Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT 2018!
The Rugby Channel is well versed in bringing you massive amounts of LIVE and On Demand rugby action all year long but this weekend we’re going to deliver something a little different: coverage of programming from the National Development Summit being held in Denver, Colorado!
The NDS is an annual event on the USA Rugby calendar that gathers together national level coaches, administrators, referees, doctors, sponsors, and various rugby luminaries for three days in January to share ideas, provide professional guidance, and generally let those who are most interested in the game in the USA interact with the people running the show.
Over five hundred participants will be attending this year’s summit in downtown Denver where they’ll have the opportunity to benefit from the combined wisdom of some of the finest rugby minds in the USA. The Rugby Channel and USA Rugby recognize that it’s not practical for everyone who wants to attend to do so, which is why certain content from Saturday will be distributed on Facebook Live!
Saturday is loaded with highly anticipated speakers, including new USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Head Coach Gary Gold who will discuss, “Athletes Playing on the Edge. How Do They Get and Stay There” scheduled for 11:00 AM Mountain Time.
Gold is going to be one of the most sought after presenters at the summit and I’m sure there will be plenty of questions for him about his strategy and philosophy heading into a very important year for the Eagles as they build towards the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
It was originally reported that Gold wouldn’t be taking up his position in the United States until he fulfilled his contractual obligations with the Worcester Warriors in the English Premiership at the end of their campaign in May but thankfully he’s been released early and there’s plenty of interest in hearing what his plans are for the Eagles heading into the Americas Rugby Championship.
The next Facebook Live panel on Saturday features players from the USA Rugby Women’s World Cup 2017 team that battled their way to a semifinal appearance and an eventual fourth place finish in Ireland. The title of this one is “The Eagles Take You Behind the Scenes and Inside the Sheds” at 4:00 PM MT.
This is a panel that should prove to be both enlightening and entertaining, and probably pretty fun to watch as we get a rare glimpse of what it was like to be a part of a strong Eagles side competing for World Cup glory last August.
As a way to get ready for this discussion, check out The Rugby Channel’s Chasing Eagles interviews with flyhalf Kimber Rozier and coach Pete Steinberg, as well as a look at the Opening Ceremonies of the WRWC!
The last Facebook Live event will be the Banquet Presentation at 6:30 PM MT. If you’ve ever been to a rugby awards dinner before, then you know that they provide a chance to recognize special accomplishments by deserving members of the rugby community. 2017 World Hall of Fame inductee Phaidra Knight is slated to be honored and you won’t want to miss this moment as one of the greatest American rugby players of all time gets yet another accolade for her distinguished career.
It’s going to be a great weekend in Denver and for those of you that just couldn’t make it but absolutely want some of the knowledge being shared, The Rugby Channel will be there to help!
The Rugby Channel is slated to deliver a huge year of rugby in 2018 and in order for you to access every single minute of it, you need to become an annual subscriber right now. If you inexplicably decide not to spend just $59.99 for twelve months of LIVE and ON Demand coverage, you are going to kick yourself later when you realize how many crucial matchups, phenomenal finishes, and amazing triumphs you’ve missed.
The first international competition on tap this year is the Americas Rugby Championship which kicks off on January 27 with Canada hosting Uruguay in Vancouver in the first of fifteen overall fixtures.
Like many of you, my primary interest in the ARC was simply to watch the USA play their five matches. But after seeing some hard-fought clashes involving the other five countries involved, I realized that this is more than just a chance to see the Eagles in action, it’s an exciting tournament from top to bottom with well-established regional rivalries and the possibility for every team to beat any other on any given day.
In the upcoming third edition of this iteration of the ARC, the USA once again has the benefit of playing three of their five matches at home, like they did in 2016. The Eagles open up their 2018 campaign at the StubHub Center versus the same team they finished against in 2017, Argentina XV.
After two meetings thus far in the ARC the USA Eagles and the Argentina XV have yet to determine a winner, having registered two draws, one in Houston and one in Comodoro Rivadavia. The 2017 comeback tie, along with a four try bonus point for the Eagles, was what allowed them to secure their first ARC title.
A win by the United States in Los Angeles on February 3rd would go a long way towards defending their title. And to wrap up Week 1 of the ARC, Chile will take on Brazil in Santiago.
Week 2 sees the Eagles head up to Sacramento for a battle against archrivals Canada. The Canadians will be looking for some revenge after last year’s heavy defeat in the second RWC qualifying test in San Diego and the Eagles will be out to show that that outcome was no fluke.
The other matchups in Week 2 are Brazil versus Uruguay and Argentina XV facing off with Chile. Non- Eagle fixtures in the ARC will be delayed four hours from the fulltime whistle on The Rugby Channel.
Week 3 finds the Eagles back in Southern California and welcoming Chile to Titan Stadium in Fullerton. The USA had a big win over Chile last year in Santiago and will be planning to hopefully give the home crowd a third consecutive victory before they head south for their remaining two tests of the tourney.
Brazil vs Canada might be the most competitive match of the round however, as the sides played a major thriller last year in Sao Paolo with Brazil coming from behind to win at the death with a converted try. And then there’s the neighborly battle between Argentina XV and Uruguay, always a tense affair featuring teams who are very familiar with each other.
Week 4 begins with Argentina hosting Canada and Chile taking on Uruguay. The United States will be in Sao Jose to face Brazil and attempting to wipe out the memory of their shock defeat to the Tupis in 2016.
The final round of the 2018 ARC gets going with what is always a rugged encounter between Uruguay and the United States. These two countries have developed a quality rivalry over the years and you know you’re in for a tension-filled blockbuster whenever they meet.
Chile and Canada will also wrap up their campaigns in La Serena, while Brazil plays host to the Argentina XV.
Don’t miss a moment of what’s becoming a must-see tournament on the global rugby calendar, Subscribe Now to The Rugby Channel and watch it all!