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Tolkin Assesses Vermont Camp

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Tolkin Assesses Vermont Camp

David Barpal photo.

The USA Men’s National Rugby Team leaves the friendly confines of Burlington, Vt. for Ottawa, Canada on Thursday to face Canada Saturday.

The players have been able to get a nice mix of intense training and some time off - Lake Champlain is of course right there, and the town of Burlington had its attractions, as long as the players avoided too much Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

It’s been a good few days to quietly go about their business, and while Head Coach Mike Tolkin wants to beat Canada and is installing a game plan to do just that, he also has been able to work on some long-term issues.

“We’re working to solidify the stuff we started to implement in the Pacific Nations Cup,” Tolkin told Goff Rugby Report. “We were able to put a lot of rep in, which is great. When you don’t get a lot of reps, things can get a little sloppy, or things aren’t put into players’ minds. You want them comfortable enough with the plan that they go on auto pilot.”

Principles of defense look to be installed fairly well. The big question seems to be on offense. Tolkin acknowledged that the Eagles’ attack approach has been conservative, but he wanted to get things like the kick chase, and how they use territory, right.

“It wasn’t glamorous, but we needed to work on it and it takes time,” said the coach. “Now I think you will see the backs play more the way we want them to play. We will showcase them a bit more, and we’ve been working on who we want to play off.”

With a few players unavailable for this game, a few more will get a shot at pushing for that coveted Rugby World Cup squad spot. Tolkin said you could look on the next couple of games as a final exam, but Tolkin said that shouldn’t be thought of as a bad thing.

“Everyone has his foot in the door,” said Tolkin. “Now we’ve got three weeks for everyone to take that opportunity and run with it.:”