Tournament organiser Rugby New Zealand 2011 today confirmed arrangements for the Official Team Welcomes for each of the 20 participating teams at Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011).
A mix of marae-based and civic events are being arranged for each team (see schedule below).
“These welcomes will be warm and uniquely New Zealand flavoured,” said Michelle Hooper, Team Services Manager for Tournament Organiser Rugby New Zealand 2011.
“They will combine local cultural elements and distinctive regional hospitality to ensure teams begin their stay here in a memorable way.”
The location of each welcome has been determined by the region the team will first stay in.
“The regions have really embraced this concept, have been central to planning and are thrilled about being the first to welcome the teams to New Zealand and the opportunity it provides to showcase themselves to the world.”
A key part of each welcome will be the official capping ceremony where each of the 30 team members receives an official commemorative cap marking his participation in the seventh Rugby World Cup.
Welcomes take place between September 1 and 8 and involve 12 marae and eight civic ceremonies. Japan will be the first team welcomed on September 1 at Aotea Square in Auckland and Russia, the last, at Blenheim’s Omaka Marae on September 8.
A marae is a meeting place for Maori communities and the welcome ceremony or powhiri includes speeches and songs, and concludes with a meal or hākari. The civic welcomes will also include powhiri elements (see note below).
“Underlining all welcomes is the Maori spirit of hospitality or manaakitanga, which means the act of hosting or caring,” said Michelle Hooper.
“The welcomes will show teams that their arrival here is special both for local communities and our country and will be a great example of the warm hosting we are sure New Zealanders will provide teams and fans throughout the Tournament.”
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Date Born: 11.4.87
Place Of Birth: Christchurch
A native New Zealand rugby union player, although he has dual United States and New Zealand citizenship due to his mother Deanna being a US citizen.
Paterson currently plays provincial rugby for Southland, and has just completed his second season of Super 15 with the Highlanders.
Paterson’s first introduction to rugby was in 1999 after returning from 8 years living in Budapest, Hungary where his father developed and directed an Agricultural Trading and Consultancy business. He returned to Christchurch his home town and enrolled in Medbury Intermediate School where he played for the First XV. He then enrolled at Christchurch Boys’ High School where he went on to play for the First XV in his 5th form. After four years he was on the move again to Colorado, USA where he ended up playing high school football. Paterson impressed in a short period of time, eventually achieving Colorado State recognition for the most running yards in a season as a Wide Receiver & Running Back, winning a USA Football Sports Scholarship to the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado. In the off season for football and prior to High School graduation from Pine Creek High School, Colorado Springs he along with his father, John, helped develop the Colorado Springs High School Rugby Club winning State in 2005. This team is now a frequent winner of the Colorado State High School State Championships.
In 2005 Paterson was duly selected for the USA U19 National Rugby team where he played in the U19 Rugby World Cup in South Africa and the following year Captained the USA team at the U19 Rugby World Cup in Dubai. Paterson then accepted a contract to the Canterbury Rugby Union – Crusaders in 2006 combined with a scholarship to the University of Lincoln College. He moved to Christchurch as a Crusaders wider training group team member. In 2007 he was selected for the New Zealand U21 team but suffered a minor knee injury so was unable to tour. Paterson played for the Canterbury NPC team for two seasons 2008 (one of the leading try scorers NPC)and 2009 collecting two NPC Championship titles. In 2009 he was named “One of five NZ’s most promising players” in the 75th Jubilee of the NZ Rugby Almanack. In 2010 Paterson accepted a contract to Super 14 rugby with the Highlanders. As part of the move south he also signed up with the Southland Stags in the newly named ITM rugby competition (Formally NPC). Paterson played in 11 of the 13 Highlanders games in 2010 and showed pace and skill on the wing.
Paterson looking to make his RWC debut has been selected for duty as an outside wing, on this years Eagles XV team.
All Black legends Josh Kronfeld and Frank Bunce give you a run down on what you need to know for your arrival into New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2011. For more information, please visit http://www.immigration.govt.nz.
Only 17 days to go!
Here is a sneak peek behind the scenes at preparations for the RWC 2011 Opening Ceremony.
By: Dallen Stanford
BOULDER, Colo. -– Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has selected his squad of 30 players that will represent the United States at the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC) in New Zealand next month.
