Combative & Comfortable: Eagles fine-tuned in camp

Combative & Comfortable: Eagles get fine-tuned in camp


The USA has always been known as a physical rugby team, but Men's Sevens Head Coach, Al Caravelli, employed the help of two very different entities to help move the Eagles forward at the pre-tournament camp last week in Chula Vista, Calif.


One aid was a battle-tested defense coach, the other a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gym whose clientele includes world champion fighter Dan Henderson, Super Bowl Champion A.J. Hawk, and former NFL star and all-around stud, Herschel Walker.


Dave Ellis, whose French defense held the mighty All Blacks to eight points in the RWC Final, flew to Chula Vista and spent a week with the team, tweaking their defensive approach.  Ellis didn't gut the defense and implement anything new, he just helped players make some minor adjustments to be more effective.


Caravelli was very pleased with Ellis's contributions in camp and is looking forward to working with Ellis again.


"Dave Ellis is the best defensive coach in the world," said Caravelli.  "He helped fine-tune some things on defense, but we didn't make any dramatic changes," said Caravelli.  "Everybody learned a lot in every session and we hope to work with him again in the future."


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Ellis at work with the Eagles in camp last week.  


Caravelli noted that the players responded very well Ellis and are looking forward to putting into practice what he's taught them on Feb. 3 in Wellington for the 2012 New Zealand Sevens.


The Eagles also worked with MMA coaches to "be more combative and get more comfortable in different positions," according to Caravelli.


In the gym, the Eagles worked on different holds and body awareness with MMA experts with the end goal of making the Eagles' effort in the contact area as effective and impactful as possible.


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Rocco Mauer (left) and Miles Craigwell at Clinch, the MMA gym the Eagles went to in San Diego to work on holds and combativeness. (Photo credit: Clinch Gear)


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