Dowling, Smeeth leave Eagles posts

BOULDER, Colo. -- USA Rugby announced today two changes in the Men’s Eagles coaching staff with scrum coach Derek Dowling and attack coach Tony Smeeth each stepping down from their positions with the Eagles.

Derek Dowling will be stepping down as scrum coach of the Eagles as the team looks to consolidate the forwards coach position. Dowling assumed a green, young pack when he took over and slowly turned them into a more technically proficient scrummaging pack. His navigation with the team through the new scrum laws was excellent as was seen by a very solid set-piece unit in the Canada series. He will continue to work with scrums in the Leinster set-up back in Ireland.

“Derek brought technical expertise as well as a great passion for scrummaging to the Eagles pack,” Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin said. “The forwards enjoyed his great enthusiastic spirit at scrummaging time, and they benefitted hugely from his one-on-one sessions. He took a very inexperienced pack with not a lot of depth and slowly turned them into a good scrummaging unit. It is something he should be proud of, and the boys will use that base to continue to grow. He was proud of the Eagles and especially of his scrum.”

Tony Smeeth will be stepping down as attack coach for the Eagles. Based in Dublin as Director of Rugby for Trinity College, who compete in the AIL Division 1B, Smeeth found it increasingly difficult to find the necessary time to commit to the Eagles while attending to his duties as well as his family.

"Going back to his founding of the USA U-19 program in 1992, Tony has contributed a great deal of time and effort into American rugby,” Tolkin said. “He is a close friend and an excellent coach who has helped the Eagles to become a better program. He was always loyal and hard working with his priority being to make the Eagles the best they could be.”

Dan Payne also stepped down from his assistant coach position on Tolkin’s staff yesterday for an expanded role at Life University.