Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The USA Eagles Beat Russia 25-0 on Todd Clever's Special Evening in Sacramento.

I've lived here in Los Angeles for 4 years now. In that time, I had not had a chance to make the 5.5 hour drive to Sacramento-California's State Capital. This past weekend, with the USA Eagle's scheduled to take on the Russians in Sac-Town, my buddy Tom and I thought that this would be a good time to play road warriors to check out some Sacramento Micro-brews and get a rugby fix all at the same time.
Beer and Rugby on a Saturday-stopping at Sac Town Union Brewery...
Tom and I sample the product at Tank 7 Brewery in Sacramento.
Sacramento, California is very inland. It's almost halfway between San Francisco and Reno, Nevada on Interstate 80. As it sits on a plain, it was a very warm Saturday, indeed-about 93 degrees when driving up. The initial start of the USA-Russia game was 5 pm, but luckily they moved the kickoff to 7 PM.
USA-Russia for the National Anthems at Bonney Field in Sacramento, California
 This was my first international game since last October's Rugby World Cup, and my first USA Eagle's game since seeing the USA-New Zealand game in Chicago in 2014. (Oh yeah, we have our Tix for the Ireland-All Blacks in October this November, which will also be played at Soldiers Field)

The Russians may not be the All Blacks in terms of notoriety for the casual American rugby fan, but Saturday's game would mark Todd Clever's 68th cap in a USA shirt-eclipsing former Eagle Prop Mike McDonald as the all time leading cap leader of USA Men's rugby.
#6 Todd Clever-the New Record Holder for USMNT appearances with 68 caps.
And Since the former USA Captain and the long time face of American Rugby  is from California, having this match in Sacramento seemed to be a match made in heaven. 

The Americans dominated the game pretty much from start to finish-The Russians really had very few chances inside the American 22. The 25-0 scoreline belies the dominance that the Yanks
showed in Sac-Town on Saturday. The Eagles had chances for at least 3 clear tries(Two by Clever). AJ McGinty showed again just what a fantastic addition he has been to the Eagles with some great kicking at goal(5 penalty goals and a conversion on a try)
McGinty makes it 9-0 in the first half with the 3rd of his 5 penalty goals.
, as well as a decisive pass that would spring Mike T'eo for the only try of the game in the second half.
Theo's Try in the Second half

The heat became a massive factor on play in the second half, and both coaches pretty much emptied 

their benches.  

After the tough loss to Italy last weekend, which would have been a big win against a Six Nations side, this was still a good way to finish the summer international schedule for the Eagles, whose next game will be in Chicago the same weekend in November as the Ireland-New Zealand game, when the Eagles will take on the Maoris at Toyota Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Racing Metro Sees Red and Beats Toulon 29-21 in Barcelona

With all of the big French stadia being used by the Euro 2016 for soccer this month,  French Rugby had to find a different large venue to welcome the Top 14 final, and they found quite the large venue in the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain. (Still a pretty easy drive from Southwest France)
The Camp Nou in Barcelona-an unusual venue for the French Top 14 Final

This year's final for French club supremacy came down to Toulon against Racing Metro 92 from Paris. Racing is a club that has always had a little bit of extra sartorial panache`, having had a history of many years ago of coming out wearing pink bow ties(The Racing players for this game wore Pink Bow Ties stuffed in their socks). For the final against Toulon, the Parisians came out with blazers over their jerseys...
Racing also winning on the style points....

At Stake, was Le Bouclier de Brennus-Brennus' Shield-the holy grail of French Rugby. The last time Racing had won the title was back in 1990. I have watched a few finals, but don't think I have ever seen two nice looking, barely clad women coming out with the trophy...
Great lines and well built...the Bouclier de Brennus looked impressive, too
Toulon, clad in Red, did a lot of the early hard running and seemed to be taking the early advantage against Dan Carter and his Racing mates....

