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11 July 2011


It will be interesting to see how the next two games work out, but we need to consider the standard of rugby the NZU U21 side brings. The full NZU side just toured Japan in April and finished it with a match they won comfortably against the Australian Universities team. That squad of 25 had 13 players with ITM Cup level (or higher) experience. The NZU U21 side is a new concept, but you would assume that players under 21 that were good enough would be in the full side squad that went to Japan and Sydney. However, there is no cross over between the two touring squads. Not even with coaches or management. The NZ U20 side that won the Jr World Cup contained players pursuing pro rugby contracts and not university students.

If I had to compare standards, I would say it works out as follows:

NZ U20 = USA Selects or Eagles
NZU = RSL or mens D1 Champion
NZ U21 = Mens D2 Champion or top 32 mens D1 side

Not putting down the effort of the AAs, but we need to be realistic. I think the NZU U21 side is out matched by the bigger and more athletic AAs, and the AAs should sweep the series.

Well done the AA, but the main news has got to be this tax hike!

Make sure that everyone, and I mean everyone, makes a claim on this blatant silent taxation!

What it all means - your analysis seems about right - this is a picked over age group in NZ. ITM (contracted players & and Heartlands not contracted are already playing in NZ, U-20's finished and NZU's, as you said, are not part of this group. AA's should win the next two games.

However I agree, this is a good effort for the AA's - we would have lost these games in the past - with no hope of winning.

Beating NZ in any form of rugby competition is admirable. Eventhough they're not the top crop of U20's in NZ, these Kiwis have been playing the game for the majority of their lives and have considerable training, facilities, coaching, and playing advantages we can only dream of. Credit the AA coaching staff, top 25 US college rugby coaches, youth clubs, and the proliferation of rugby fitness programs for the victory. In a very short time span, the AA Program was able to put it all together to beat a NZ rugby squad of comparable age. How would Ice Blacks, Black Socks, and Tall Blacks do against our NCAA hockey, baseball, and basketball All Americans 2nd, 3rd, or honorable mention teams??

This was a U21s side. Many may like to simply disregard these guys but put this into perspective. Many of these guys are the product of the world's leading playing nations having played arguably the highest standards of junior Rugby anywhere. Many have played representive structures there and have been brought up on the game. The AA's couldn't be any different. This win is significant, not necessarily monumental but significant.

SD Hitman & WC Rugger,
On the mark and very well stated.
To the detractors, spin on it!

I know you guys want this to mean something BIG for rugby in the USA, but the reality is that the side they brought is not that big physically or particularly talented for their age grade. Just because you are born in a rugby nation doesn't mean squat.

Are you the same guys in club rugby that go goo-goo gaa-gaa when an accent shows up to coach your side? Deal with it gentlemen.

The AA's beat convincingly the team that was placed in front of them. I am tired of those trying to disparage their victory. Let's enjoy the win and support the boys in their next two matches against the Kiwis.

To quote Al Davies Just win baby= and the AA teams past have had problems doing this. This edition looked good and certainly an improvement on the team that got demolished two years ago in South Africa.
This should have been a showcase game for San Diego fans. But what we found was a venue hidden behind Qualcom stadium- no grandstand or even bleachers- goal posts of plastic irrigation pipes(which collapsed after five minutes play)-No admission charged,which could have been donated to the visiting team to offset travel expenses.The only thing missing was the spectators dog attacking the Kiwi fullback.Bush League personified
When AA teams travel abroad they are treated well and at least play in good facilities. Surely the San Diego rugby community (OMBAC, SDSU, OLD Aztecs,US rugby foundation etc) could have put on a better showing. Fortunately the touring side will play their last game at Stanford- and hopefully forget about the laughable conditions they found in San Diego.

It was so pathetic that they didn't even have traffic cones for field markers. No changing room or showers. Post match meal was probably a hot dog grilled up on the sideline.

Why didn't they play at the OTC at Chula Vista?

@What it all means

No, I don't go goo goo gaa gaa at an accent as I happen to live in Australia. But my point still stands. Whether you like it or not Rugby is not American Football where athleticism can overcome skill deficiencies. Guys (as I would wager most of the AA's would fall into) who pick the game up in the later teenage years are greatly disadvantaged in comparison to an opponent who has had many more years to hone their skil set.

If any of these guys are even remotely like me, and again I'd wager they would be, they'd have spent 1000s of hours honing their skills over 14 or 15 years of playing.

you can convince yourselves otherwise but the simple facts are the U21s side the AAs faced would likely lose to the full strength NZ Uni team but not by a large margin. Its a result and a good sign for the future.

SD Hitman - sorry but that's not correct - the Kiwis have been playing their entire lives, yes - but for most of these kids they have not been getting the coaching, the facilities are sub standard and there is no money in NZ rugby.

