? I think so, but it is going to take some real leadership and a little celebrity to mix things up.

USAR is a 501c3 meaning you can pretty easily get their 990 on line. You can compare revenue and expenses and on some issues the numbers will validate an obvious strategic direction. As with most things, follow the dollar and you will find the priorities.

I keep hearing and reading comments about the keys to national team success like it is the linchpin of all things rugby in the US. I just don't see it. Don't get me wrong, I am a supporter of the Eagles and have spent a lot of money to watch them play this year. I just don't see the correlation between national team success and overall success and acceptance of our sport inside the US.

If we build our infrastructure here in the US, I think that our competition will be appealing enough to attract the elite athlete from within and outside the US. Heck, based on the rosters of some of the college teams my boys play today, it seems that its already very appealing to come to the US to play collegiate rugby. Just image if we actually built a proper foundation for competition...

Clever signs with Super 14 Lions for 2009 S14 and Currie Cup competitions. Link: http://www.super14.com/news/viewarticle.asp?id=15438

If this contract didn't cost USA Rugby, it is perfect. Our best players should be able to earn overseas contracts, they always have.

Looks like it's SA's gain and USA's loss if Clever is giving up 7's
He has been such a draw towards building 7's in America. Such a shame that USA couldn't muster up the funds to keep the talented Clever here to continue the building of the 7's program. In a perfect world he should have had a sponsor similar to what they have in golf or even volleyball. I wish Toddy well in his new endeavors but I will sure miss him as well. Say what you will and there will probably be the typical jerks that will post their ignorance and negative remarks - but know that he is a fine young man and I am proud of how he represents our sport and our nation. God speed Toddy!

Clever in SA...perfect. His pretty boy attitude and unorthodox hairstyle (at least in SA) will go over well with the Saffers! He is going to get a lot of stick....this is great the culture shock should help his game.

Yep, that jaw bone gig was some serious representing.

Dude, (Frenchy) Clever isn't the first player we've had go overseas. Let's not get misty eyed. He'll be back for tests, maybe sooner if he doesn't play well.

What is the point you are trying to make about this being USAR's loss? This is what happens ideally to our best players, they sign overseas pro contracts.

The best thing for Clever is to play 15s overseas and not to be hanging out in Pacific Beach SD with the OMBAC guys waiting for the next 7s gig to happen.

I would love to be in the changing room when Clever is sitting amongst a group of Dutch boys with 50s haircuts and 70s porn mustaches when he is playing with his long locks. First ruck or maul a handful of hair is going to get pulled out. He already has 2 targets on his back; an international and an American. He doesn't need a third; long flowing hair. I have spent time in SA, and there is a distinct cultural association with having long hair. In a country that is hyper-segregated, and not only with race, he is going to get some shit. I wouldn't be surprised to see it gone before long.

Good luck and God Speed Todd!!!!! It would be great if you commenters actually read the article before spending your time on Todd's hair. He believes that his game will improve in SA playing professionally. And the fact that he is going to a team blessed with fine forwards shows the belief of team management that Todd will also get better (if you can imagine our best Eagle actually getting better). Lastly, the first person that pulls his hair will get a face full of fist and arm I am sure. He is going to do just fine in SA and be a better star for the Eagles than he already is...

So, let's see what we have so far. Wyles contract overseas -- bad. Clever contract in the Super 14? Another example of the incompetence of Boulder. Conspiracies abound... The negativity of the posters (and often the author) on this blog astound me.

There's no doubt that we need a strong grassroots program -- but all you guys who are bitching about the new coaching staff after three months -- how long do you think it's going to take to build out a strong grassroots program?

Do you know of ANY professional, much less amateur, sporting program who has been turned around in three months (or a business for that matter...)? Look at Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys in the early '90s -- there's an organization where money was more than plentiful, and it still took three years to turn it around.

By all means, let's discuss the merits of developing a strong grassroots program and culture.

But, for the love of William Webb Ellis, please stop bitching about how Scott Johnson and his program is a failure -- after three months. The results are not in -- not even close.

Da Truth does speak the truth yet again!

Da Truth, I mean Da Dumb,

USAR paid for Wyles' contact, then loaned him out for free, hooker style.

The Lions are paying for Clever, in similar fashion as Big Mac and Paul E contracts. If you don't understand this distinction and the comments on this distinction, you should give up the name, and use Da Confused.