The match looked ready to turn permanently in favor of Toulon when Maxime Machenaud got red carded in the 18th minute for a dangerous tackle on Aussie Fly Half Matt Giteau..It was a tough call, partially because of how Giteau fell, but by the letter of the law, I think it was a difficult, but correct call by Monsieur Raynal. Toulon would take a a 6-3 lead, and the idea of Racing trying to stay with formidable team from the Var looked grim, indeed.
Matt Giteau gets planted-Racing would have to play a man down after the ensuing red card.
Leigh Halfpenny's boot had Racing up 9-3, then a try by the Georgian Gorgodze had Toulon up 14-6. It was not looking good for the Parisians. 

Racing had an ace up their sleeve wearing the number 10 shirt. Fans of Canterbury, the Crusaders, and the All Blacks have become  used to the man from South Bridge on the South Island of New Zealand performing heroics in rugby games for several years now, including las October's World Cup win by the All Blacks in England.  Dan Carter had a brief spell years ago with Perpignan in France that was cut short by an Achilles heel injury. In returning to France, he felt he had something to prove. All Dan Carter did was provide calm at the number 10 shirt, and make masterful decisions on distribution of the ball and accurate tactical kicking and kicking at goal. He would score 8 Penalties, and a another Kiwi, Joe Rokocoko, would do a lovely chipped kick that he picked up on the run and planted the ball down for a Racing Try. Dan Carter would be voted Man of the Match for his Mastro's touch for the 29-21 victory for the Parisians-in spite of playing well over half the match down a man against a very, very good side.  It was a great game of rugby played out at the Camp Nou stadium. Well over 80,000 fans got to see just how dramatic the game of rugby can be. 
Man of the match: Dan Carter

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Happy 29th Birthday to the Best Son and Rugby Teammate a Dad Could Ever Ask For...

At a rugby tournament in Saint Louis in 2007
Team Mates with Metropolis RFC, Minneapolis, fall  2006. 

It's hard to believe that 29 years ago today, my son Ian Thomas Adams was born weighing 9 pounds and one half oz at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.  Both my wife and I were in the United States Air Force at the time. My good French friend Bernard Masse`, had come to Texas for about a week and a half for his birth-the little guy did not want to come out while he was with us.
41+ weeks...Ian just did not want to leave his Womb with a view....
Ian waited until the day after Bernard left to make his entrance into this world on June 12th, 1987.

He was a really well-tempered baby and toddler. He walked at 9 months-and let me tell you, the early walking baby is not all it is cracked up to be. But he loved water and physical play.

When Ian was in Elementary school, I had a chance to coach him in soccer for a few seasons and I would also go to his and his sister's school and show the kids how to do touch rugby.

When Ian was 3 and a half, we had his sister Rachel. I know that brothers and sisters can fight sometimes, but when they were elementary school age, I was worried if they would ever get along-at all.

Ian and Rachel

When Ian was 15 and Rachel was 12, Ian went to Niigata, Japan for a year as an AFS exchange student. Rachel spent 5 months with my Aunt Kay and her Partner Wendy in Darwin, Australia. After a few months apart from each other, Ian reached out to his sister and wrote a letter saying to the effect that they should be friends. Both Ian and Rachel grew up a lot from that experience. In Ian's case, I sent a 15 year old kid to Japan and and got a young man when he came back-he had grown and changed his hair style. He changed so much that when he came back to Minnesota, I walked right past him in the airport-I did not recognize him until he saw us and gave us all a big hug.

While Ian was in High School, he played soccer, wrestled, swam and played lacrosse. When he graduated from Robbinsdale Cooper High School in 2005, his final two college choices were between  Rutgers University in New Jersey and Portland State University in Oregon.  He chose Rutgers. While  at Rutgers, His  South African born roommate was a player with the Rutgers University RFC -and also on the USA Under 19 Eagles. Ian had an excellent Freshman year at Rutgers, but the out of state tuition was really expensive. After his Freshman year, he came back to Minnesota. (Later graduating from the University of Minnesota)

At the time when Ian came back, I had my mid life crisis and started playing rugby with the Metropolis RFC in Minneapolis. We were able to play two seasons together with Metropolis. I cannot tell you how much of thrill it was to not just play rugby and be on the field at the same time as my son-but I grew to admire the young man he had become. When he became a father in his own right to my grandson, Duncan, I marveled at what a patient and good father he is. 
Ian and his son Duncan from 2011.

