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22 November 2011


My guess is that this guest column will be better recieved than the previous one provided by that rugby league dude.

Ed once again points out the painful truth.

Tolkin or Payne as Eagle Coach and Kane or Lyle as CEO. There. Take your pick. Problem solved. Get the employment contracts ready. I just saved USA Rugby thousands on bogus search firms and stragetic planners with predetermined outcomes.

YES! Ed.
Many of us labor at improving things in our areas.
But how do we right the big ship when we cannot get in the wheelhouse?

God Bless Ed Hagerty

Crap jobs like the coach of the Eagles are always done by Mexicans.

save your juvenile drivel for the justin bieber chat rooms…surprised kurt posted your nonsense…..

@Howard Kent-You do what colleges and high schools are doing-you get yourselves set up in a structure where you will no longer need USAR.

Great article Ed - Lets hope the house is swept clean before the HS and colleges need to set up the structure and break free.

Don't forget, Melville actually holds two positions, CEO and Director of Rugby Operations.

I think we're losing out in more ways than one, because of that setup.

First off, there is too much money wrapped up in one salary.

Secondly, you have a "rugby man" serving in both positions. CEO should be business-centric, Director of Rugby Operations is where the rugby acumen should come into play. (plagiarizing this thought from someone else...but I totally agree)

Thirdly, I think we're being short-changed with the dual role. Couldn't we get more bang for our buck with two people working to serve those roles?

As for the coaching position, American vs. foreign...at the very least, the prime requirement must be that the next coach is USA-based.

apology accepted.

Nathan Bedford Forrest - "Lyle" as in Dan Lyle...? I doubt that would happen with all the success he is having with USA Sevens, but it would be a nice thought.

how about we dont hire a coach and disband the UNION...decertify...

and start over ...

Hire 7's vs 15s because he is a passive aggressive know it all, which is typically American.

@UA, you breached our patient-doctor confidentiality.

NBC is doing a survey where they ask you which sports you are interested in and Rugby is one of the choices.
Please fill out and pass along to your rugby community. Let's make our voice heard!

I don't buy the "we can hire an american for a lot less" argument. If the person is qualified then that person should be paid what the position is worth. And where he is from is totally irrelevent.

The issue is not that EOS was overpaid; the issue is that Melville and Co. failed to fund properly to afford a coach.

Again.. another rumour of a Pro Comp in the North Americas...

When will it ever be solid evidence?

I don't think that nationality is the defining factor for whether or not an Eagle coach will be successful.

A successful Eagle coach will know their stuff, care deeply about the players and building a national team that we can be proud of.

There may well be a Kiwi or Aussie that gets it, but they should have to prove this during their interview.

Our problem is they won't get asked the right type of questions because the decision makers have no idea. Decision makers - Roberts, Melville and Latham.

The turtleneck, backstabber, and beard. We have no chance in hiring someone capable.

Great article Ed, but how do we get rid of the current Board that has promised a ton and brought little to the table! I think the old Board, now the Congress, made a huge mistake when they chose to give themselves only one vote on the Board . . . nothing much will change until we get the current Board out and go back to governing ourselves, and since the Congress only has one vote how are we going to do that without having a major revolt! Ah, maybe this is the time for us to voice our displeasure by NOT paying our CIPP dues to USA Rugby. Heck, most of us already know that the front office isn't run very professionally to beging with, and that is verified over and over again by the way things are and AREN'T done.

One problem about hiring for a third of what the incumbent is earning - the bar has been set pretty high. Why should the new guy take the job for a less-than-half fraction of what the old guy was making? And if he's an American, he likely won't have the resume that a foreign coach would have. On the other hand, I can see a contract with a lot of incentives.

He'll take it because that is what is offered. What is the prospective American coach going to do? Go take another, more lucrative coaching job? It doesnt exist. If they want to be a professional rugby coach this is pretty much their only option. There's no market so they have zero leverage to try and get the same money the previous guy earned.

At the end of the day you always get what you pay for. Bitch about EOS all you want but he had the team playing a well organized style of rugby during the WC. Yah there are issues that were severely exposed (Scrum, scrum and ... scrum) but the Eagles looked the part of an international rugby team. Something that has not always been the case in the past. And I suspect that $250 K is on the low end of the pay scale for someone with his experience and credentials. Do you think the Eagles could hire Eddie Jones or Nick Mallet for that price?

