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USA 7s Team Adds Brown as Assistant

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USA 7s Team Adds Brown as Assistant

USA Rugby announced Sunday that former Kenya 7s assistant Chris Brown has joined the USA 7s team at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

Brown will be an assistant coach of the USA men's 7s team. During his tenure with Kenya, he helped the team to its best ever finish in the IRB Sevens World Series.

Brown's job description includes:
• Deliver a high performance strength and conditioning program equal to any other core nation on the Sevens circuit, including travel and tournament protocols, regeneration and nutrition.
• Lead the fundamental skill development of core rugby skills at the OTC outside of camps and tournaments.
• Serve as lead sevens kicking coach.
• Mentor and develop sevens-specific strength and conditioning coaches.
• Deliver educational workshops on aspects of strength and conditioning and skill development.

“We are delighted that Chris will be joining the program,” USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer Nigel Melville said. “He has a proven track record working with elite teams in sevens as both a skills coach and conditioner. These are critical areas of development for our squad going into next season and Chris will certainly challenge the squad to be the best that they can possibly be and take the squad to new heights.”

This move follows a week of heavy speculation about the new USA 7s team Head Coach, who has not been named yet. Many expected it to be Mike Friday, who worked with Brown, but Friday took the London Scottish Director of Rugby job. Meanwhile, tellingly, when former coach Matt Hawkins's announced he was stepping down (against his wishes, it seemed) on June 26, USA Rugby said that "The new coaching staff will be announced in the next ten days."

The ten days are up, technically, today (Sunday, July 6). But more important than that is the idea that USA Rugby, and specifically Melville, is hiring a coach staff, not just one coach. Hiring one coach and imposing a staff on that coach didn't work with Eddie O'Sullivan with the 15s team, and it fizzled with Hawkins, as well. It seems that this time around, Melville is building the staff the way he wants to.

USA Rugby's announcement said that the new head coach will be announced soon - he has been picked, but the contract hasn't been finalized.

The Eagles program will be overseen by former Eagles coach Alex Magleby, who has been responsible for the development of the talent identification pathway in his new role as National Development Director of the Men’s Eagles Sevens. Magleby will be responsible for connecting the National Academy network of sevens partners and the high school and university age-grade programs with the Olympic program in San Diego, said USA Rugby's announcement, making it fairly clear that Magleby won't be the head coach (something some speculated on, but wasn't going to happen as the factors that moved Magleby to step down in 2013 remain).

“We will continue to run the off-site residency program at the OTC,” Melville said, “but we also want to open up opportunities for our National Academy players to compete for places on the program and to represent the Eagles. For those who watched the Elite City Sevens event in Houston last month, it is obvious that we are developing depth and quality in our player pool. It is our goal to provide the best of these athletes with opportunities to compete for a place on the Eagles team.

“This will be achieved by developing a strong relationship between the program at the Olympic Training Center and the individual Academy coaches and conditioners.”
In order to achieve this, the Eagles will hold regular High Performance camps throughout the season providing the Eagles with strong competition ahead of each circuit event and creating more competition for places within the team.

“Current residency contracts have been extended for a further month to allow the new coaching staff to assess the players and decide who they want their core players to be,” said Melville. “The players will begin their pre-season program this week, and an initial High Performance Camp will be held at the end of the month. Competition for places is stronger now than at any time in the past.”

Melville also announced the setting up of a National Sevens Technical Panel to be chaired by Magleby that will monitor developments in both the men’s and women’s sevens game and make recommendations to the High Performance staff.