Here we are with another week of our Talking Rugby series.
No Looking Back for the Eagles
The disappointing loss to Scotland by the Eagles has been well documented and by now they’re sure to have been over the game film a nauseating number of times. But, that is behind them now and the focus now has to squarely be on taking down the Japanese side. There was a strong second half against Scotland from the view of the defence and were they not hampered by a lacklustre offense, the Eagles may have been able to fight their way back into that match. Bolstered by the fact that the USA always seems to score points against Japan and history may suggest not to be too worried.
The present problem they may face is that this Japanese side is riding an eight-game winning streak, with an evident aim to push towards the IRB’s Top 10. With a thriving professional competition and playing host to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Japan is on the edge of joining the upper echelons as a Tier 1 nation. Before we can talk about besting Tier 1 teams, we need to cement our ability to see of sides such as this.
The Eagles will need to get the momentum going with a great start. Their offensive side isn’t world beating and have a track record of struggling to chase a game if they begin to flag. If they can find a foothold on the game early and set the tone using their much more solid defense, hopefully they’ll push Japan into some costly mistakes and solidify their lead with a few tries. As Canada saw in the last fixture, Japan is more than able to put points on the board rapidly and claw back a deficit.
Pro Team in Houston?
Mike Clements was in Houston yesterday, finishing his day with a spot on Houston Sports radio talking about the NRFL and their aim to start a pro competition here in the USA, stating that a team would be coming to Houston. News out of the NRFL camp has decreased drastically following their April combine, so this news came as a surprise to many, particularly with Clements reputation as the silent partner of the NRFL.
Regardless of what happens in the end, it is not surprising that Houston is at the top of such a list. The city has a track record for regularly pulling up great numbers for rugby events, with a growing youth programme and a healthy amateur contingent. Houston also boasts a large ex-pat population, uniquely skewing the population away from American rugby newcomers, as well as being the tenth largest TV market in the United States and a sports hungry one at that.
Hopefully his statement rings true; Houston is a good start, but they’re going to need at least five more franchises to get a profesional league off the ground.
Finally, it is that time of year again where we must remind everyone involved in the rugby scene to stay properly hydrated. For players in this hot summer, water is great and sugary drinks like Gatorade should be avoided; if you insist on a sugary sports drink, cut it with some water.
For viewers, and those so inclined among the players, if a few beers over the course of a long day of 7s is all part of the day, double up on your water intake to avoid the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
Stay safe out there everyone.