Also an injury got Todd his first chance at being a pro, not Boulder.

I almost can't believe how lame it is for you to use the deep pockets of the Cowboys and Jimmy Johnson's three years before success as an indication of the new administrations go at this. I will always remember this as the Da Truth signature post, where 502 wet his pants endorsing.

What a couple of tools out of the shed you two are.

To quote a phrase, Really?

"you can do better than that with the insults.

But pray continue to dazzle the readership with your wit and intelligence and we will continue to read your drivel with an awed hush!

I'm curious as to how South Africans are going to hate Todd Clever for his long, flowing locks, when there are loads of Afrikaner players with long hair. Burger, Steyn, Matfield, it goes on and on. Arguably even more at the provincial level than in the Boks.

Nah, I think the simplest way to judge whether fans will take to Todd Clever is to see how well Todd Clever plays. If Todd busts ass, then the Saffies are going to like him.

Wow!... (I can't believe I'm actually taking the time to respond to this) -- you may want to re-read the post before you start typing while intoxicated.

I clearly understand the difference in the two contracts -- yet both were panned on this blog. The point is, no matter what happens, it's pointed out here as a negative.

The point about the Cowboys (let me make the mental leap here on on the analogy, since you're apparently not capable) -- is that even a team with more or less an unlimited source of cash (understanding the constraints of a salary cap) and phenomenal talent on the field and off, took three years to turn it around -- not three months, as some on this blog are expecting.

So, please, "Wow" pull your head out and try not to type up every thought that breezes between your pretty little ears, unless you can add something to the conversation.


What a fouled mouthed dumbass. Where to start. Clever is not the first pro players American has had. Can you really be this stupid? His NZ NPC gig was very semi pro. In case you are interested the entire NPC is semi pro, except for nationally contracted players dropping down. I will not address you further, you need to get over your man crush and speak to someone who understands the truth about our many overseas professional players.

Flynn the charlatan retuns! Where is your review about Webb's first match with the Ospreys?

Being someone that played in SA in the amateur days, has hosted players here in the states from SA and goes to SA every other year I can say with good certainty that unless Clever has some major personality or talent he is going to get some stick for his hair. The commentators will be making Samson and handbag/skirt/high heel jokes every chance they get.

The insults and profanity do nothing but discredit and overshadow your opinion. Such irresponsibility and boorish behavior is one of the reasons our sport has at times not flourished on the amateur level.

Kurt should issue yellow cards.

No response needed since my participation in this thred has hereby ended.

On to more productive things...

502 is right. Todd is the first professional American player to get a contract. Hodges and Lyle got paid by Llanelli and Bath with wooden OMBAC dollars redeemable only at Club Nationals, the COP party, and OTL.....

Your point is just that...

You try to chastise me as foul mouthed and simultaneously call me a dumbass? Where is the logic in that...?

I stand corrected. Todd Clever is one of the few professional rugby players for USA Rugby...a negligable difference that has no affect at all on my point. My position still stands which you just admitted btw.

Someone made a wholly incorrect statement about our best Eagle and then a disparaging crack at me. I will respond accordingly.

And so what if I am proud of Todd Clever? Aren't US rugby stars one of the things that would promote rugby in the US? If only we had more rugby heros to look up to...

I thought I was right initially. Thank you SD Hitman for the facts.

Haters all around, Clever is our best player and, as far as I know, the only America to EVER be signed to a Super 14 team...no small feat. How you people can come on here and try to belittle that is unreal. Good for Clever, even better for USA rugby.


How about just the US pro players who made or are making twice Clever wage.

Lyle, Gross, Hodges, MacDonald, Schubert, Emerick. Should I keep going.

Go give Toddy a knob job, tool. I first US pro player indeed.

Dear First?,

You state, "1 first pro player indeed".

Are you referring to Clever's #1 position in Sevens? Are you capable of formulating a complete sentence? I need to know what you are talking about before I shoot you down.

Always had a hard time in that third grade English class didn't you?

And to the sentence that actually makes sense, how do you know anything about Clever's contract? What difference does that make anyway. You really have no idea what you are talking about do you...


Lets review, you foolishly bragged your male friend 'Toddy' was American rugby's first real pro. All a couple people did was point out how wrong you were. Hey, nothing to get upset about, you've got some experience in being wrong. Just change the subject and post away at the top of your lungs.

Just to clarify one point -- I may be mistaken here, but I believe Clever is indeed the first American player to have been contracted by USARugby.

