Julie McCoy joins stellar Tiger staff at IMG Academy Camp

Tiger Rugby today announced that Julie McCoy, long time Tiger Rugby women’s coach and Director of the highly successful ARPTC Academy in Little Rock, will be joining an already stellar cast of coaches at their High-Performance camp to be held at the IMG Academy in June.



“I’ve known Julie for years, and have always been impressed by her utter dedication to putting her players first. Not only is Julie the most successful USA Rugby women’s head coach of all time, but she has also always been an incredibly dedicated servant to growing the game across all ages and genders. As well as being a good friend, she is also a role model to both coaches and players alike, and will be an invaluable addition to our high-performance staff,” said Tiger Rugby co-founder James Walker


"Tiger Rugby is the clear leader in the Men’s developmental rugby academy space here in the USA. Their push for quality in their players and their associations with IMG, and the like separate them from the rest of the pack. I am honored to be associated with Coach James Walker and Paul Holmes, as they demonstrate the core values of integrity, honor and a merit-based, action oriented, approach" said Julie McCoy.


McCoy will be joining an extensive list of luminary coaches from across the United States and abroad, as the collaborative look to take a professional approach to high-performance training to rival other major American sports. “We are looking for the next generation of Olympians for both the men’s and women’s national teams. These types of athletes comprise of more than raw skills, and their identification cannot be taken for granted with the standard amateur approach which we have relied on in this country up to this point. Tiger is dedicated to first identifying the coaches who are already performing at this level, to create a clear pathway for finding the diamonds in the rough. It’s been a bit of the blind leading the blind out there at times, so we have been working hard on creating a collaborative to help spot and nurture these gems. Julie knows the women’s game better than anyone else in the United States by a country mile. She has been integral in the recruitment and development of athletes such as Alev Kelter, Naya Tapper and Jessica Javelet, without whom the U.S team would be in serious trouble in my humble opinion,” said James Walker


"Coach McCoy has worked extensively with our elite as well as developing athletes. She has coached XVs, sevens, women, men, all-star, academy, club, under-23s, with a proven track record of delivering victories under pressure," noted USA Rugby Director of Performance Alex Magleby. "More importantly, Jules is a positive role-model for young women, as a former Eagle athlete, practicing physician, coach, and entrepreneur."


“Adding Julie’s expertise to the best coaches from around the country, including the like of Ray Egan, Adriaan Ferris, Steve Lewis, Pedrie Wannenburg, Chris Brown, Frankie Horne and Nese Malifa to name a few, gives us a unique picture of what is truly available from a resource standpoint around the country. This is a critical time for our sport in the United States, and we look forward to delivering many more “Perry Bakers” to the national pipeline. This is a new professional era for development in the United States. There is still room for the NDA programs of which we will also be a part, but for true next level preparation we have had to initiate the development of our own comprehensive Player Development Pathway. We are working and partnering with the leading experts in both rugby and other professional sports, including NFL athletes Andrew Hawkins and Nate Ebner, All Black coach Sir Graham Henry, and our close friends from TheRugbySite out of New Zealand. This is a very exciting time indeed” said Tiger Rugby co-founder Paul Holmes.


One coach who stands to benefit from this new initiative is USA Rugby supremo Mike Friday. “What a great way for aspiring players to understand and learn what is required if you want to realize the Rugby Olympic Dream.

Tiger Rugby is a proven pathway for those that embrace the values and direction the Academy exposes you to. Perry Baker is living proof that sacrifice, work ethic and focus are key tools he packs in his kitbag. So if you aspire to succeed remember….life is not hoping, wishing and expecting….its about doing, being and becoming….so get comfortable being uncomfortable if you want to run with the USA 7’s Dawgs” enthused Friday  

For more information, or to register for the Tiger Rugby at IMG Academy go to



Tiger Rugby and collaborate


Tiger Rugby and The Rugby Site are excited to announce that they are collaborating to bring coaches and players access to more high-performance coaching resources offline and online.

"The amateur side of the game in the United States is growing rapidly, with organizations in that market desperately scrambling to keep up with the increasing demand for technical resources.On the back of a successful coaching tour arranged in conjunction with NorCal Rugby, featuring Rugby Site shareholder and director, legendary former Welsh, British and Irish Lions, and All Blacks World Cup winning coach Sir Graham Henry, highlighted the need to for further investment in coach, and player development, in the US.Working in conjunction with regional organisations such as Northern California Rugby, Illinois Rugby and Idaho Rugby, etc our collaboration will help grow the quality of rugby within the US.Tiger Rugby’s focus on physical talent development using quality coaching resources complement to our online rugby education resources. Plus Tiger’s extensive regional relationships are an ideal vehicle to assist in promoting the Rugby Site", says Rugby Site CEO Phil Connolly.