The Eagles will compete in Pool C at the RWC, taking on Australia, Ireland, Italy and Russia in pool play. NBC Universal has released their broadcast schedule of the tournament, which begins with the opening ceremony on September 9 and concludes with the RWC final on October 23. Visit Universal Sports for details: www.universalsports.com
”I think there is a sense of relief that we are now in a position to name the final squad of 30 for the RWC. It has been a thorough process and I belief that we have the best 30 players available to us heading into the RWC.
As expected we have had to make some very tough decisions to get to the final squad, but that is just reflection on the talent available to us,” said O’Sullivan.
Todd Clever will captain the squad, with 16 forwards and 14 backs making up the team. Mike Petri – who led the Eagles against Japan on Sunday night in Tokyo – has been named the vice-captain.
Selected in the front row are Mike MacDonald, Mate Moeakiola, Eric Fry and Shawn Pittman. Three hookers have been selected in Chris Biller, Phil Thiel and Brian McClenahan.
The lock specialists are John van der Giessen, Hayden Smith and Scott LaValla. The loose-forwards include: Inaki Basauri, Pat Danahy, JJ Gagiano, Nic Johnson, Louis Stanfill, along with Clever.
In the backline, Tim Usasz is at scrumhalf with Petri. Partnering them at flyhalf are Nese Malifa and Roland Suniula. The centers will be Paul Emerick, Tai Enosa, Junior Sifa and Andrew Suniula.
Out wide the wings are Colin Hawley, Taku Ngwenya, James Paterson and Kevin Swiryn. Chris Wyles and Blaine Scully complete the squad as fullbacks.
”All eyes are now turned to RWC and our departure from the USA on September 1,” commented the Head Coach.
The squad will assemble in Santa Barbara on August 28 for their final preparations before flying to New Zealand on September 1.
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By: Kyle Jones
During a highly contested match at Prince Chichbu Memorial Rugby Ground, the USA Eagles took on the Japan National Team in Tokyo. As rain pelted the test field, the players took to their positions in a game that meant a great deal to both sides. Possibly more to the U.S. than any one, as this test match would provide them with considerable preparation against Italy on Sept. 27th.
A roster change of 8, signaled a much needed adjustment from previous matches, as well as a chance to rest the select few that are a shoe in for the RWC. For instance, Capt. Todd Clever, was put on the injured list in order to rest up, yet this match could have been much different with his expertise and knowledge of fellow Suntory teammates. Not to take away from an outstanding job Mike Petri did to lead his Eagles to a thrilling first half lead, a game in which Mike McDonald, racked up the most Caps in USA history (62).
The Eagles showed great defense and athleticism in the first half against Japan dispite the hazardous conditions. With rain coming down and a wet ball, drop passes and missteps were inevitable. Yet, it was USA that took step and used these conditions to their advantage. Kevin Swiryn, number 14, would pick up two intercepts to proved USA with a 14-8 lead, heading into the half. The Eagles clearly dominating the scrum and ball possession early on, yet flirting with disaster anytime a Japan winger gained possession.
As the weather began to clear up , the second half took off with the same fast pace as first half ended with. Coach Kirwan of Japan, was not kidding around when he said his team was going to be the most fit for the RWC. Japan seemed to take over ball possession putting the Eagles on a clear defensive, yet they came up with phenomenal blocks in the red zone despite the ensuing pressure. Midway through the second half, USA’s legs gave out, providing Japan with a lead stealing try. Not giving away anything, the Eagles continued to stop the onslaughts of Japanese offense, compounded by a Paul Emerick break away that could have been a game changer. However, he happened to step out of bounds, deflating the Eagle’s chances at a try, resulting in a quick turn around try for Japan, sealing the fate for the team in white.
A deathly resurgence in the last waning minutes by Tai Enosa, Scott Lavalla, and Shawn Pittman almost brought the Eagles back from nothing but a knock on would prevent a buzzer beater try they so desperately needed. Japan showing their endurance, physically out lasted the Eagles in the final minutes of the second half, holding them off any Eagle attack.
