Army v Navy (Colleen McCloskey photo)
There’s so much rugby in the fall that one can be fully occupied by the league games alone. But there’s so much movement, and the following is an opportunity to highlight news that isn’t necessarily leading to a fall championship.
1. Lindenwood, yikes.
After defeating the defending DI club national champion Life West in San Francisco, the Lions turned around and took two teams to Glendale and beat the Merlins’ WPL and DI sides. Sure, there was a little personnel movement for the senior club teams, but there were also several Eagles and elite senior players competing – in other words, these victories should be taken at face value. That’s huge and leaves me wondering where a team like Lindenwood belongs if it’s beating some of the best senior women’s teams in the country.
2. Go Army, Beat Navy
… was the iteration of the chant that came true. This is such a classic rivalry, but it’s likely that the Black Knights will be the heavy favorites – against Air Force, too – for years to come, as varsity status brings with it the time, resources, coaching and athletes that breed long-term success. Check out Colleen McCloskey’s photos.
3. USA Falcons 7th in Japan
Days before the tournament kicked off, USA Rugby announced that the Falcons were sending a team to Hokkaido and Chicago Lions’ Dave Clancy was serving as head coach. There was no live-stream or video footage of the games, but USAR reported scores, shared photos and interviewed coach Clancy. The Americans went 2-6, beating Cook Islands twice and losing to the Maple Leafs, Japan, New Zealand and Diana (?).
4. The Rob Cain Train
The new USA Women’s 15s coach wrapped up his Women’s Premier League tour last weekend in Minneapolis. For six-straight weeks, Cain has not only been taking in WPL games on the weekend, but also using the weekdays to personally check in with Eagle pool players and run training sessions with local college and club teams. Cain is meant to select the November test squad on October 1.
5. England Goes Professional
And as Scrumqueens’ Ali Donnelly explains, it’s ground-breaking. Fifteens full-time contracts are very different from 7s full-time contracts, and those unions that decide to invest in their women’s 15s programs will surge dramatically ahead. Donnelly mentions the U.S. in terms of where the Eagles might fit in the near future, and it’s not exactly optimistic.