" are absolutely the gold standard of online rugby education worldwide. More importantly, we have been so impressed by their ethos and drive to help grow the game globally. We at Tiger look forward to a long fruitful relationship as we tackle the enormous task of providing access to the massively growing rugby market in the United States." - James Walker, Director for Tiger Rugby

TRS and Tiger will be able to provide Tiger affiliate club members with special Rugby Site pricing, and complimentary High performance programming delivered on the ground across the country. In addition, both parties will look to repeat the recent coaching clinics with leading coach resources from around the world. For more information on how to join the Tiger Rugby affiliate network, please email

Tiger Rugby specialise in providing high performance coaching for emerging talent.

The Rugby Site are the world’s leading online coach and player education site featuring some of the world’s best coaches and players.

Visit them at




Nationwide Childrens Hospital partnership

Tiger Youth Rugby and Nationwide Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine Partner to Benefit Community Health, Wellness


Tiger Youth Rugby has entered into a partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine to provide sports medicine services and health and wellness education to our parents, coaches and athletes. Both organizations strive to provide a safe and healthy experience for youth participating in Rugby and to enhance the quality of life for athletes participating in youth Rugby in the New Albany area.


Services to be provided by Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine include medical services, priority scheduling and educational services with the experts from Nationwide Children’s. The entire team of experts will deliver cutting-edge and comprehensive sports medicine services, resources and education.   


Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine includes a staff of physicians, orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers and physical therapists who are all trained to provide age-appropriate patient care to recreational, competitive and elite athletes. In addition to treatment, Nationwide Children’s offers a comprehensive program focused on research, education, injury prevention, strength and conditioning, and wellness.


High Performance Camp for Women


High Performance Camp for Women



Former USA Rugby National 7s Team Head Coach, Jules McCoy, Kicks Off New American Rugby Pro Training Center in Little Rock, Arkansas with Women’s High Performance 7s Camp, 8/20-8/24.

Thursday, August 1st, 2014

Little Rock, AR: As part of a new effort to identify, train, showcase and tour young American rugby player talent, USA Rugby’s former Women’s National 7s Team Head Coach, Jules McCoy, has launched the American Rugby Pro Training Center in Little Rock, AR, a designated Tiger Rugby facility. With several rugby pitches on site, local government and business support and a fully equipped gym, the training center located at the Greater Little Rock Rugby Complex is perfect for hosting elite level men’s and women’s rugby players and tournaments.

To launch efforts, American Rugby Pro Training Center will host 30 hand- selected, promising young women’s rugby players to Little Rock from August 20- 24. Tiger Cubs Coach Karl Barth and Atlantis Coaches Emil Signes and Dana Creager will join Coach McCoy in guiding players through a high performance training camp and series of scrimmages. Current USA Rugby Women’s National 7s Team Head Coach, Ric Suggitt, will also be in attendance to scout new talent for the national team program. Internationally recognized USAR Referee, Leah Berard, will referee the scrimmages and help instruct players on the nuances of international referee expectations.

Given Coach McCoy’s winning track record at the international level, she is uniquely qualified to lead such an advanced rugby development center. As Head Coach of the Women’s National 7s Team from 2006-2009, Coach McCoy won the Hong Kong 7s, the Dubai 7s and USA 7s three times. She also coached the Women’s World Cup 7s team to a 4th place finish in 2009, and stayed with the program to help lead Olympic development coaching and recruiting efforts. McCoy also has a winning track record coaching men’s rugby teams, with major championship wins at TOLA Men’s 7s, NACRA and Cape Fear 7s.

“I’m excited to continue my passion for rugby in America by creating and developing American Rugby Pro Training Center starting in Little Rock, AR. With the 2016 Olympic Games fast approaching, and performances at World Cups and international tournaments steering rankings, it is our duty to work as hard as possible to create environments and systems where our athletes can train to win on the global stage,” says Coach McCoy.

American Rugby Pro Training Center will also create more international competition opportunities for men’s and women’s 7s rugby, and an official men’s and women’s residency program for more consistent high level training. All efforts are designed to prepare athletes for what would be expected if granted a residency spot with the national teams at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, winning at the international level, and successfully competing at the 2016 Olympic Games.

As a current Tiger Rugby Coach, McCoy has recently partnered with Tiger Rugby to create a new women’s rugby international touring side to match the strength of their men’s program, and the American Rugby Pro Training Center will become yet another home for both men’s and women’s Tiger Rugby (outside of their Columbus, OH facility). McCoy is also working closely with both the Atlantis 7s and Stars Rugby 7s programs to identify, develop and tour athletes.

