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24 June 2013


Kurt has his been sharpening his knives...

Memo to Melville/Roberts:
1. Pick up the phone and call Tom Billups.
2. Beg him to come back as the MNT Head Coach.
3. Give him anything he wants.
4. Then get out of his way and let him bring the MNT back to some semblance of respectability.

Hey Superman,
Why on earth would Billups want that poisoned chalice?

He has a great job and will be a shoe-in when JC moves aside.

Sorry Superman,
Tolks was a pawn in this act. Nigel and the IRB, can thumb their noses at the "we want an American coach" crowd. He will use the poor on field results to hire a "commonwealther" as the next head coach. Maybe even declaring himself the "interim Head Coach" through the World Cup, until a failed IRB wetboy out of touch with American Rugby(think Alan Solomons) can take the reigns.

It is all really sad.

Tom is no doubt the best man for the job.

But I dont think Melville would offer and for that matter dont think Tom would accept given their allegiance lies on the polar opposites.

Can you say Hatfield and McCoys.

These comments are off base. This isn't a coach issue, even though Tolks looks out of his depth. Tolkins staff isn't very good which is what really hurts him.

But all the noise about coaching is off the mark. These performances are the 8 year work of Kevin Roberts and Nigel Melville. They have set the course, hired the staff, set the budgets and decided most things big and small.

They are the first to take credit and the last to accept responsibility. In any form of business or sport they would be fired for lack of performance.

Leave the players and coaches alone and fire the paymaster for once.

Just a few months ago the gainline gang was berating Alex Magleby as not being capable of handling a Men's National Team because all he ever handled before was a bunch of college students. He did just fine ensuring the US did not have to fight for relegation AND ended the season peaking in play. The gang was wrong then, why should anyone trust it's judgment now?

Tom B is a great coach, no doubt. But ya'll seem to forget that Tom B finished 12-21 with a 1-3 record at the 2003 RWC. That's just a hair better W-L percentage than Tolkin's 3-8. Those few of you that are old enough to remember those days were calling for his head then AND saying Tom was guilty of nepotistic selections because he drew on so many Cal players.

Tolks will make some adjustments. Likely as not, Babs will bow out as scrum coach and LaValla will replace Clever as Captain. After Charleston, Canada will probably have to play Uruguay to stay in the hunt. It won't be pretty, but that's what will happen.

1m dollar budget is same as it was 15 years ago, yet our plan says final 8 in RWC 15 and the unions budget is 3 or 4 fold so it seems that this is all now self serving.

What other conclusion...do more with less, economics make us stay the same, but others go by us.

Seems like no plan, bloated 5 fold staffing and is a simple time/value calculation now.

Waiting with anticipation for Kurt to write on this topic. My two cents to add to the discussion. I think Billups would do (and has done) a better job. Historically the Eagles struggle and most years lose more matches than they win, but it's how they have lost these recent matches that is real cause for worry.

Tolks teams are aimless and seem to be on some loosely explained plan. Listen to all the talk from he and Clever and it's "get on the same page" quotes over and over and over.
They have lost matches thus far by lack of technical understanding(CAN), lack of discipline(IRE), lack of effort(TONGA), and lack of skill(FIJI).

Billups' teams lost too, but typically were defeated by teams that were just a touch better on the day(several close loses) or just a better team. His teams never came out "flat" or without desire. His teams played with lots of discipline. Here lies the differences in coaches to me.

The early post stating that the administration has responsibility in this mess is right. The players and coaches are all being graded/judged/evaluated, so should Roberts and Melville.

Tolkin after an uninspired performance against Tonga:

"I and the coaching staff can't generate a feeling of passion. First of all we have to come out firing on all cylinders against Fiji and that has to come from within. That's a player thing."

That sounds like a coach with HS and amatuer men's club experience far over his skis.

Its been a long time since I felt like posting here.

Tolkin says "I and the coaching staff can't generate a feeling of passion. First of all we have to come out firing on all cylinders against Fiji and that has to come from within. That's a player thing."

BULLSHIT!! The coaching staff is just as responsible for inspiring a sense of passion in the players as anyone. I mean for cryin' out loud, I'm absolutely certain that Vince Lombardi never said "eh, we came out flat today, but that's on the players" Hell NO. The coach himself takes responsibility for the loss.

