Photo of Ben LandryFormer Whitewater and Milwaukee Barbarian standout Ben Landry will be heading to the Olympic Training Center for the upcoming USA Rugby Eagles Forwards Camp.

From the USA Rugby media release:

Head Coach Mike Tolkin and the Men's Eagles coaching staff will work with 20 Rugby World Cup hopefuls at the United States Olympic Committee Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., next week.

Capped Eagles  ... will help integrate newcomers to the national team setup at the Forwards Camp Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

"This is the first time we've done this, and from my recollection, it's the first time that it's been done with the Eagles for at least 10 years," Tolkin said. "This is an area that we want to continue to strengthen."

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Landry also recently earned time playing at the national level in October at the Americas Championship.

[Photo from Facebook]

kuxmannCongratulations to Wisconsin's own Cody Kuxmann, named today as one of the USA Rugby Shanagher Morrison Scholarship winners. Kuxmann will travel to South Africa to train further as a referee.

Via USA Rugby:

Cutrell, Kuxmann awarded Shanagher Morrison Scholarships

Thursday, January 22, 2015

BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby announced Thursday the two recipients of the Shanagher Morrison Scholarship for 2015. The scholarship, named after two of USA Rugby's most storied referees, will send Nick Cutrell and Cody Kuxmann to the Maties Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

It is the belief of Maties Academy that "the development of a good referee can only be achieved through a holistic approach – having enough practical experience as well as access to high performance training facilities." Maties Academy offers access to "26 hostel games per week, WP League and school games on weekends, as well as to the University's Gymnasium, Vision lab, and a curriculum developed specifically for referees."

"Having had multiple referees train at Maties, we believe that this is a great opportunity for Cutrell and Kuxmann to hone their skills among the world's best," said USA Rugby Referee Manager Brittany Jacobs. "We look forward to supporting their referee development abroad and anticipate great things for each of the scholarship recipients upon their return to the States."

Cutrell, 22, began refereeing during his college's off-season as a way to better understand the intricacies of rugby law. For his first two years as a referee, he specifically refereed high school matches.

"Refereeing was a way of giving back to the rugby community as well as aid my progression as a player," says Cutrell. "This past year I have refereed one high school state championship, one high school all-star tournament final, and a handfull of collegiate and Division II men's rugby games."

Kuxmann, 23, began officiating in 2008 at the young age of 16. His abilities were noticed quickly and he moved from officiating high school matches to officiating men's college and club matches within his first year. Kuxmann continued his officiating career during his time at university in England, where he had the opportunity to work with the London Referee Society. Now back in the U.S., Kuxmann is an incredibly active referee in Wisconsin.

"This experience will allow me to further my understanding and experience of the game," Kuxmann said. "I intend to bring back this knowledge and use it to the best of my ability."

The Shanagher Morrison Scholarship is made possible by the Shanagher Morrison Referee Fund, which raises the bar and creates international learning opportunities for up-and-coming referees through generous contributions to USA Rugby Trust. If you would like to support this worthwhile program, please visit the USA Rugby Trust page.

[Photo via Facebook, by L. Johnson]

The New Year is still young, but across the Wisconsin Rugby Football Union, our rugby community is starting to gear up for spring competitions. Let's check out what's happening in rugby this week ...

SAVE THE DATE - REFEREE SOCIETY MEETING

Thank you to Brad Cassetta for this update from our Wisconsin Rugby Referee Society (WRRS):

WRRS Fitness Testing & Meeting in Fond du Lac
Great year in 2014 but it's time to start 2015! Our WRRS AGM is February 28. We are having the fitness testing in the morning from 10 a.m. till noon at the Howard Sadoff gym at Marian University in Fond du Lac. 45 South National Ave. It is important that everyone get tested before the season! The coaches will be using these tests as part of their development process and for the referees that want to be considered for Midwest assignments. We will then go down the block for the WRRS AGM at Moraine Park Tech College, 235 N. National Ave., from 1 – 3 p.m. in room O102. Enter on west side of building.

WRRS Officers Election at AGM
I will send out an agenda as we get closer to the meeting, but we do have elections that day for President, Treasurer and Appointments Officer. Please get your name to Erik Goetz if you would like to run for a position. We also need a Secretary to fill in this position for the year until it comes up for election in 2016. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE NOMINATED!

Midwest Referee Society Meeting
On February 21 is the Midwest Referee Society meeting in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Everyone who is interested can go! We want to see as many WRRS referees there as possible. It is a great experience for everyone whether you are a new referee or an experienced one. They are a lot of fun! If you are interested in going, please let me know ASAP. The WRRS may be able to help with some funds for those who attend.

Referees Advance In Grading
The Referee Coaches have just finished their year-end grading of all referees for 2014. If you want to know what your grade is, please contact our development officer John Blakeman. But also I would like to congratulate the following referees for advancing to the next grade. Nice work!