Such a sad sight to see, with the Eagles loosing three straight test matches before they head to the RWC, yet they provided a much better match up then what was presented against Canada. Their communication, kicks under pressure, and over all explosiveness really came to together during this game. The phases rugby seem to function much smoother and defense in the center showed great improvement. Despite the loss, this also gave the coaches an excellent opportunity to preview many of their younger players in an international setting before making their final selections. Look for the 30 select to be choosen for RWC duty this week.
Final: Japan 20 USA 14
Stay tuned for more results.
By: Dallen Stanford, USA Rugby
Tokyo, Japan – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has made eight changes to his team that started against Canada in Glendale last weekend. The USA will face Japan at 7.00 p.m on Sunday, August 21, at the Prince Chichbu Memorial Rugby Ground with the match available LIVE online at UniversalSports.com at 6 a.m. EST, and delayed on TV at 5:30 p.m. EST.
”Again we have made a number of changes to selection, as this is our final hit out before Rugby World Cup (RWC) and also our last opportunity to take a look at players before we make the final squad announcement,” said O’Sullivan.
The Eagles coaching staff will announce the RWC squad of 30 players following the clash with Japan, with one final chance to book their tickets to the third largest sporting event in the world.
Captain Todd Clever – who plays his club rugby in Tokyo at Suntory Sungoliath – is unavailable due to injury. Scrumhalf Mike Petri will lead the United States this weekend: “I am obviously disappointed for Todd, but I hope to continue the good work he has done, and set an example. I am really looking forward to this opportunity”.
In the forwards veteran Mike MacDonald starts at loosehead prop and will equal the most appearances for an Eagle (62) set by his former teammate, Luke Gross. MacDonald made his debut against Fiji in 2000, and has played in all eight USA matches during the 2003 and 2007 RWC’s.
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As we travel to Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolis, the question comes to mind: Will this be the place the USA Eagles get their first test match victory before the RWC? Or will the lights, the culture, and allure of Japanese life preoccupy their minds throughout this test? Luckily, this is also the home of Todd Clever, USA Captain and flanker for the Suntory Sungoliath. Will his guidance and home club provide the sanctuary they need in preparation for this challenging test?
In this year’s Churchill Cup, the Eagles took two brutal losses from England B and Tonga before a final bowl win over Russia. Just recently, they again suffered back-to-back losses against Canada, both away and at home. In their third and final test match before taking on Ireland on Sept. 11, they match up against the Cherry Blossoms of Japan. Perhaps the third time will, indeed, be the charm?
With the Eagles playing in six of the last seven Rugby World Cups, they have managed just two wins total – both against Japan. The first came in 1987, the other in 2003. However, don’t let those stats fool you. On USA’s last tour of Japan, in November of 2008, they lost both matches by considerable margins. With Japan coming off a wonderful season with a win at the IRB Pacific Nations Cup, the Eagles can expect tough competition in this match.
Any match-up is an excellent opportunity for the Eagles to prepare for the RWC. It’s Japan’s match against Italy last week that makes this match up-so crucial. Japan did in fact lose last Sunday to Italy, but they led 17-14 at the half. Even with a dismal second half, they brought the game to 28-24 with just 17 minutes to go. But late penalties cost them the game. USA meets Italy on September 27th in Nelson, after their match-up against Australia. If they can dominate Japan physically and retain the lead throughout the game, it will give them the confidence they need to face Italy in the World Cup.
Don’t be fooled here by the size of the Japanese team. Their back row might be short, but with both locks at 6’5” and James Arlidge, a big Kiwi fly-half from Hamilton, NZ, they are not to be taken lightly. They happen to have another Kiwi connection on their team, Coach John Kirwan, a former All-Blacks Star, has been coaching there since 2007, bringing Japanese National Rugby to a new level of international success.
In order for the U.S. team to do well in this game, they must cut off the big players and defend their line-outs successfully as they have done in past test matches. Another weakness on the Japanese side is their scrum. Look for the Americans to be overpowering and use this to their advantage, just as Italy did in their test.
As they continue to bond and spend time as a team over the next week, the Eagles will start to function more as a unit. Their passes will be crisper, their kicks will be on target, and their communication will become second nature. In 21 days, when they set foot on New Zealand soil, they will be a family. They will be Eagles XV.
August 21: USA vs Japan (Tokyo, Japan) – 7.00pm Watch LIVE online at 6.00am EST on Universal Sports and delayed on TV at 5.30pm EST