Archives for November 2015

August 19, 1982 Paul Topper’s Select Side List

Article 3: Pulling the Select Side Players Together

The following handwritten letter from Paul Topper to Harry Laws was written on August 19th, 1982. Harry Laws was attempting to pull together a team for select side play against Florida or Georgia in the fall of 1982.

” Dear Harry,
The following players have been involved in a select-side trial. Those with an asterisk have actually played a select-side game.
Unfortunately several of the better players have left the area (Springhill College) and these have been omitted.”
Paul Topper”

List (# Editor note: Some of the handwriting makes it hard to correctly determine the spelling of names.)

Yvava prop
*Stay F/B (#name is crossed out)
Stark c
J. Van Winkle prop
Tippins w/f
*Laws ?
Noe 8

*Smith prop
*Genthon F/B
Thomas w/f

Joffrion 8
*Casey S/H
Cameron prop
Waldrop w 3/4

*Andrews F/B
*Norton prop/2nd row
** Montgomery W 3/4
Logan utility forward
Trice W 3/4
Tucker prop
P.J. 2nd row – Not know proper name
Roberts 8
White c
*Bolton prop/2nd row
*Lounen (sp?) w/f
Faust s/off
Belcher 2nd row
Holland S/H

*Roberts 2nd row
*Wright Hooker
Brendan Gowing (sp?) Back
Wally Grundlach (sp?) 8

*Patroni s/off
** White w/f
*Cleveland c
*Owens w 3/4
Brink prop
*Gendron S/H
*Sporen (sp?) w/f – captain to date

= played in a select side match
** = Eastern Rugby Union trialist

Harry Laws – Rugby Resume a/o June, 2015

Harry Laws and Rugby Documents 1982-85
June 28, 2015 by admin (Edit)
In June of 2015 I received an envelope of rugby related documents from the years 1982-85 from Harry Laws. During this time period Harry served several positions of responsibility with the Gulf Coast Rugby Football Union and with several clubs and organizations within the Union.
Below is Harry Laws rugby resume.
Rugby Resume: Harry F. Laws II, MD a/o June, 2015
Age: 67 Family: 7 grown [and living away] children
Education: BS in Chemistry, US Air Force Academy; MD, U Texas Medical School, San Antonio
Professional: Medical IT consultant and Locums Pediatricia, Col (ret), US Air Force
Rugby Activity (current and active involvement/ responsibilities are in bold) Player (flanker, scrumhalf, flyhalf)
US Air Force Academy 68-69
Hawaii Harlequins 69-71
San Antonio RFC 71-76 (elected to Hall of Fame, 2001)
Rapid City RFC 76-78
Frankfurt Americans (Germany) 78-81
All Europe Select side (SH) 80 and 81
Ft. Walton Beach RFC 81-84
AF Select Side (FH) 81
Deep South Select side (FH) 83
Clark AB RFC (Philippines) 85-87
Yokota RFC (Japan) 87-89
Started the San Antonio RFC (70), AFA Alumni RFC (72), Rapid City RFC (76), White River RFC (1999), Orchard Park HS RFC (2002), East Aurora HS women (2003), Northside women (2007), Hamilton County U-19 (2008); Carmel 7th grade women, assisted in starting Westfield HS RFC and East Aurora HS women
AFA Rugby Alumni Newsletter/E-Letter Editor 1972-1989, 2000- present
AFA Alumni Association Board Chairman 2000 – 2012; currently secretary
Founder and First Chairman, Combined Services (CS) Committee, USA Rugby, 1980-1985
CS Newsletter Editor 1980-1994
CS Treasurer 1980-2002
Air Force Director, CS Committee, 1985-1994
AF Treasurer, 1985-1992
Southern Counties Director, Texas RFU, 1972
European US Forces Union President 1981
Team Captain (AFA Alumni, San Antonio, Rapid City, Frankfurt, Ft Walton Beach)
Match Secretary (AFA Alumni, San Antonio, Rapid City, Frankfurt, Ft Walton Beach)
Club president (AFA Alumni, Rapid City, Frankfurt)
Carmel Dad’s Club Rugby Commissioner. 1997 – 2004, 2006- 2011Chairman, Indiana High School Rugby Committee, 2000 – 2004
Secretary, Indiana Rugby Football Union, 2003
Commissioner, Orchard Park Youth Rugby 2004-2006
Board member, Indiana Youth Rugby Foundation and Rugby Indiana 2008-present
Secretary, Hamilton County Rugby Association, 2008-2011
Member, USARugby Rugby Committee, 2010- present
Colorado Society 84-85
Philippines 85-87
Japan (Kanto Plains Society) 87-90
Las Vegas (S Cal and Arizona Societies) 90-92
Washington DC (Potomac Society) 92-94
Indiana referee Society member and Chairman, 94 – 2004