To be fair - most of the US facilities for rugby are on par or better than what is available to rugby players in NZ. Especially in the fitness classification.

You don't get the big picture - there are only 4 million people in NZ. There are more people living in Orange County and San Diego County than live in the entire country of NZ.

The players at this age have been picked over in NZ. This is a team that has no stature in NZ, even less than the Heartland squad that came over here two yrs ago.

As EVERYONE here has said - enjoy the win, but it's not special. The special wins will be against suitably matched opponents in age and playing abilities.

I think it is pretty pathetic that people race to post their critical comments on here, regardless of the topic, regardless of the facts.

How about people congratulate the AA's for a convincing win, and root for them to pick up two more wins. A lot of the guys in this team are the future of the senior Eagles, and in the case of a couple of them they are already Eagles.

What is it about Kiwis that start the excuse machine whenever there is a loss? Blame it on food poisoning, a forward pass or unfair match-ups.

Some very good rugby players came to America and lost a game. Good on the Americans for a win.

Agreed. And even if they were in anyway as sub-par as some are claiming then guess what? The AAs did what they were supposed to do and beat them down like Joe Peschi getting to told to get his shine box. I could see if they barely won. But they crushed them and that is what good teams are supposed to do.

And If all the athletes in San Diego County were dedicated to playing rugby from birth we would have a highly ranked international rugby team.

As Jim Telfer famously said on a British & Irish Lions tour, "There are two kinds of rugby players, boys – there’s honest ones and there’s the rest."

Or, you can paint your face red, white & blue and chant U-S-A till you pass out and think you're #1. Reality will crash down on you soon enough.

That NZU U21 team is not that good, but the AAs were very good. It is a pity they couldn't sort out a tour because it sounds like they have an exceptional assembly this year.

They are a NZ representative team. I don't recall the NZRFU being in the business of sending poorly suited representative teams. Could they have had an off day due to jet lag etc ... sure. Will the next two matches be toughr ... probably. But give credit where credit is due.

But do dump on USA rugby for allowing a game to go forward on that pitch - disgraceful.

I'm not a Kiwi. US Born and bred. Been in Rugby since the 70's in the US. Work hard for USA Rugby. that disclaimer aside -

Yes, Kiwis are very good at rugby, but there are some that are average, below average and not so good players living there.

Being a team from New Zealand does not make them a NZRU representative team. They are not a NZRU representative team.

Uh read all the comments - no one dumped or criticized the AA's. The comments put the win in context.

I wished they would have brought a team here that the NZRU had a hand in. In fact, The NZRU hardly works with any age grade group. The U 20s no games just U-20 WC.

The NZRU has very little to do with the school boy rugby in NZ, it's pretty much run by the local union and individual schools. So you will have some good rugby, some average and some bad rugby being taught.

We have as many registered water polo teams as NZ has rugby clubs. The talent pool is talented, but it's not a deep pool.

The NZ U-21 Uni side wouldn't be that impressive. The NZ Uni team sits outside the Union and makes their own rules for the non-pro, non-elite players attending university. Non-pro university students are very different from the provincial or national rep teams, even more so at U-21.

But what an ass kicking by the AA's. Great result. Good coaching and good playing. What's clear is college rugby is America's best rugby asset. This is proved every year by the players the college level produces and the fans which attend the best college games.

Now there is broadcast and sponsors for the college 7's in a crowded MLS stadium on one side of the country...and 11,000 fans for the college XV championship on the other side of the country in another MLS stadium.

In the years before this, 6-7k fans at Stanford for the college championship. The next closest asset is the high schools. The RSL championship can't get 500 spectators! USA Rugby has killed domestic rep rugby.

How about this for an idea. Lets invest less in college rugby and further tax them with some insurance the teams don't need. Congress can pat themselves on the back, while Boulder stuffs its pockets with $3-5 dollars of the $10 CIPP increase.

This administration is laughable. Congress members waiting to hear what a good idea this insurance dues increase is from out of work club players. Then casting their vote like champions.

Any U21 NZ university student with talent was either on the full squad tour to Japan and Sydney in late April and early June, or they are with their provincial team preparing to play in the ITM Cup, which kicks off this weekend. They will not be on this tour as the ITM is a professional competition and they will be looking to get paid and to maybe get a Super 15 contract from it. This NZU U21 team is an experimental squad that has never assembled or toured before.

Take a look at this photo - http://on.fb.me/nfduUZ - and it is pretty obvious we had them outmatched in size. Our scrum overpowered them.

There is no harm in keep perspective of who we just defeated.

