April 4 (Reuters) – U.S. World Cup rugby player Hayden Smith has agreed to join the New York Jets, according to his representatives.
The Jets would not confirm the signing on Wednesday but Smith’s personal coach Tim Brewster and his agent Jack Bechta said an agreement was in place.
The 6-foot-7 (2.02-metre), 255-pound (116-kg) Hayden, who played college basketball at Metropolitan State in Denver, started all four group matches at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
He has also had a spell with English rugby club Saracens.
“Hayden Smith has signed with the Jets,” said former San Diego Chargers tight-end coach Brewster on his Twitter account.
The Australian-born Smith worked out with a number of NFL teams in February including the Jets.
“It’s something that I always wanted to do growing up in Australia,” Smith told USA Today.
“You look at American pro sports as the world class leagues,” added Smith who is hoping to play for the Jets as a tight end.
“It had been a dream to play in the NBA but I see the NFL at the same level.”
Punter Ben Graham, a former Australian Rules footballer, also played for the Jets from 2005-07. (Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, editing by Tony Jimenez)
The Wellington Rugby Sevens Tournament is right around the corner! Amidst all the fun, excitement, and costumes, we’re taking a moment to welcome the players – namely the USA Eagles Sevens team. And to do this we’re hosting a welcome event for anyone who would like to come wish the guys luck, get a photo taken, and maybe even toss the ball around a bit. If you’re going to be in Wellington come on over to Anderson Park, in the Wellington Botanic Gardens, from 1-3pm on Monday, January 30th to welcome this year’s team to the city.
There will be free food!
With the Wellington Sevens just around the corner, check out some of the players that are likely to come to New Zealand in February:
The USA has climbed the world rankings in sevens, and continues to compete with the best teams in the world. The team travels all over the world for the HSBC Sevens World Series, including South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom.
Every year the USA hosts a leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, where the best men’s sevens teams in the world battle it out for the annual Sevens World Series Championship. The USA has been included as a World Series stop since 2003, marking the first time the U.S. ever hosted an official IRB-sanctioned international sevens tournament. With a worldwide TV audience and 16 national teams converging annually in the U.S., the USA Sevens promises to boost rugby’s profile within North America.
The USA Men’s Sevens Team is coached by Al Caravelli. In 2006-2007, the U.S. program really started evolving into the Team we see today, winning the Cup and going undefeated at the Bangkok Sevens in 2006 and winning the Shield trophy at USA Sevens. Those successes, as well as the overall record of the team, prompted the IRB to promote the USA to become a core member of the IRB Sevens Series.
In October 2009, the sport of Sevens Rugby was selected, along with golf, to be included in the Olympic lineup for the Games in 2016. Watch the U.S. Men’s Sevens Teams as they build a winning team for those Games.
The New Zealand leg of the HSBC International Sevens tournament is just around the corner (February 3-4, 2012).
Sports Diplomacy will be bringing you extensive coverage of the USA team’s lead-up to and match reviews from the Sevens tournament in Wellington.
While living in southern California I have followed rugby pretty closely and have befriended many current and former players. I have grown to respect everything that it stands for, let alone I just love the majestic brutality of the sport. As it stands rugby is not just a sport but also the world’s greatest fraternity where the team concept reigns supreme over any individual’s personal agenda.
The heart and soul of rugby is playing for your brothers. The antics of Ocho and TO would never stand a chance, as there is no tolerance for individualism.
What the NFL can learn from Rugby
USA Rugby Captain Todd Clever has skills that could allow him to compete in the NFL.
An intimate atmosphere: While I was in London this past week for the Bears vs Bucs game, I attended an English Premiership League match featuring the Saracens and the Exeter Chiefs. The Saracens, one of England’s legendary clubs founded in 1876, whipped up on the Chiefs 43 to 20. Sitting with the Saracens fans was like sitting with the family of the players. There is a unique dedication, intimacy and loyalty that differ from how NFL fans support their team. I’m not saying one is better than the other, just different. For instance, when a rugby club has a losing season there is more sympathy, compassion and understanding versus the sharp criticism that we see in the NFL. The two sports do carry some similarities on the field but differ greatly in the locker room and in the stands.
Over the last 6 months, Adrian Pratt, Kyle Jones, and myself, Michael Cousins have enjoyed bringing you a range of blog posts, photos, videos, player interviews and polls to http://usrugbynz.com – a U.S. Embassy Wellington blog dedicated to the USA Eagles journey to the Rugby World Cup, and their games during this great event.
The RWC is not over, and the Eagles still have plenty of work to do with two Pool games left (and maybe even a final). So stay tuned for more action, right here.
An iron curtain has gone up between Taranaki energy industry workmates Dmitry Molokhov and Lance Johnson.
The pair work just metres apart at Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd in New Plymouth, and under normal circumstances they’re great mates.
But this week things are different. They’ve drawn a thin blue line on the office carpet – even dubbed it the Iron Curtain – and now they’re indulging in a Cold War of words from either side of the line.
And the reason? The United States meet Russia in a Rugby World Cup game at Stadium Taranaki tonight.
It’s all part of a whole series of fun activities going on inside STOS headquarters where – in a perfect illustration of the diversity of nationalities working in the energy industry in New Zealand – every country participating in the RWC is represented in the staff of more than 300.
Mr Molokhov, a reservoir engineer from St Petersburg, Russia, has been in New Plymouth for about a year after shifting from Perth, and up until now his only real contact with rugby was the time he reversed his car into a vehicle driven by a member of the Western Force super-15 team.
But now he’s a real fan, and he’s hoping for big things from Russia tonight.
“I hope it’s a tough game, maybe with a little Cold War tension,” he said yesterday.
Meanwhile American Mr Johnson, a geologist from Florida who has lived in Taranaki for four years, is confident USA will win.
“We’ve already beaten the Russians once this year and I think we’ll do it again,” he said.
But he’s a little worried that already, Mr Molokhov might have pinched one of the USA fans.
“My three-year-old son Asher came into work the other day to see all the World Cup displays, and Dmitry gave him a Russian flag that he’s now got on his bedroom wall,” he said.
“When I asked him the other night who he wanted to win, he said America – and Russia.”
- Taranaki Daily News
Patrick Donaldson, 38, Portland, Oregon.
Who are you supporting?
I’m here to support the United States but I’m really down here just to watch good rugby.
The United States isn’t really known for rugby-playing or watching – how did you get into it?
I play rugby in the US – I’ve been playing for about 18 years, since college – that’s where most Americans come in contact with it.
What will you be yelling at matches?
I’m going to the Russia game against the US and I’ve got a flag suit that’s full-on stripes – it’s pretty cool. I don’t know what I’ll be screaming but I’m sure it will be really intelligent and well thought- out.
Tell us a little known fact about your country.
Rugby is where soccer was in the US maybe 10 years ago, so watch out – we’re coming.
What will you be doing tonight?
I’m going to go and do some yoga, actually. And going to meet [fellow Portlanders] for a drink.
What will you tell your friends back home about the tournament?
The people are super-nice – really friendly and welcoming, even to an American.
Where are you going next?
I’m going from here to New Plymouth and from there to Auckland, and then making my way back down here.
What do you like about Wellington?
I’m an architect, so I really enjoy the architecture and the public spaces – it’s got a good combination of contemporary and older stuff.
Who is your favourite All Black?
I have to say [Richie] McCaw – he’s bad-ass. He just plays hard.
Who is going to win the cup?
New Zealand, hands down.
- The Dominion Post
Interviews with Eagles’ Blaine Scully and Mike MacDonald before tonight’s big clash with Ireland at the Rugby World Cup in New Plymouth, New Zealand: