BOULDER, Colo. – Former Men’s Eagles Sevens Head Coach Alex Magleby and Men’s Eagles Attack Coach Billy Millard have joined the USA Rugby High Performance team to further the development of the men’s 15s and sevens player development pathways.
Alex Magleby will take on the role of National Development Director for the Men’s Eagles Sevens, providing sustainable support systems for Matt Hawkins’ team. Magleby will manage the national sevens team pipeline, focusing on talent identification and talent development. He will ensure streamlined deliverables through programs in the High Performance sevens pathway and develop with the national coaching team national technical standards for sevens rugby. Part of this process will be the development of a Sevens Technical Panel.
At the helm of the Men’s Eagles Sevens for part of the 2011-12 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series season and the entirety of the 2012-13 Series, Magleby retired following the 2013 IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, Russia. In 13 tournaments, Magleby held a 23-2-47 record on the circuit with two Plate wins, first-ever wins against South Africa, the most Cup qualifications by a U.S. team in a season, and a top-five IRB point haul during the last three tournaments of the 2012-13 Series.
Prior to his hire as coach of the Eagles, Magleby coached the AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans from 2009 to 2011. He led the MCAAs to a 2-1 record against New Zealand Universities in 2011 and coached the first-ever Men’s Collegiate All-Americans Sevens team. While with the All-Americans, Magleby worked with and helped develop many current Eagles 15s and sevens players.
From 2001 to his hire at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., Magleby coached Dartmouth College’s rugby team. He led his alma mater’s sevens team to a College Rugby Championship Invitational Final win in 2011 and in 2012.
Magleby played for the Eagles Sevens team from 2000 to 2005 and served as captain at the 2005 IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens. For the Eagles 15s side, Magleby earned his first start against Uruguay May 26, 2001, and holds four caps.
“It’s an exciting time for rugby in this country,” Magleby said. “There are a lot of good things happening from different people on multiple levels in terms of coaching players. Playing standards are improving at the younger ages because of these efforts. There are also quality athletes at various ages asking to get into our sport. Where do they go? How can we better help? It’ll be fun to work to connect all those parts and help create a cohesive front ..
“There are some short-term goals that we need to take care of, but we also have to have our eye on the future. It’s not just a two-month plan or a two-year plan, it has to be developing sustainable structures that are stable yet flexible for the long term. I’m looking forward to working with Billy [Millard], Matt [Hawkins] and many others on this challenge.”
Billy Millard’s role as National High Performance Pathway Manager will focus on 15s rugby, accelerating talent identification and development of the current pathways. He will work with national coaches and regional academies to identify players for national team camps, liaise with High Performance staff/stakeholders to drive coaching content across the national academy network and develop and implement agreed High Performance content and delivery within the academies. Millard will continue to support the Eagles as attack coach and serve as head coach of the USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans.
Since 2002, Millard has held several prominent professional coaching positions, including the head coach of the Australian Men’s Sevens Team (2002-2005, 2008) director of rugby at Sydney University Rugby (2005, 2006), head coach of the Melbourne Rebels ARC Team (2007) then onto contracts in Europe with the Cardiff Blues and Connacht Rugby. His successes have included back-to-back Club Championships with the powerful Sydney University Club and the Amlin Cup and EDF Cup Championships with the Cardiff Blues. Cardiff also made the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup during his tenure.
In these roles, Millard has played a major hand in the development of world-class players such as current British and Irish Lions players Sam Warburton, Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny and Gethin Jenkins and Wallabies such as James O’Connor, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley Cooper, Luke Burgess, Dean Mumm and Digby Ioanne.
Millard worked with Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin last fall during the 2013 IRB Americas Rugby Championship, where the Eagles Select XV finished 2-1 with wins against Canada and Uruguay, and the November Tour, compiling an overall 4-2 record as assistant coach.
“I have really enjoyed my brief time with the USA Eagles and am looking forward to assisting USA Rugby in this new position,” Millard said. “The landscape might be different from where I have come from, but player identification and development are universal. It is important we are getting the right players into the high performance system first and foremost then give them world-class support.”
During the next 12 months, the USA Rugby High Performance team will continue to work with a number of regional/local rugby academies as part of the talent identification and development process. These academies will include established partnerships with the National Development Academies (NDAs), the Eagles Impact Rugby Academy (EIRA) and Serevi High Performance and Elite Camp programs.
“In 2014, USA Rugby will be stepping up the search for talent for all of our international teams working with local/regional academies, creating national technical standards and continuing to build strong All-American and national teams,” USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville said. “It is our goal to develop a centralized National Academy in the next 24 months for potential Eagles. This is the first step in achieving this goal.”