Saw this release as I cruised through some e-mails sent this week … via USA Rugby:
USA Rugby to Launch Elite Player Squads for 2008
October 25, 2007
BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby officially announced its plans for the creation of Men’s and Women’s Elite Player Squads (EPS) for 2008, with the first EPS selections to be held in December by USA Rugby CEO and President of Rugby Operations, Nigel Melville.
“The 2007 Rugby World Cup is now a thing of the past,” Melville said. “We need to build on the experience gained and start building stronger squads of both men and women that will be competitive at international level.”
USA Rugby High Performance programs have shifted their focus on the future and upcoming major international events such as the Men and Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifiers in 2008, the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009, the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010, and the Men’s Rugby World Cup qualification 2010 and finals in 2011.
Selection for an Elite Player Squad is a significant step towards an Eagles selection, each player will agree an annual playing and training program with the National Team coaches and their Club coach. Each player will follow an agreed fitness, nutrition and skills program, supported by regular fitness testing and assessments.
“As with all selections for international squads, being selected is the beginning and not the end,” Melville added. “Elite Player Squad members will be continuously monitored against agreed standards, failure to achieve and maintain these standards may lead to de-selection from the squad. There is no fixed squad size, so the door is always open for National Coaches to add new players.
“I have already met the national Coaches for Men and Women, both have made initial selections and will continue to talk with fellow coaches to arrive at their initial squads. It is good to see coaches of both the sevens and fifteens working together towards common goals. It is important that our players training and playing programs are agreed and that the players receive the best possible support,” he added.
No mention of financial support, so it will be interesting to see how these squads develop for the national teams.