CHARLESTON, S.C. – Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin has called 31 players into assembly in Charleston ahead of next week’s Rugby World Cup Qualifier against Canada at Blackbaud Stadium.
Most of the Eagles will prepare with a scrimmage against Life University at The Citadel Friday, with a number of players arriving over the course of the weekend.
The Qualifier against Canada August 17 will be the second of three match-ups between the North American rivals. The Maple Leafs came out on top in the first IRB Nations Cup match in May and will host the second leg of the Qualifier in Toronto August 24.
The Eagles had a disappointing IRB Nations Cup campaign - their first in the tournament – with four losses, but gained plenty of experience with the higher level of competition. A close match with Ireland in front of a record-setting crowd of 20,181 at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium also showed the Eagles’ growing level of play.
“The players should come back refreshed and recovered after a long May and June tour,” Tolkin said. “The time off allowed them to get much-needed rest for the mind and body and to reflect on their individual strengths and weaknesses.
“Furthermore, they have learned lessons from the summer games and they will bring that knowledge into the Qualifiers to make them stronger players.”
With the recent announcement of Paul Emerick’s retirement, a few players have the opportunity to nail down a starting spot at center. Tolkin will use the scrimmage against Life as a way to narrow down his roster to 26 players for Saturday’s match.
“The Life game will allow the domestic players to get back into the physical contact aspect of the game and get some of the rust out from the layoff,” Tolkin said. “It will also be an opportunity to look at some new players in our system as we continually try to build depth in the ranks.”
Men’s Eagles | Charleston Assembly