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Selects Coach Egan Has Several Goals in Mind

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Selects Coach Egan Has Several Goals in Mind

Players in the 2013 ARC (when it was non-test status) belt out the National Anthem in Langford, BC. Judy Teasdale photo.

Ray Egan will be coaching the USA Selects competing in the Americas Pacific Challenge October 8-16 in Uruguay, and he's got a big job ahead of him.

Egan will be working in conjunction with the senior USA coaching staff and will take the mainly domestic-based team to Florida for a training period before going to Montevideo for the actual tournament.

"We're trying to increase the player pool for the Eagles," Egan told Goff Rugby Report. "We're a development side, that's clear, and the team has very few of the boys who have caps. But it's a way to create and expand the depth chart for the USA senior team, and implement playing strategies and terminology."

The plan for these types of competitions has always been to give newer international-level players a step up in competition without it being the full Eagles. In previous incarnations of such a competition (NA4, the old ARC), that goal was often superseded by the need of the USA MNT staff to get players more game time. But now that the ARC is a full test series, and the USA gets somewhere between nine and 12 games a year, testing out the newbies is more possible.

Egan takes this team, then with winning being not the only goal. 

"We're introducing players to the style of play in a lower-pressure environment," said Egan. "They get a chance to see what international rugby is all about. From my point of view, I'm not too worried about the win-loss column. Obviously you go into every game wanting to win. But what I am looking for is how players take on board the information and apply it to a performance. We want to get as many of these players as possible in the player pool for the Eagles, and by playing in this tournament, the next step is not as big of a jump."

If a player is truly international caliber, coaches in the past would really only know once they get a cap. This A-P Challenge tests them before they get caps. Egan said he wants to see players express themselves within the framework of the game plan, and in addition, he'll be looking to the slightly more experienced players to step into a leadership role. That, in itself, will be another test for those players.

"The whole process is what's exciting to me," he said.

See the full USA Selects lineup here.