The Congress members at SCRFU already made the sales pitch for why the 10 dollar increase is great at the AGM. The one congress member even tried to say that USA Rugby only gets 500K from the membership dues and fees. Someone in the audience called her out on it and another congress member jumped in with stats and figures about how much it costs to be a Tier 1 rugby nation. Bunch of lemmings.


Well I stand corrected on the facilities and coaching points then. But certainly they're playing against better competition on a more frequent basis. Our best univ's, like Cal, have three or four max challenging matches a year.


UBC and BYU were the only ones to keep it close in games that mattered. There were other matches where 3rd or 4th side players got their starting carrot and eeked out a win.

Nothing replaces quality game time. I would venture to guess the level of competition that these NZUni U21s play is markedly better than say half of the Cal schedule.

The national sport thing also factors in considerably. Imagine the best USA cricket team comprised of U21 players going against a select group of same age players from India, West Indies, or Oz. Or the best U21 American Football Players in NZ (and there is a growing lot of these...) playing against Florida's 2nd or 3rd string.

It's still a big win for the AA Program in light of how little time they have spent together as a squad.

Separately - USA womens soccer into the semi's and USA mens bowing out in the quarters of their world cups. Is it not now more evident that the AYSO and USA scholastic/collegiate pathway works for foreign sports here??? What was the state of USA Soccer pre-1994 LA World Cup?


When you're in a hole, stop digging. You're as embarrassing as those goal posts at the Little Q last weekend.

Speaking of which, PCV pipes and duct tape for a national rep side match? OMBAC should never be allowed to host a national team match again at any level. What a joke.

No doubt USA Rugby needs more money but, they shouldn't be getting it from selling college kids something they already have and don't need.

Lets backtrack. It is now widely understood that LAUs and TUs are ineffective at operating high school and college rugby. This fact is best witnessed through the defection of HS and college rugby from these LAUs and TUs. No hard feelings but, these sub-unions and territories have is zero experience in HS and college athletics.

But wait! Congress is comprised of these same LAU and TU types. They are now going to blindly vote on the requirement of college student to purchase more insurance, which in most cases is completely unneeded insurance.

This is the latest example of college students being required to subsidize the adult game.

A lawsuit will result. Might not win but, this will be the best chance to force USA Rugby to open their books. Can you imagine the rats nest which will be found in discovery. The greedy bastards have thankfully just stepped over the line. Finally with this lawsuit we can get a look under the hood.

Had not thought of that "anon". If many thousands of college students are required to pay a dues increased based on purchasing insurance they already have and don't need, they indeed have a lawsuit.

USAR membership isn't really optional. It is a requirement to play competitive rugby for their college, so this fact will also play into the college students favor.

Yes "discovery" will be interesting.

best idea in long long time!!!

For more perspective on the AA match this past weekend can be gleaned from this video - http://youtu.be/x6vHqOK_to8

Here is a game recap with photos - http://usrugbynz.com/2011/07/11/all-americans-beat-the-kiwis/#more-1115

#1 and #2 need to get some fitness or a bigger jersey. Those aren't elite athlete bodies.

Whoever was behind that camera HAD a camera. where are some highlights. christ

How sad is it that USA Rugby or the rugby media in the USA (Rugby Magazine) provided zero coverage of the AA's game on home soil. The best coverage came from a twitter feed by Al Caravelli and from the Rugby World Cup 2011 committee of the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, which is how is doing the blog at usrugbynz.com. And this is when the AAs are @ home hosting a touring side with an Olympic training side in the same city as the match!!!!

"who is" not "how is"


You do watch the NFL right? Most of those linemen aren't what I'd call 'elite athlete's' but they are, evidently. The big No.1 is the BYU tighthead who is actually rather mobile for his size.

As for the fool who thinks it requires world class facilities to develop your skills. You sir either have never played the game or have you head squarely posted up your arse(note, that's how its supposed to be spelt). All you need is a ball and some space. Period. I spent 1000s of hours outside my house just practicing the finer things, played countless hours of touch Rugby to develop my skillset. Over here we all do it as do New Zealand youth. We don't have gyms at our clubhouses, if you want to do that you have to do it yourself. Pull your head out mate.

Yes, we're playing an "English" game, so let's all adopt British English when discussing it.


very true there are some very good and fat NFL lineman. But there are very few international front rows carrying that much baggage. don't really care how mobile that LH is, he would be much better down about 50+ pounds. The tire around the middle of the hooker was way too much. international hooker and players trying to be international hookers are studs.

the NFL comparison doesn't work here.

i was happy with the bigger shirt jab, but that can't be defended.

Su'a is just fine the way he is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2zQ8K2TNMg

Working Class Rugger,
I once killed a bear with my bare hands, Churck Norris has counted to infinity twice and Ricky Bobby pisses excellence. Welcome to America, mate.

Fat kid playing the passing lines. He has some ability. If he wants to play at the next level he will need to get in shape.

