Making Colorado’s rugby presence known on the world scene, members of the Glendale Raptors professional squad will travel to South America this weekend, competing in the Americas Pacific Challenge from October 6-14 in Uruguay. Raptors Head Coach David Williams will travel with breakout Raptors Academy star Mika Kruse and pro Prop Kelepi Fifita for the event. Introduced in 2016 and taking place in Montevideo for the third year running, the competition will continue to boost the high-performance pathway for U.S. players and could push Glendale’s standouts toward appointment on the Eagles World Cup National Team.
Six competing “A” sides, which include two North and South American teams, as well as an additional two from the Pacific Islands, will face off in competition that will both further the high-performance pathway for national and international players and provide exposure for the November test window. Glendale Raptors Head Coach David Williams is excited for the opportunity provided the two players he’ll travel with: “It’s a great chance to showcase their talent at a higher level of international competition,” he said. “Kelepi and Mika showed that ability last season, and we want them to push for a USA Eagle tour in November and beyond.”
Pre-competition training has shown the Glendale players up to the task, demonstrating themselves prepared for the increased physicality, speed, and skills of international play as they prepared in Florida this week. Williams, a veteran Eagles coach in addition to his time in Glendale, knows what it takes: “To represent the USA is the pinnacle of any player’s career. It’s the highest competition to play in. I relish the opportunity to work with the players and the coaching and support staff.”
Competition kicks off Saturday at 10:30am Mountain Time, when the USA Selects will face off against the Tongan A side. The full Americas Pacific Challenge schedule and information on participating teams can be found at https://www.usarugby.org/2018/08/2018apc/.