Additionally, why has no one keyed in on the fact that Toby L'Estrange is a horrible first-five. He has no creativity, his ability to exploit space and opportunities might be adequate in domestic competition, but is seriously lacking at international level. This is a real problem for the U.S., not to mention the scrum, but that is not for me to comment on.

Several good domestic coaches have tried to help but got nothing but a response that sounded like it came from a school teacher!

I blame it all on eric ' the teapot' fry. You need a decent front 3 to win games. The teapot's scrumminging weakness puts the whole team in a hole from the start.
I don't care how well he carries the ball or tackles, i just want him to anchor the scrum and at least give our backs a chance.
I can't believe he is still responsible for our terrible set piece going back to the 2011 world cup.

Your crazy and I doubt you would voice your critique to his face. Fry is a total stud. Watch his scrum work closely, Fry has great body profile, solid engagements, good arm work, flat back, shins in the ground.

Scrums are poor but not Fry's fault. there are a couple forces at work here, 1. referees have been hard on the USA and 2. the Eagles have no emergency scrum tactics (a coaching failure)try a contact feed, chase the hit, speed delivery from the 8,maybe 8-9-12, rather than simply running the 8 into a reception, etc.

The scrum is only 2 minutes of a rugby match, an important 2 minutes but a good coach can employ tactics that can make a weak scrum a non factor but there is nobody on our current staff that understands that.

But yet every scrum Fry gets turned in, pushed up or scrummed into the ground and then the scrum goes backwards or the other team gets a penalty.

The THD is your lynchpin to a good scrum...if he's not getting it done, everything else goes badly.

RugbyGent hit the nail on the head...he's mobile, plays decent defense and gets involved in loose play unlike some other Cal props that enjoyed standing out on the wing for a large part of their USA career however that's not getting it done in the scrums.

I'd much rather go back to an Oz or Paul Still on the right. You lose some mobility but you're not giving up yardage in penalties due to crappy scrumming.

Big Jim hits the nail on the head and with the new scrum cadence its going to make a lot of teams go find two massive props. TH solid for your ball, LH is for disrupting opposition ball.

@need some tactics this is not personal so give up on the 'say it to his face bullshit'. I call him the teapot because thats what it resembles when he scrums. Remember he is a converted flanker and in my experience it takes ages to become a strong tighthead after being a great loose forward. We are so good at being technical in all sports , i just can't understand why we havent figured out the set piece yet?

With all the focus on Sevens which top athletes are going to commit to be 15s props?

"...the union's goal of finishing among the top 8 at the 2015 World Cup"

That was always an asinine, unattainable goal. A goal of winning two games and pre-qualifying for 2019 would have been sufficiently audacious.

We need to set our sights on winning the whole thing, but we also need a realistic timeline that recognizes the massive amounts of work and change that needs to come first, rather than concentrating on some pretty, short-term milestone.

I really think we can be RWC champions. In 2051.

We need to focus on beating Uruguay at this point.

After watching the Fiji match, which I hadn't yet.....I slightly recant my heavy criticism of Toby Strangeland. He actually had several moments where his individual skill showed through. However, he is going to need 25 matches this next club season to gain the kind of tactical rugby acumen required of a solid 10, or it will not be pretty.

But, whoa, Eric Fry. Just wow!! That is the worst scrummaging display by a tight-head I have ever seen and i don't even know what I'm looking at. I saw him get destroyed time after time after time. He looks GREAT in the loose, but he is supposed to be a prop..........and Fiji doesn't exactly have the strongest scrum in world rugby. I hate to think what even a really angry Georgian scrum could do to us. IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!

The failure of any team starts at the top. Those who hired the coach and the coaching staff itself. They do not carry themselves well. They lack confidence. The program just does not pass the eye test. From the very top all the way down they look terrible.

"The failure of any team starts at the top. Those who hired the coach and the coaching staff itself. They do not carry themselves well. They lack confidence. The program just does not pass the eye test. From the very top all the way down they look terrible."

Ha - this has to be the worst GL comment ever. I am so glad you are behind your keyboard and faraway from a team that matters!

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