USA Rugby media strike again.

Both RugbyMag and WeAreRugby are running the same USA Rugby media release on the AA's. It states the AA's are swapping the entire front row from the first match, then goes on to name the same starting TH, Besser, as again being in the starting lineup. They also list Besser on the bench in the 23 so he will be busy backing himself up.

The bar for getting a paycheck in Boulder is really low.

Any NZ rugby team that performs the Haka has the nations reputation and standard to bear.
The AA victory over a accomplished representative side from NZ should be complemented. Any and all negativity on this topic is wasteless drivel.

@7s vs 15s

There is no negativity. The facts are the facts and the haka has nothing to do with the quality of rugby. The media has turned the All Blacks doing the haka into some big thing, but in NZ you will find teams of all standards doing the haka.

Maybe the problem with rugby in the USA is that the people in the game are so soft that when presented with facts they call it negativity? Grow a paid son and deal with reality.

AA match tonight will be streamed. Perhaps we could excuse them for not streaming the disgrace of a venue they had last time. Should be good to watch

I used the Haka to emphasize the point that anytime a team representing New Zealand travels for competition, the expectations within NZ is the team is to be competitive. The first game of this 3 match tour was not competitive. NZ would not carelessly send a weakened representative side on tour.
Fact: The AA's convincingly beat a experienced and talented U21 NZ University team in game 1.
Fact: You need grammar check. My "paid" are just fine thank you.
Semi-Fact: Stating "problems with rugby in the USA..." has outed you as a shameless carpetbagger.

The NZ U21 Universities team is selected from only 8 universities. EIGHT! All touring players from these 8 universities need to be under the age of 21.

The AA's are selection from the 800 universities which are members of USA Rugby. Many of the players are older than 21, some like the BYU prop and lock are much older than 21.

It was a good win, but we should keep things in perspective.

It's called a typo you prat.

Yo 7s v 15s

Go back to your keg on the sidelines rugby and let the men deal with evaluating what the quality of the rugby was in the AA vs NZ Uni U21 match.

Can someone share a link to the stream?


perspective: flawed logic in that NZ has fewer players than the USA therefore the Eagles should womp the All Blacks.
Agreed, a good win it was. That's all I wished to point out.
WIAM: apology accepted.
aa fan: you said kegger? giggity

Great story.
check the numbers, more kids are playing HS rugby in the US than ever before, and some are pretty darn good athletes. By numbers we'll get better athletes and guys with skills playing U21 with 5+ years experience. We are getting guys who could play anything who want to play Rugby. Never before. They are getting access to high quality training gear just like all other sports. They are bringing the heat.

The development path starts with guys hanging up boots and picking up clipboards. Yes the Old Boys must go, grab a whistle, start sharing your treachery with those with youth & skill. There are boys/girls who want to play and need your help. There are dedicated coaches who arent very good at coaching. There are good coaches working with weak athletes. there are good coaches w/ good athletes who cant find a Ref. We can fix all this and its not in Boulder's control, its ours to fix.

Share your talents, please.

"The development path starts with guys hanging up boots and picking up clipboards. Yes the Old Boys must go, grab a whistle, start sharing your treachery with those with youth & skill."

Well said Mike! I coulnt agree more!

Or should it be Rod Seddon?

Not sure why you are banging on about this?

You hate college rugby that's why you are threatening GRU teams with your union...

Sad loser...

Here is another idea for a summer time success story...

Having watched the Collegiate Sevens on NBC and now watching the Premiership Sevens for the first time today, and though I may be fooling myself to say it, it seems to me that the best of those college sevens players would be competitive with the “prospects” the premiership clubs are fielding in their event.

Though USARFU may be unable to take an initiative of this kind, perhaps the USA Sevens can. What about:
• Four US based teams added to the Premiership teams bringing the total to 16 teams?
• The USA teams having both collegiate and club participants?
• US teams coached by the better college coaches (Magleby, et. al.) with help from retired England sevens greats like Amore and Gollings?
• Collegiate participants benefit from an academic program modeled after the “semester abroad” concept. Two months in England; a few college classes during the weeks (mixed with training, of course) and training facilities and support staff provided by the Premiership?
• US and England based sponsors for each team?
• USA broadcast on NBC rather than Fox Soccer II?
The Premiership gets its brand on USA network television and, just maybe, NBC would go for televising the Twickenham season kickoff doubleheader as part of the package.

rob shea - let's pick another country than England for the US to pair up with - nothing special coming from the largest rugby nation in the world that indicates they can handle more.

I would rather pick a country that has rugby as it's main sport - Wales, SA or NZ. That's where the top people are coaching. Too many countries trying to get in the US market when they can't get their own top athletes or coaches.

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