I agree that it is time for him to move on. I don't agree that we should hire a coach on the cheap. Melville, Roberts et al have done a crap job of funding the position. It's on them. And it is on them that they did not structure the contract to make sure the coach was "in country".

There is a common theme .... Melville and Roberts are failures.


You make a good point. And along with that wouldn't you think that an American Coach would be "hungrier" than the likes of the experienced coaches that have been trucked in from abroad. Maybe instead of opting for the absolute best pedigreed coach we can afford, we opt for a coach who is emotionally invested in growing rugby in the U.S. Someone who is going to treat this as more than just a job, and maybe someone who has a sense that they've gotten something to prove, instead of someone who just looks at the Eagles job as a lay-over.

I personally believe EOS was a bad choice simply because he did not stay in the country. Unfortunately for us at present we need someone that can be more involved in the training/inspiring of new coaches and this would require a lot of leg work outside of simply coaching. This is not an ideal setup, obviously, but until the funds and coaching pool are there it is necessary.

I will defend Melville though. It is easy to throw stones from the outside, but from working with USA Rugby (not for but with) I can tell you the change in that office and organization since he took over has been nothing short of revolutionary. Unfortunately when an office and organizational culture was as befouled and backwards as USAR was it takes several years to correct.

I am not saying I agree with every decision the man has made, but we now have more youth rugby than ever before (Rookie Rugby and HS), SBRO's are actually receiving grant monies, USAR went from 0 youth staff to 3 full time staff, and overall I would say USAR is on a nice upward swing. There is no such thing as a utopia and I would say Melville has fixed a lot of very serious systemic issues internally that will serve USAR in good stead.

That time has come for sure - I hope that there are many groups of clubs, teams and coaches who are considering the nuclear option and not paying Cipp dues next August.

Its the only way to remove Roberts and Melville I'm afraid.

The TUs select Congress and Congress selects the board. Clubs need to get a handle on their reps in Congress if they want to make any change. USAR is pushing through restructuring to the HS, college, and senior games and USAR is counting on apathy from the clubs. Clubs can control USAR if they can work together and do more than post to blogs.

Tried that, no response from any of them.
New college restructure means no reps for colleges.
ALL college teams need to refuse to pay Cipp dues next August - do that and the house will fall.

If Congress members are not responsive, they need to be replaced by the TU's or whatever new structure is being put in place. The Congress has ratified every Director currently at USAR and they need to be held accountable.

An organinized non-payment of CIPP dues would have a similar effect to organizing Congress. This still requires a massive amount of work among the clubs.

Sadly, most clubs have already paid their dues for 2012. Online petitions signed by all club memebers threatneing to not pay CIPP next August could be a useful approach. Sites like www.change.org can be helpful to setup petitions.

A petition to change the management of USA Rugby has been setup at the link below. It calls for the non-payment of CIPP if changes not made. Sign online if you agree. Add your own comments if you like. Forwrd to you club memeber and others via email and Facebook.


I think I'll be signing this petition!

Hagerty's comments are true in regard to the best athletes playing other sports. Nate Ebner @ Ohio State and the kid playing linebacker for Oklahoma State are perfect examples of this. Could Grahm Henry have done much more with the Eagles if he lived stateside fulltime? - probably not at the WC. Could he or O'Sullivan have done more with athletes and players the caliber (or higher) of the two mentioned above - absolutely!

The argument ought to be to hire the best coach available, that has an interest in winning (incentives anyone?). The same goes for the CEO and using other metrics for him/her as incentives - sponsorship$, # of xyz level coaches certified, # of participants, media converage, etc...

EOS made himself available for the england job today.


Gents, if you refuse to pay CIPP dues then the only thing you'll get is a forfeitted match with no referee. You'll no longer be a rugby club with a voice, you'll be a group of guys standing around a bar. The only nuclear part of that option is it will blow up your club.

That's true. But if an entire college conference or collegiate rugby in its entirety (or even a significant portion thereof), a SBRO, or a TU (SCRFU) were to do so, then they wouldn't suffer for lack of competition.