Western New York Rugby Referee Society 2004-2006
Indiana Referee Society member 2006- present
Chairman of the Midwest Referees Society, 94-99
USA Rugby Referee Training sub committee, responsible for certification training in the USA
Chairman 1998 -2002
Member 2002 – present
USARRA appointee to the USA Rugby Youth Committee and Youth Laws Committee 2006-2008
Midwest Referee Performance Reviewer 2005 – present
International Rugby Board Trainer, License #84, valid until 2016
International Rugby Board Medical Educator, valid until 2016
Coach Assistant Coach, AF Academy 84-85
Head Coach, Carmel High School men’s, women’s, Carmel U-15 and U-11, 1997 – 2004
U-15 (2012 and 2014) and U-13 (2013), 2014 and 2015 U-15 Girls
Coach, Orchard Park High School Rugby Club, 2004- 2006
Coaching certifications
Certified Level 200 Coach, USA Rugby 2014
Certified Level 1 Rugby Coach, USA Rugby, July 1998, Level II July 2001, 200 Level February 2014
Certified National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Education Program, November, 1998

Ireland to play All Blacks in Chicago next year

Ireland to play All Blacks in Chicago next year

The Irish Times has reported that Ireland will play the All Blacks in the US for the first time. Ireland last took on New Zealand in November 2013.

By Gerry Thornley
The Irish rugby team is to break new ground by playing New Zealand in Chicago next November, with a return fixture against the back-to-back World Cup champions to be held in the Aviva Stadium later in that same autumnal window.
The Irish Times has learned that Ireland will meet the All Blacks in Soldier Field, Chicago, on Saturday, November 5th, before hosting a Tier 2 country a week later at the Aviva Stadium. They will then play New Zealand again on November 19th as a prelude to rounding off a busy November window and year with a game against the World Cup finalists Australia on the 26th.
Soldier Field, which is home to the Chicago Bears American football teams, hosted its first international rugby union test match when the All Blacks beat the United States 74-6 in November 2014. The match was a 61,500 sell-out, and although only 23,112 attended Australia’s 47-10 win over the USA Eagles in a World Cup warm-up match last September, it will be a surprise if the combined popularity of both Ireland and the All Blacks did not ensure a sell-out for their meeting next November.
Sam Burgess has left Bath with immediate effect, returning to Australia. Photograph: David Davies/PA‘A total mess’: Clive Woodward hits out at ‘arrogant’ English RFU
New Zealand celebrating in Twickenham after winning the World Cup. For all of Dan Carter’s magnificence, Ma’a Nonu was the key figure in delivering tries.Photograph: AFP Photo /Franck Fife Gordon D’Arcy: World Cup was won with offloads and line breaks
Gerry Thornley’s country-by-country report card
The World Cup highlighted the willingness of Irish supporters to travel long and far to support their country and the IRFU will thus be tapping into the Irish diaspora for a first ever meeting with the All Blacks in America.
These high profile tests are also in keeping with Joe Schmidt’s desire to face the world’s leading teams more regularly, and in addition to the Six Nations, adds to a three-test tour of South Africa next June in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. Six clashes with teams from the Rugby Championship in one calendar year is unprecedented and emulates the six games Argentina, Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final conquerors, will have against the same opponents in 2016.
Ireland have never beaten New Zealand in 28 attempts, dating back to 1905, and never came closer than in the countries’ most recent test at the Aviva Stadium in November 2013, when the All Blacks won 24-22 thanks to a try in over time by Ryan Crotty and a twice taken conversion by Aaron Cruden. They are now set to have two cracks off the World champions next year.
Ireland’s November 2016 schedule
Saturday 5th: Ireland v New Zealand, Soldier Field, Chicago.
Saturday 12th: Ireland v Tier 2 team, Aviva Stadium.
Saturday 19th: Ireland v New Zealand, Aviva Stadium.
Saturday 26th: Ireland v Australia, Aviva Stadium.

USA Fan’s 2015 World Cup Review

Thirty thousand feet over the Atlantic Ocean and six hours from the USA the 2015 Rugby World Cup receded to the East as Norwegian Air out of Gatwick chased the setting sun. When I started writing the stories about this world cup, I struggled to find a theme to unite all the separate stories in a way that the whole would become something greater than the parts. That goal eluded me. After forty four days wandering England and Wales, watching eighteen matches live, and being immersed in the greatest rugby tournament in the world, I am left with many scattered memories. In the end it was just sport, but a level of sport that defines and shapes the lives of many of the greatest rugby players and fans around the world.

The Daily Telegraph had its sports journalists answer seven questions about the tournament. Here are my answers to the questions from a USA fan’s point of view.

