Dowling, Smeeth leave Eagles posts

Dowling, Smeeth leave Eagles posts

BOULDER, Colo. -- USA Rugby announced today two changes in the Men’s Eagles coaching staff with scrum coach Derek Dowling and attack coach Tony Smeeth each stepping down from their positions with the Eagles.

Derek Dowling will be stepping down as scrum coach of the Eagles as the team looks to consolidate the forwards coach position. Dowling assumed a green, young pack when he took over and slowly turned them into a more technically proficient scrummaging pack. His navigation with the team through the new scrum laws was excellent as was seen by a very solid set-piece unit in the Canada series. He will continue to work with scrums in the Leinster set-up back in Ireland.

“Derek brought technical expertise as well as a great passion for scrummaging to the Eagles pack,” Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin said. “The forwards enjoyed his great enthusiastic spirit at scrummaging time, and they benefitted hugely from his one-on-one sessions. He took a very inexperienced pack with not a lot of depth and slowly turned them into a good scrummaging unit. It is something he should be proud of, and the boys will use that base to continue to grow. He was proud of the Eagles and especially of his scrum.”

Tony Smeeth will be stepping down as attack coach for the Eagles. Based in Dublin as Director of Rugby for Trinity College, who compete in the AIL Division 1B, Smeeth found it increasingly difficult to find the necessary time to commit to the Eagles while attending to his duties as well as his family.

"Going back to his founding of the USA U-19 program in 1992, Tony has contributed a great deal of time and effort into American rugby,” Tolkin said. “He is a close friend and an excellent coach who has helped the Eagles to become a better program. He was always loyal and hard working with his priority being to make the Eagles the best they could be.”

Dan Payne also stepped down from his assistant coach position on Tolkin’s staff yesterday for an expanded role at Life University.

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Comments (15)

  • Guest (steve)

    And the ship is getting lighter

  • Guest (ping)

    In reply to: Guest (steve)
  • Guest (NorCal_Rugger)

    Tolkin, we just waiting for you.....Time for a new system and new coaching staff

  • Guest (j. rogers)

    Tony Smeeth was my coach in junior high/high school. I owe him many thanks for introducing me to this game we all love.

  • Guest (Wingman)

    Smeeth coached me in U19. Great rugby coach.

  • Guest (McBeth's Porter)

    Having been at the match in Charleston I was unaware there was an 'attack coach.'
    Having watched the match in Toronto that assumption was only reinforced.
    There are chemicals but no chemistry on this team.
    It is going to take more than a few resignations to turn this situation around,

  • Guest (TomC)

    After reading the Tolkin interview on Rugby Wrap Up, I can state the following with some confidence.

    1 - Tolkin will remain the Head Coach through the 2015 RWC baring his resignation or the team not qualifying as America 2 or in the playoff spot.

    2 - Tolkin's new assistant coach hires will determine if his legacy.

    Tolkin is facing an almost certain no win situation regarding his legacy. There are two likely ways it can go down, and one extreme longshot.

    If Tolkin brings in assistant coaches that subjugate themselves to him (Bruce McLane, et al), the team will not buy in because they've lost confidence in Tolkin's game plan(s) and ability to instill them as a result of this summer's performance being an abject failure. Once a coach loses a team's confidence and support there is very little that can be done to get it back and the result of an extension of the "Tolkin Way" will be more mediocre to abysmal results. Net-net Tolkin's legacy will be that as the worst Eagles Head Coach in history.

    If Tolkin brings in assistants with a game plan they can coach, the players buy into and they execute with good results, the players will become the charges of those assistant coaches and not Tolkin. Publicly, and in the record book, it will appear that Tolkin had succeeded. However, he will know that Act II of his Eagles coaching term will be that of him becoming and embracing the role of being a paper tiger.

    Longshot is that Tolkin brings in a new crew of "yes men" and gets the players' buy in (again) and having success. This is highly unlikely.

    Tolkin's Act I ended in a desperate and comical way when he decided to get into the team huddle minutes before kickoff of the second RWC Qualifier against Canada. As one commenter on another board aptly described the scene of Tolkin looking like a "red faced boy scout" screaming at his charges, a man old enough to be their father who never wore the jersey giving them inspiration minutes before battle. A vision of folly to set up Act II of this tale that is should end in either humiliation or personal heartbreak.

    I look forward to sitting back and watching the show.

  • Guest (HA!)

    In reply to: Guest (TomC)

    Mikey "Cub Scout" Tolkin is a complete failure as the Eagles Head Coach. Pull your head out Nigel and fire the bum! He is an embarrassment. WTF was he doing in the circle of players just before kick-off? What a joke.

  • Guest (Will)

    Little Mike Tolkin ~ narcissist; blamer; babbler of mindless catch phrases; British wanna-be; never even wore the jersey. Fraud alert.

  • Guest (5Lock4ward)

    We need somebody like Andy Robinson. I've said it before but I'll repeat myself here for the sake of continuity; it's a fine idea to have an American coach but there really aren't any who've coached at a high enough level to get the Eagles competitive against top tier test match opposition. Our pros can only do so much to help the other guys off the pitch but even they are used to higher level of coaching w/ their club teams. I think Melville is the real problem. He's allowed the college competition to fall out from under USA Rugby along with the Super League. He should be replaced as it now appears he's just sitting around collecting an inflated check. Why he hasn't been beating down European club team doors to get former Crusader and NZ age grade representative James Paterson a pro-contract is impossible to imagine for me. How he hasn't been able to resolve Samu Manoa's visa issues is also unacceptable. Also, why is nobody talking about Hayden Smith? He was cut by the Jets and cleared waivers. Shouldn't somebody from USA rugby be in his ear about a return. Imagine a 2nd row pairing of he and Manoa with Lavalla, Clever and Stanfill making up the back row.

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