Does the lack of invective from the howler monkeys indicate that this is true - Clever is the first centrally contracted player?

If a bag of peanuts and per diem is a contract, maybe so. Do you need this point so bad as to lose all perspective on the point?

We have had many good old American players earn professional contracts abroad. Todd Clever was not good enough until now, assuming USAR isn't paying his contract and is 'loaning' him out, to earn one.

Why is this simple fact so hard to understand. We've have several pros currently overseas earning contracts in the open market. Clever was contracted by USAR for a ham sandwich because no other pro team in the entire world offered him a rugby contract. Now, maybe this has changed, lets hope so. The plan for USAR to contract players with union funds and send them overseas is a failed plan. Lets wait to hear the details.

Ummmm.... perspective? I believe the conversation was around a few point (well, several, if you want to count the all-important ponytail-pulling point)

I'll be happy to walk you through them, so as to refresh your memory:

A) The post (remember the original post?) was about professional pathways -- if Clever (and I still haven't hear anything to the contrary) was the first centrally contracted play in the US, then YES, that is an important distinction, as it signifies a new model for USA Rugby.

B) He's the first American to be contracted in the Super 14 (don't try and slip in DeBartolo on this one, either).

So, yeah, it is an important distinction to make in the overall conversation, and an other, parallel avenue that USARugby is taking.

And again, stop your hand-wringing and whinging with "The plan for USAR to contract players with union funds and send them overseas is a failed plan." How long has Wyles been there? A week? Two? You're probably in the same "sky is falling" group who's whinging about the failure of Scott Johnson after three months.

Enough whining! NOTHING in business or sports develops in three months...

My man...that is THE truth...nicely done.

This is the third season for the new leadership of Kevin Roberts and Nigel Melville. Their 2nd hand picked coach Scott Johnson is concluding his first season on the job.

These three seasons have been our worse ever from a win-loss view. Johnson at this point is mostly known for flying in below average players without a connection to our country. After the match they fly home across an ocean. Johnson is additionally known for bagging the players, without suggesting his coaching could be better. His teams look disorganized.

The Eagles will need to win the up coming test matches and they will need to look like a vastly improved team in doing so.

The management of USA Rugby will need to offer up some sort of plan before long.

The overall performance of this group over the past three seasons has been shocking.

"concluding his first season on the job" ?

Again, repeat after me -- three months on the job....

An entire Tri-nations or super 14 occurs during this period. We are past the half way point of the season, we have three matches left. This is the job. It can't be spun any different.

Hi Tick Tock,

Nice attempt at revisionist history. Melville started with USAR in 1/1/07. He has not even been on the job 2 years yet.

Turning around the mess created by Arnot/Latham/Merrill and the Old Board is not something that can be done overnight. This organization was in absolute freefall before the changes. I see the positive changes that have been made like the hiring of Johnson, the termination of Humm and other National Office dead-weight and I'm sure more are coming.

Thorburn was not Melville's handpicked coach. He was in place before before Melville was employed and there was no reason to change him so close to the world cup. A new coach at that point couldn't have changed the outcome so Roberts/Melville just watched it play out.

Now I'm sure the rest of you want to get back to bitching and tearing things down rather than making a change in your little corner of the rugby world. Act locally people.


Three season isn't three years, its three season. From everything these chaps say the Eagles are all that matters, so they should be tied to the Eagle seasons. Nigel re-appointed Thorburn, thus hand picked him. He also let Thorburn take the oldest team in our history to RWC. Thorburn was allowed to use the NA4 as an old guy trial, as apposed to a development competition like Canada used it. This all resulted in the bag of dung that Johnson got.

BTW, do you think they will turn around the Latham and Merrill's USA Rugby mess by keeping these clowns as part of the leadership group?

The clock is ticking, we have fallen to 20th in the world and we are living on IRB welfare and a dues hike on kids. We have a bloated staff, no local representation and are being bullshitted at every turn.

tick tock,

You state, "An entire Tri-nations or super 14 occurs during this period" referring to the 3 months SJ has been on the job.

I guess the many years of professional rugby these teams played before are meaningless?

We are talking about 3 months, and a 3 months where he was in actual face to face contact with his players for a matter of days.

And in that blink of an eye he fielded a much fitter squad which was his first goal. Instead of beating up on the coach we should be acknowledging his tremendous challenge, time constraints and goal attainment...

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