Glendale Faces Rugby Americas In Exhibition Friendly

World Rugby Combine Draws International Talent To Colorado

In March of 2018, World Rugby kicked off an exciting new project: The Pacific Combine. The organization would conduct regional talent searches to help facilitate the professional development of aspiring rugby players. That vision has extended to Glendale this week, enticing players from North and South America to vie for professional Major League Rugby (MLR) contracts in the Americas Combine. Glendale Raptors Head Coach David Williams was on site to observe workouts, and though notoriously tight-lipped about strategy and recruiting specifics, nodded to the fact that Glendale is always interested in opportunities to scout new talent, and to upskill existing Raptors players: “It’s a great initiative and we’re certainly learning a lot from the visiting coaches. Their presentations and their skills work is something that we’re taking advantage of; things we can incorporate into our training sessions moving forward,” he said. “There are some tremendously talented players here and they are all desperate to secure professional contracts.”

Among those invited to the combine are internationally capped players from Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Canada, and the United States, as well as attack coach Scott Wisemantel, a former rugby union and rugby league player with extensive international experience. Alongside Raptors Head Coach Williams, MLR representatives from teams across the league are expected to attend this weekend’s match, scouting international talent with the intention of expanding their own squads. With the continued expansion of professional American rugby, the pool of high-level American players has shrunk, and while the likelihood of the sport becoming mainstream in the States is all but guaranteed, combines like the one in Glendale are necessary to help mitigate the growing pains.

The weeklong combine will culminate with a match between the visiting players and members of Glendale’s professional MLR side and Academy program. Though the stakes aren’t particularly high for the Glendale squad, Williams says the game is still an important step toward preparation for the upcoming season: “I’m not sure there’s anything called a practice game. We’re still experimenting with our players for 2019, but obviously we want to win. This is internationally capped talent, so we’re going to see some real competition,” he said. “We want to give our team experience that will make them better players – and that will happen if we play against these boys. Just by training with talented players we improve ourselves.” The match begins at 7pm on Saturday October 27 at Glendale’s Infinity Park and tickets can be purchased online.

This match will stream live on RugbyTown USA’s Ustream »

For this friendly match we will see the game structured a little differently with respect to player and team development. The game will have four quaters of play, splitting both the typical 40 minute first and second halves into two 20 minute quarters each with a one minute break. Half time will remain at 10 minutes.

Raptors Roster

  1. Blake Rogers
  2. Chad Gough
  3. Kelepi Fifita
  4. Luke White
  5. Kody O’Neil
  6. Jonny Layne
  7. John Quill
  8. Connor Cook
  9. Shaun Davies
  10. Will Magie
  11. Nick Johnson
  12. Ata Malifa
  13. Mika Kruse
  14. Campbell Johnstone
  15. Colin Gregory
  16. Max Lum
  17. Thomas Kakor
  18. James DelBozque
  19. Siale Maka
  20. Dwayne Pienaar
  21. Carlo De Nysschen
  22. Mickey Bateman
  23. Adrian Chatelier
  24. Mateo Gadson
  25. Mike Garity