So on this day, I want to share with you, dear reader, just how proud his sister, his mom and I are of Ian. 29 years...I cannot believe I am old enough to have a son who is 29.  Not only has it been great being his dad and being his rugby team mate for a couple of seasons, but after this season, my daughter took the plunge and started playing rugby. I am so proud of both of my kids, that I could just bust my buttons. 
Ian, me, my wife and my daughter Rachel. April 2016.

Love you son. Have a very happy 29th Birthday.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

2015 Indiginous Australian USA Tour Wrap.(Better Late Than Never)

Back in the fall, I had written about a planned rugby tour in the USA by Darrell Morris and his Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby side (IAIR)that would share their Australian Aboriginal culture and love of rugby with Americans. The tour did take place and was very successful for all parties involved. I was simply slow getting pictures downloaded.

The rugby tour, which involved 6 matches played against the University of New Mexico, the University of Arizona, San Diego State, Long Beach State, The Gallup RFC, and the Griffins Rep team. The tourists from down under went 5-1, losing only the the Griffins in their last game. ("We were Injury ravaged in that game", recalled Morris.
The Zia Symbol on the New Mexico State Flag.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip was a match played in the snow in Gallup, New Mexico.
The tourists, in the red, got to see and play in snow for the first time in Gallup, New Mexico

For the Tourists from Down Under, this was their first time seeing snow. Timaris Montano, the force of nature involved with the Gallup RFC reported "They loved it! It felt like a dream when the big flakes were falling down. Some of the men on the sideline rolled around in it." Many of the players are from Queensland-an area better known for heat, humidity and crocodiles, so this was clearly the coldest conditions they had ever played in. 

While in the Navajo Nation, the Australians were able to visit Monument Valley National Park, stayed at Kayenta High School's Gym, as well as the Gallup Community Pantry and the tourists all did two hours of Community service. They also had a chance to eat Navajo Tacos and grilled Mutton. 

The Australians brought their rugby road show of 28 players and 6 support staff to California. I was able to meet Darrell
Getting a chance to meet Darrell Morris, on the right

and his players when they played the Cal State Long Beach RFC on a sun splashed Saturday. By this point of the tour, some of the players where coming down with upper respiratory symptoms, as well as some nicks and injuries. That did not prevent them from beating Long Beach in a very spirited game with lots of ball in hand and very open play.
Australians break away for a try in the first half.

Line out between IAIR and Cal State Long Beach

Hand shakes all around after a clean, hard-fought game between Long Beach state and the IAIR squad.

Darrell Morris told me that  one surprise on the US tour was "the level of rugby was a lot higher than I thought it would be. It's culture has been indebted into the US sports culture." (I.E post match
functions, etc) 

Darrell is currently in the process of putting an IAIR side together to take to Canada in 2018. 
The Wombat Mascot for the IAIR looking forward to  Making it to Canada in 2018...

I was very happy that Darrell and his players were able to meet up with a Native American side, and that Chee and Timaris Montano moved heaven and earth to make the match happen in New Mexico. I was also happy that connections of my connections helped put together matches for the Australians. To think that this entire trip started with a simple e-mail that I received from Darrell. I know there can be some problems with the internet and social media for some people, but in this case, the internet allowed a great experience for both hosts and tourists in the name of the oval ball. 

Most of the time when you hear news stories about Native Americans and Indigenous Australians, it's usually bad news. This trip and the rugby games on the 2015 tour brought some much-needed positive news on both sides of the pacific.