What was your favorite match?
Sadly my favorite was Japan vs South Africa. I say sadly because this was on the second day of the tournament. For the remaining 42 days of the tournament there was the persistent belief that I had already seen what would be the match of the tournament.
An inebriated Springbok fan, sloshing beer around the area every time South Africa did something good, kept pestering about why I wasn’t cheering the Springboks’ successes. I asked him, “What do you think will make a better story, Japan winning or South Africa?”
He insisted, “It will NEVER happen.”
I loved his sober silence after Japan’s final match winning try.
If Japan, who the USA had beaten a little over two months earlier, could do this to South Africa there was a real hope that the Eagles might make the quarterfinals. This hope vanished the following day on a sobering warm Brighton afternoon when a lack luster Samoan side handed the USA their first defeat of the tournament (25-16).

Who was the player of the tournament?
Blaine Scully repeatedly launched himself into the air to cover high kicks and was tenacious on defense. He played in three matches including the record setting 64-0 loss to South Africa and his tackle success rate in that match was 100%. His collision with Bryan Habana on a high kick is a play for the World Cup highlight reel.

What was your personal highlight?
Todd Clever took my tournament to another level when he agreed to give me the story of how he came to be cut from the USA team. After the USA’s loss to Japan I contacted him, and he agreed to meet in Newcastle after the quarterfinals. In the bar at the Royal Station Hotel with a hen party chattering away behind us, Todd, with eyes watering and voice at times quivering, revealed how his world cup dream evaporated over 5 days in July.

His strength of character in not saying anything about the circumstances of his release from the USA squad until the USA had exited the tournament was exemplary of the depth he valued his teammates’ performance in this tournament. The hurt he struggled to hold back while reliving how the destruction of the dream he had given up so much will forever define how I judge courage in the face of a hopeless situation.


What was your lowlight?
The lowlight spiral began with the devastation of the USA in the second half of their 64-0 record setting loss to South Africa. No matter how much Coach Tolkin wanted people to believe the side he put forward was one he had confidence in, the fact that many of his selection had had no previous World Cup playing time made it obvious that his intent was to rest what he considered his best team so hopefully the Eagles would have a better chance against Japan in 4 days. The spiral would hit bottom in Gloucester 4 days later when USA fans would bring shame as they booed and screamed at the Japanese kicker during the Eagles 28-18 loss to the Brave Blossoms of Japan..

Was this the best ever World Cup? Why?
In 1987 and 1991 I was oblivious. In 1995 I was living in Venezuela and on vacation on the island of Margarita where I was able to watch the Final on television in the bar of a luxury hotel. In1999 I was living in London and saw six matches live including two of the greatest semi-finals of all time: Australia’s overtime win over South Africa on a Stephen Larkham drop goal and France’s incredible second half come from behind upset of New Zealand. I was buried in work in 2003. In 2007 I rented a cottage in France for three weeks and saw 6 matches live (including France’s quarterfinal win over New Zealand in Cardiff) and most of the other matches on tv at the local French bistro/pub. There were times in France when the ball would sit in the back of rucks after multiple phases of play that went nowhere when I thought I would have to become a rugby league fan or just become a complete 7s convert.

I have only been to two complete (in the host country from Opening Ceremony through the Final) Rugby World Cups, 2011 & 2015. To be fair I can only really compare these last two. For natural scenery and complete embracing of the tournament by the population New Zealand was not surpassed. The game is evolving and the level of play improving. The rugby was better in England. England, with some help from Wales, handled the crowds very well. The weather was fantastic. Of the 18 matches I saw live there was only slight rain at three. When the northern hemisphere teams all exited the tournament and the last two weeks became replay of the annual southern hemisphere Rugby Championship the 2015 World Cup lost a lot of appeal for a lot of people. There are so many factors that go into a World Cup experience. I will probably keep going back and forth on the answer to this question for awhile.

How could the tournament have been improved?
In an article I suggested a play-off system for the 12 teams that don’t make the quarterfinals. The whole tournament seems to go into slow motion and the Final ends up feeling like it is happening in isolation from the rest of the tournament as you go from 20 matches in 3 weeks to 4 matches in a week to 2 matches in a week to one and a half (the Bronze Final doesn’t really count as a full match) in a week.

Sum up the Rugby World Cup in 5 words. ( I only needed 4)
Ultimately Rugby Championship Replay

I am yet to identify how or if I was shaped or defined during my 2015 Rugby World Cup experience. Soon after arriving in England I bought F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned. Some days I would be so awed by his writing prowess that I would try to stretch my craft as a writer to emulate the beauty of his prose and find a deep symbolism in the experience. Some days it was a balance between personal life and a desire to post something that resulted in a word processing dash through 500 words trying to capture some of the sensations surrounding one of 48 rugby matches in the greatest of all rugby tournaments. In the end it was just sport played out on a global stage in front of millions of spectators to claim the title of the greatest team in the world.