They are:
Name – New Grade
Marcus Dufrane - C1
Ron Baushbaum - C1
Cody Kuxman - C1
Dan Chanen - C2
Jim Harrings - C2
Justin Jaeger - C2
Mike Good - C2
Jeff Kempen - C3
Mitch Uitenbroek - C3
Emily Grambsch - C3
Bryan Stephey - C3

Great job all!

- Brad S Casetta Sr., President WRRS and Appointsment Officer
238-2806 cell / 920-923-6759 home

USA WOMEN'S 7s ADD MORE WISCONSIN TIES IN TALENT

If you've been following the USA Women's 7s team, you may have noticed some new faces popping up in team action photos in 2015. Former Wisconsin rugger Phaidra Knight, a notable Eagle veteran in both 15s and 7s, has been playing rugby with the team out in Chula Vista. She joins two other Eagles at the Olympic Training Center with Wisconsin ties in the pool – former UW-Milwaukee player and young Eagle veteran Katie Johnson (originally from Minnesota) and Alev Kelter, a cross-over athlete and former University of Wisconsin Badger varsity hockey player.

Here are some photos from the recent friendlies between the Eagles, Ireland, and Canada – Phaidra Knight (in USA cap), Alev Kelter kicking a conversion, and Katie Johnson taking on two defenders.

WINTER TRAINING MOTIVATION

This week, we're sharing a few links to rugby training information using a rowing machine. Most people don't think about rowing machines being a great tool for rugby training, but it's a go-to resource for internationals and local ruggers alike providing both cardio and resistance training. The first link is to a free PDF guide on using a rowing machine for rugby and the second link is to a list of sample rowing workouts. For a visual reference, check out this video combining both rowing and burpees. Have a great fitness or training resource to share? Let us know.

The Wisconsin Rugby Football Union has posted the official meeting minutes from our last two general meetings.

The Approved meeting minutes from our March 2014 Meeting held in Milwaukee, Wis., can be downloaded here. These meetings were approved at our December 2014 Meeting.

The draft meeting minutes from our December 2014 Meeting, held in Stevens Point, Wis., can be reviewed here. These minutes will be up for approval by our membership at the upcoming March 2015 Meeting to be held on Sunday, March 1 in Madison, Wis. You can RSVP for the March meeting via our WRFU Facebook event page.

Whoa! It's 2015 already and that is hard to believe. Tonight's temperatures are frigid across Wisconsin. But we'll be playing rugby again before you know it ... at least that's what I'm telling myself as I don another layer of clothes. Happy New Year, stay warm out there and let's check out what's happening in rugby this week ...

UPDATES FROM THE NATIONAL OFFICE

Things are very quiet here in Wisconsin, so let's turn our eyes west to the USA Rugby office out in lovely Boulder, Colorado. A few updates of note this week from that crew.

Ref Resources and Game Management
Be sure to check out the updated Referee Resources page on the USAR website. And whether you're a referee or not, check out the 2015 Game Management Guidelines. Useful knowledge for players, coaches, admins, and the like.

National Development Summit in Chicago
I also received a nice voicemail from the National Office today reminding me that the 2015 National Development Summit will be held quite close to us, January 23-25, in Chicago. Check out all of the deets here. Lots of worthwhile seminars and networking with rugby people from across the country. Be sure to share if you plan to attend with your fellow WRFU members.

What Happens There, Stays There ... unless you post it on Facebook
As I know some of you consider this a national holiday, just a friendly reminder that the USA Sevens in Las Vegas is coming up in February. Valentine's Day weekend, February 13-15, to be exact. Perfect for the romantic ruggers in the state and Wisconsin is always well represented in the crowds. Perhaps Todd Streeter's Cheesehead will have another national television appearance to follow up the Outback Bowl.

LOCAL WINTER EVENTS

While our boots might be put away for the winter, you can trust that Wisconsin ruggers are still being active and social. We'll be sharing fun winter events to check out and support our local teams as we find them. Have an upcoming event, let us know.

The Oconomowoc Men are holding their 15th Annual Ice Fishoree (Ice Fishing Tournament) on February 7. Details from the ORFC:

  • Ice fishing tournament, raffle prizes, good times!
  • Okauchee Lake and Rookies Sports Bar!
  • Any Questions email at
  • $10 Entry per fisherman or fisherwoman
  • Cash Prize awarded to Top 3 fish by weight in Game fish and Pan fish categories
  • Weigh in 7 am - 4 pm
  • Weigh in sites: Golden Mast access, Stumpy Bay
  • On ice games and raffles

WINTER TRAINING MOTIVATION

This week, we're sharing a video featuring winter training with the Northhampton Saints. It's a video plug from one of their nutrition sponsors and has super cheesy techno music, but lots of motivation for the gym and lifting ideas. Check out this link – "Northhampton Saints – Pre-season Rugby Training" Have a great fitness or training resource to share? Let us know.