USA National Rugby Team


New National Team Head Coach Named

(Berkeley, CA) 3 February 2000 -- Professional rugby coach Duncan Hall is the USA's new head coach.

The former Wallaby this week signed a two-year contract to coach the men's national side, USA Rugby announced today.

The 43-year-old has spent recent years in England, leading Worcester in 1999 and working as forwards coach at Leicester from 1996 to 1998, where he and Bob Dwyer steered the Tigers to victory in the Pilkington Cup and to the European Cup final in 1997.

"I'm excited for the challenge," said Hall. "The USA team has a bright future. With no illusions about the magnitude of the job at hand, I'm ready to get stuck in."

Hall was the top choice of USA Rugby's head coach selection panel after a series of candidate interviews this past weekend.

"After a thorough international search and talks with several candidates, we are confident that Duncan Hall is the right man for this job," said USA Rugby president Anne Barry. "He is a pedigreed professional coach with the mix of skills needed for American rugby."

Prior to his coaching stint in England, Hall worked as the Queensland Rugby Union's Director of Coaching, responsible for coach education and youth development. In the early 90's he also coached at the provincial U21 level in Australia.

Endorsed by former Australian coaches Bob Dwyer and Bob Templeton as well as former international Simon Poidevin, Hall's no-nonsense approach is popular with his players including such notables as former England captain Martin Johnson and England hooker Richard Cockerill.

Hall earned 15 caps at lock and No. 8 for Australia between 1980 and 1983, while playing 75 matches for Queensland and spending one playing season in Italy.

Former national team coach Ray Cornbill who chaired USA Rugby's coach selection panel noted that the two-month selection process scrutinized both international and domestic candidates: "We spoke with and interviewed professional coaches from leading rugby nations, from developing nations and from within the USA. At the end of that process, the choice was clear." Hall's experience with the modern professional game, his ability to teach the rugby skills needed by often-times raw American talent, as well as a pragmatic approach to the limited resources of American rugby were key attributes, Cornbill added. The selection panel chair declined to name other candidates for the job, instead preserving the confidentiality of their applications.

National Technical Panel chair, Chuck Depew who also sat on the selection panel said Hall's development experience in Queensland would be an additional asset for USA Rugby. "Duncan's contract is solely for work with the national team, but we hope to make use of his technical experience as schedules allow."

Other panelists were the union's Executive Vice-President and former Eagle Neal Brendel, player representative Tom Billups and national team General Manager Jack Clark to whom Hall will report.

Head coach Hall has already begun the process of player review, staff recruitment and program planning for 2000, a season that sees the USA play five Pacific Rim matches, a one-off international against Ireland and with a tour of Wales and Scotland tentatively scheduled for November. In his new position Hall is charged with all aspects of coaching the team to include player selection and staff management.

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Scott Compton
USA National Rugby Team
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