There are 52 senior men's clubs in SCRFU. You think their only rugby outlet would be standing around a bar if they collectively exercised this nuclear option? If a lot of commenters on this site had there way, only 6 would have the opportunity to compete for a national title. So that's $80K that could walk away, with those clubs pretty much losing nothing but an inaudible voice.

Granted, that's not a huge sum of money, but I think it's disappearance would be be noticed.

USAR is simply another Union in America.

Highly paid Union bosses, creating nothing of importance for the workers, selected and elected by a tiny cabal of bootlickers.

Your dues are their lifeblood.

Revolution is in the air...

Why in the world would England want EOS. He coached the US team basically to the minimum acceptable standard (4th place finish, victory over the one team worse than us, a couple of respectable defeats), and in 2007 his Ireland team barely dodged a 4th place finish with a narrow victory over Georgia (and didn't exactly blow out Namibia). What has he done to suggest that he would get England another championship?

You are not in the 1% or else you would be doing something much better than trolling a rugby board. Which means you are a huge loser for waiving a flag for a group that you are not only not in but that actively works to redistrute your wealth to them. Keep it up clown!


EOS took the USA job 2.5 years ago because he got no offers from any of the clubs in the Premiership or RaboDirectPro12 or any tier 1 nations or top tier 2 nations. So he took a role at a bottom tier 2 nation (USA) where he had some history, common language and personal relations. It was a massive step backwards in his career because aside from the 2007 RWC he took Ireland to new heights in the 6 Nations (second of only 3 Grand Slam wins in 2009 with the first in 1948). It is not uncommon for a coach to take a team to a new height, and then not being able to go higher with the same squad. Like him or not EOS will go down in history as one of the best coaches in Irish history. The 2009 Grand Slam win after coaching the side for 8 years (i.e. his team) makes him a rugby hero in Ireland.

So, he is trying to get himself back in the top tier. More power to him. However, I think he mailed it in with the Eagles. Not living in the USA and spending long stretches of his time with the Eagles in Ireland and the UK doing media for his book was in bad taste in my opinion. Look at the Canadian coach who is currently acting as the assistant coach for the 7s team in the IRB series and involved with the Canadian Rugby Championship (Canada's domestic competition) and player development within that competition. We need someone like Crowley at the helm.

Plain and simple...
Rugby Union is a professional game.
Rugby Union in the US is an amateur game.

National Team rugby players are identified by the time they are 20 years old in the rest of the world.

USA Eagle players aren't on the radar until they are 25 or so.

Having selection camps is a waste of time and money. A Rugby Academy needs to be run by USA Rugby in Chula Vista or Berkeley as a semi-pro or educational set-up. This should be permanent and run outside of the Eagles 15's or 7's set-up. Players can apply for slots and be interviewed.

Somebody needs to create a vision of where USA Rugby should be in five years. A plan of how to get there needs sign off and then the plan needs to be implemented. Rookie rugby is a great start.

USA Rugby, the Unions and the clubs think on a season-to-season basis and have been since 1975. Remember...Rugby Union is a professional game.

Eire old boy has it right..
rings true...

lets make some tough choices that are not going to be / might not be "fair"...

but come on...get real here...is this what we want is fair...we want to become NCAA-ish...

pick glendale becuase of the facilities..

pick socal becuase of the weather...

but pick one..make it the focal point...

USA OLYMPICS make colorada springs the training center... it seems to be working ok...can we just pick a spot...

if we cant...its time for the board to be fired and banned...something more than a change... leaders are truely hard to find and keep...

I don't know about merely having a 5 year plan. I really think the US can win the World Cup...but I think it will take about 40 years. So why not create a 40 year plan, obviously revisable at particular intervals?

Speaking of hiring American ... Reports of an Eagle signing with Bath - anyone know who?

Chris Biller

Agree a training center in Colorado would be a good complement to San Diego. If we want big changes at USAR, there are only two ways to get there: (1) Change Congress who can then put in
new Directors or (2) stop paying CIPP until desired changes are made. Both approaches require nationwide coordination of the clubs. US Rugby clubs have always been good at complaining. So far clubs have not shown the needed commitment to work together to drive real change.

