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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rugby 7's...Of Flying Fijians and improved USA Eagles....

The HSBC Rugby Sevens wrapped up last week in London, with Scotland showing a great deal of heart in scoring 2 tries in the last 30 seconds to shock South Africa and win their first ever Sevens Series cup final. Scotland fans could wave the flag of Saint Andrews with pride.
My wife with the Saint Andrew's Flag in Newcastle in October, 2015.

With the next big Sevens event to be at the Olympics in Rio in August, the top 8 Standings looked like this:

1. Fiji
2. South Africa
3. New Zealand
4. Australia
5. Argentina
6 . USA
7. Kenya
8. England

The Flying Fijians won the overall series title again. When I was at the Vegas Sevens in March, Fiji pretty well left everybody in their dust...
Fiji Leaving Australians in their wake in Vegas...
The USA Eagles continued their improvement in London, as well. They took third place while in the process beat both Fiji and New Zealand in the process at the tournament. When I was in Vegas back in March with my friend Tom Daniels, The Eagles made the semi finals and took fourth. Perry Baker and his improved game along with warp speed to be named on All Series Team. Pretty heady stuff for the former Arena Football's Pittsburgh Power player who has combined with Carlin Isles to give the Yanks a one-two punch with their incredible pace to make this Eagles side a very dangerous team to play.

The one thing from this past HSBC Sevens season is that on their day, there are 6 different teams who have series wins under their belts, so the men's Olympic competition in Rio this summer stands to be very wide open.

Oh yeah, Tom and I plan on being back in Vegas next March as well.
Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas-Home of the Vegas Sevens

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Daughter is a Chip off the Old Block-She plays Rugby too.

When we were still living in Minnesota, I had tried to talk my daughter Rachel into playing rugby. She would have nothing to do with it, in spite of the fact that when I taught touch rugby at her Lutheran School, she had great vision and instincts for the game, and I knew she was strong and tough enough to play the game with her experience working with horses and doing Western Style Riding.
Well, my daughter moved out here to Southern California last year. A few months ago, she got involved with the San Fernando Valley Women's RFC
, and she discovered that she loved the game, and loved the physical contact and Camaraderie of the Oval Ball.
She plays flanker and has great instincts for the game. She plans on playing again next year.

I won't say I told you so...what I will say to my daughter is: I knew you had it in you, kid.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: The positive bits

The year of 2015 will be marked by two great moments: Going to the Vegas 7's
With my buddy Tom Daniels at the Vegas 7's.
,  Scoring my first evedr try at the Catalina Old Boys Rugby Tournament
Doc Bryant, me, Aaron Tanner and Doc Balkian from the Spring of 2015
My lovely red headed bride enjoyed the ambiance in Newcastle.
Scotland had to work hard to earn the win in Newcastle....
, but also by catching a Rugby World Cup match to go with 2007 in France and 2011 in New Zealand: My wife and I were fortunate to see the very dramatic match between Scotland and Samoa at St. James Park in Newcastle England.
Great atmosphere in Newcastle!

My  wife and I with some Scotland fans in Newcastle, England.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 indigenous Australian- USA Rugby Tour.

One of the joys of the internet, is that you never know who is going to reach out to you from what corner of the world.

A few months back, I was contacted by a man named Darrel Morris, an Aboriginal from Queensland, Australia.  He was keen to do a rugby tour with Aboriginal players. They wanted to play Native American, as well as other USA sides during their tour. I was able to refer Darrell to my good friends Chee and Timaris Montano of the Navajo Nation as well as some contacts with Pasadena Rugby who were able to get Darrell connected for some other games.
Chee and Timaris Montano and their family, of the Navajo Nation

For this tour, the Aboriginal side will play 5 different American college teams and an all native American side in New Mexico-where they will also stay on the reservation. The desire is to share cultural similarities as indigenous peoples and to develop international relationships.

They will also meet with faculty at the University of California Long Beach with the department of American Indian studies. The team plans on reaching out to do coaching clinics for youth rugby with African American Communities in Los Angeles, and for greater Los Angeles Youth Rugby.

These players mostly aged 18-20 are from a high risk group from dropping out of sports, and keep them playing rugby to keep mentally and physically fit. The hope for these young indigenous players is to learn from experiences of Native American and African American communities to help provide advice for their communities back in Australia.

The games and dates:

University of New Mexico at Abuquerque:  Monday 11/9/2015
All Native American Side in Gallup, New Mexico-Tuesday 10/10/2015
Painting from Native American Art Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Arizona State University at Scottsdale Saturday, 11/14/2015
San Diego State University, Wed. 11/18/2015
Long Beach College at Long Beach, Saturday 11/21/2015
Belmont Shores at Long Beach, 11/22/2015

If anybody would like to get ahold of Darrell, please email me at, and I will be happy to pass along your message. This is a unique opportunity for the American rugby community to reach out to a group of players from a part of the world, where Aboriginals have much to overcome in their society, not unlike underserved Native American Reservations and inner city communities in this country. Hopefully they can take in some other sights here in California, as well.
Sunset over Venice Beach, California-looks somewhat like the Aboriginal flag.

I have been lucky enough to go to Australia a couple of times in my life to see with my own eyes the art and culture of Aboriginal Australians. I hope that people in American Rugby Community will come out watch some the games, as well as meet Darrell and his players.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sharkapalooza Over 40 Rugby Tournament: Friends, Heat...and Stiff Muscles

Being a Navajo Oreo with my good friends Timaris and Chee Montano
This past weekend, I had a chance to get a run in and play some rugby at the Sharkapalooza over 40 Rugby Tournament. I first played at this tournament in Newport Beach, California 3 years ago with Pasasena's old boys. It was a great time. (Even though we lost both of our games)

This time, Pasasdena could not get a team fielded to play at Sharkapalooza, but my friend Peter Nguyen, who is an old boy with the Huntington Beach RFC said they could use a spare prop, so I decided to play.

With temperatures well over 90 degrees(32 celsius), it was a good thing that Huntington Beach had a deep roster. We had 3 full sets of props where we were able to do ice hockey style substitutions on the fly to keep everybody fresh. We lost a tough first game on a late Penalty to Las Vegas, 3-0, but we ended up beating Old Southwest(I was able to catch up with my good friend Chee Montano and his charming bride Timaris) 7-0, and then we beat the Las Vegas Irish by a couple of tries to take the plate.

One of the great things with the Sharkapalooza Tournament(Run by the Back Bay RFC) is that not only is the pitch ringed by palm trees and is just a gorgious venue, but it is about 200 yards from the Pacific Ocean, which felt really good and refreshing to take a dip in after the rugby was done to cool off.

After the rugby was done, my wife and I were able to go grab some fantastic Korean food with Chee and Timaris. Living in Gallup, New Mexico, it is hard to get authentic Asian food of any kind, so they really enjoyed the Korean fare in Costa Mesa.

I still am pretty sore from the weekend as I write this...but I do so with a smile on my face. The game of rugby is fantastic, but I am always amazed at what nice people are involved with this sport.