Infinity Park Brings Back the Classics
The rivalry between USA and Canada runs deep and rugby is no different. The USA Eagles Classic team will compete for another victory over the Canadians this Saturday before the (younger) USA Men’s National team’s Rugby World Cup send off match.
“Nobody wants to lose to Canada,” Classic Eagles co-captain, Kevin Whitcher said. The Classic Eagles plan to replicate the intensity and victory from last match against Canada in Bermuda Rugby Classic 2010, an impressive second half come back.
Whitcher’s wants the Classic Eagles to “make sure are given a proper welcome to Denver,” which means harder hits, quicker passing and fast thinking to come this weekend.
While the Classic Rugby teams competition isn’t as frequent like their younger counter parts, Classic Eagles’ captain Eric Masterson still competes for bragging rights over the Canadian team.
Due to limited training sessions as a full team, Masterson’s knows getting everyone in tune with one another is the key to a victory. Playing for the Classic Eagles, you have to “check your egos at the door and play as a team,” according to the co-captain.
The dynamic of the USA-Canada rivalry is not lost on fans, coaches or players and especially not on former Eagles who have plenty of Can-Am battles under their belts.
For USA Rugby legend and Classic Eagle, Alec Parker, and the rest of the Classic Eagles playing the Canadians carries more weight then other matches.
“It’s a part of being a patriot for the USA,” Parker said.
Both, Parker and Whitcher, recognize the increased intensity in these cross border matchups and that “makes it extra special to play against them,” Parker said.
The Classic Eagles is a team comprised of former elite rugby players over the age of 33 and many players are former Eagles or have represented their state or region at a high level. While many of these athletes finished out their USA Men’s National Team careers it wasn’t the end of their rugby road.
Whitcher was first skeptical about continuing rugby with the Classic Eagles, but was “delighted that it is a really intense rugby environment.”
The Classic Eagles allows players like Parker to continue a high-level rugby lifestyle and enjoy good competition and camaraderie. At 37 years old, Parker will be his debut match with the Classic Eagles.
USA Eagle Classics
15 Eric Masterson
14 Mike Harvey (10 USA Sevens Caps)
13 Isaac Mbereko
12 Simon Dogbe
10 Andre Bachelet (33 USA Fifteens Caps)
9 Tyson Meek (4 USA Fifteens Caps; 12 USA Sevens Caps)
1 Dennis Walker
2 Mark Griffin (9 USA Fifteens Caps)
3 Chris Moreno
4 Alec Parker (58 USA Fifteens Caps)
5 Mike Mangan (18 USA Fifteens Caps)
6 Ben Trautwein (1 USA Fifteens Cap, 90 USA Sevens Cap)
7 Kevin Whitcher (80 USA Sevens Caps) Captain
8 Scott Lawrence (5 USA Fifteens Caps)
16 Jason Gillam (USA Fifteens Cap)
17 Tony Nash
18 Hal Struckman
19 Justin Clark
20 Leon Neville
21 Sammy Gonzales
22 Guy Mumford
23 Louis Tulio
24 Hayden Mexted (8 USA Fifteens Caps)
Tim Kluempers (Manager)
Tony Flay (Coach)
Doug Brown (Coach)
Ty Gray (Coach)
15 Jonathon Goldie
14 Dan Harlow (Canada Sevens Cap)
13 Mike Sutherland
12 Franco Lloyd
11 Guy Vorster
10 Jeff Williams (15 Canada Fifteens Caps)
9 Morgan Williams (65 Canada Fifteens Caps)
1 Kevin Wirachowski (21 Canada Fifteens Caps)
2 Aaron Duchscherer
3 Dave Hamilton
4 Dave Laing
5 Rob Scott
6 Joey Alexis
7 Mark Thompson
8 Dave Knowles
16 Steve Gittens
17 Jeff Noble
18 Garner Lea
19 Tyler Leggatt
20 Joey Alexis
21 Chris Lumsden
22 Guy Hagen
23 Rob Moreno
Tom Woods (Coach)