Completely agree.
The petition mentioned above had just 7 signatures last time I looked. Are people afraid to put their name to something? USAR will see who are and do what exactly? Time people stopped hiding from behind keyboards, stood up and were counted!

The petition mentioned above had just 7 signatures last time I looked. Are people afraid to put their name to something? USAR will see who are and do what exactly? Time people stopped hiding from behind keyboards, stood up and were counted!

Biller is going to get exposed badly in the Aviva Premiership. He is going to have to toughen up and quick.

Having just watched the Worcester-Bath game last night, Chris Biller has a great opportunity to make a name for himself in England. Bath simply don't have any hookers left. They played a prop there who obviously was really poor at the lineout and then they brought on an academy kid when he got injured.

From having watched biller play in person and on tv I would not say he is soft in any way. It will be a jump up in physicality for him as he is a bit undersized but his international experience will help him for sure. So not sure where your getting he is soft from you should be glad another eagle is in with a top pro club not hating on him just as he's arrived in the top flight.

He'll be in-n-out of the side and out of pro rugby by the end of this season.

I'm not sure how anyone could call Chris Biller soft. Any Eagle hooker that stands up to the punishment they receive given the absolutely terrible scrum the Eagles have is anything but soft. Being a hooker in a pack that is constantly getting destroyed is one of the most miserable places to be in sports. Good luck to him; lets hope he takes full advantage of the opportunity.

Well being that the guy calling him soft is too much of a coward to sign his real name after bashing someone tells you what kinda guy its coming from...

racist maybe. but certainly not soft.

I don't think someone signing his name has much to do with whether or not Biller is soft, but I think Drek makes the best point. Kind of like people calling Jay Cutler soft last year, forgetting that he was a guy who cut his teeth facing an SEC pass rush behind a Vanderbilt line.

Looking forward to seeing what Biller can do!

Something tells me the people at Bath know a thing or two about Mr. Biller and his chances of packing down in the Premiership, most likely a thing or two more than anyone posting here.

That's indisputable. Then again, [Bush/Obama] knows far more than most people about what it takes to be President, and people all over the world feel perfectly qualified to criticize them. And Al Davis's corpse still knows a lot more about football than nearly everyone you'll meet, and yet...Jamarcus Russell.

Look, either he'll perform or he won't. There's nothing that any of us can say here that will influence that outcome one iota. Kind of a shame, however, that some people actually want him to fail. Maybe it's a general desire to feel superior to the rest of American rugby. Or maybe it's something personal directed towards that guy.

Let's see if Biller finds the need to call the guys on the other side of the scrum ni@@er when he is at Bath. He is a racist and by default a coward.

Well, idk about a coward. A dog can have courage. Let's settle with incredibly ignorant/stupid. Im going to assume JC straightened him out though. So good luck to him. I hope he does well at Bath

Well if he did that then he's a dick. Got a link to a credible source for that accusation.

Racism =/= cowardice. They are two very different kinds of evil.

Is it me or have we not gotten to the Cup quarters at an IRB7s event in few years or so? I think the world of AC but it's getting to be rhetorical to hear about the impressive speed/fitness, progress, and everything else coming out of the camps in SD. Albeit losing Wyles, Clever, Ngwenya, and Swiryn to pro contracts might have something to do with it - but watching the Gold Coast gave vs Scotland was just painful. Showing the game to new-to-rugby neighbors, they were able to discern that there was a big gap in skill, pattern, and pace comparing the NZ/Fiji final to US's bowl semi v SCO. Is it a case of AC just doing the best with what he's got (or what Boulder can afford) or is there another underlying issue we don't know of. I hope he still has the ear and hearts of the squad and they're willing to go to war for him. If not, we're just spinning our wheels and spiralling downward. Was it wrong of me to expect more after the team used to perform so well when the IRB stop was in SD??? Hope we get the mojo back soon......

The US 7's team will improve over the course of the circuit; but so will other teams. The bottom line is that the athletes, while quite extraordinary compared to we ham and eggers (or former ham and eggers), is not up to the standards of the top half dozen or so teams.

If the Eagles are going to reach the next level better athletes are needed.

I honestly do not believe it is all that much more complicated than that.

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