All women’s rugby coaches are asked to contact Coach McCoy directly should they identify promising young rugby talent they feel should be included at the camp in August, as ten spots are still open. Select elite athletes will be given opportunities to try out and become a part of the development program, as well as become eligible for Atlantis and Tiger tours going forward.

For more information on American Rugby Pro Training Center, contact Head Coach, Jules McCoy at Selections for the upcoming Women’s 7s high performance camp close August 14th.

Current Camp Participants: Ashley Perry
Jess Wooden
Nia Williams

Lauren Butler
Abby Gustaitsis Lauren Rhode Jessica Turner Ariel Johnson Biana Bradley-Rael Amy Nabor

Josie Ziluca
Brie Rahrig Denisse Zambone


Neariah Persinger Grace Flowers Corrine Heavner Augusta McGuire Stephanie Goetz Katie Stewart Rhiannon Clark Elena Clark
Jamie Alberelli Marjorie Olney Hannah Gauthreax Shamira Robles Megan Foster Bulou Mataitoga Liz Sowers

Leah Walsh 


Catching up with Tiger Rugby


Catching up with Tiger Rugby

Pat Clifton of RugbyToday catches up with our latest happenings


By Pat Clifton | 07.07.14

Tiger Rugby has been increasingly busy over the last couple of years – opening a full-time training facility in Columbus, Ohio, developing an affiliate network and continuing to take domestic and international tours.

Click title to read rest of article.........




Melrose Chronicles - Part Three


By Brian Hightower | 04.11.14

Brian Hightower is giving us an inside look into Tiger Rugby's trip to the Melrose 7s. Here's installment #3.

Banner Day: the lost bags arrived, the sun came out, and I tasted Haggis for the first time!


Praise the Lord and Pass the Sunscreen
During this morning’s run, the sun actually broke all the way through the clouds...for two minutes. The crew was so taken by the rare appearance of the glowing orb that the training run was briefly halted. Tomorrow is supposed to be balmy. Partly sunny and in the mid-fifties!  Paul Holmes, who handles the strength and conditioning, will have to factor for the heat, and may have to scale back the running and increase fluids.

The Quiet Ones
Some of the skinny on this Tiger squad:
A few of the players have stepped into natural roles as vocal leaders on the field. Their chatter comes from confidence that has been forged through experience and by virtue of their position on the field. Taylor Howden - “Tails” - leads the huddles (he also leads the team in tatooed skin coverage) and measures his words carefully. He doesn’t talk a lot, but when he does, it is meaningful. Ata Malifa and Zar Lawrence have been playing side by side, and if there is chatter on the field, it is usually coming from one of them (sometimes the subject matter is even about rugby). In a footrace, bet the farm on Zar. Zach Pangelinan and Don Pati are alternating halfbacks and give clear, simple directions during play. Both have good command of the game. Pati also has command over the sweetest mustache among us.    

There’s an old adage, “It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.”  With this team, that may hold true. Mike Ziegler-‘Grumpy Z’ (a nickname he hates) - has been on a few tours in his time. He saves his energy off the field remaining somewhat quiet, despite his experience. He is a great restart winner, and has good ball handling skills for a big man. Darin Claasen has played for the Tiger Cubs, and is a silky, deceptive runner with solid skills. He may be the one player that you’ve never heard of that could have the most impact on this team’s performance. Dominic Mauer may be able to squat the entire opposing team. He plays in the backs, is built like a bulldog, and has pace to burn as well. If he could legally wear his Carhart hunting lid as a scrumcap, he would. Thretton “Thretts” Palamo is a bona fide threat on the field. Our entire party, not so secretly, is counting on Palamo on a blistering crash run, with a few bodies in front of him so that we can all see what human bowling looks like. He is a shy, gentle giant, and  one of the last people on earth that I’d want to tackle. Then there’s Perry Baker, perhaps the quietest of the quiet ones. He is the embodiment of smooth, with a frame that is, shall we say, aerodynamic. He’s a greyhound. Count on this formula: Baker + Space = Try.   

The Godfather
Why the Tigers get to Show Their Fangs in Scotland...
Keith Seaber has been around the game of rugby forever. There is wide speculation here in the Tiger camp that when William Webb Ellis carried the ball with ‘a fine disregard for the rules of football...’ that he had actually received a pass from Keith. Alright, he’s not that old, but close.

His rugby resume began as a Cambridge student during the days when Hitler was using England for target practice, and when Seaber wasn’t diving over goal lines, he was diving into bomb shelters.  Eventually he left his native land for North America, taking with him a passion for his beloved sport. Despite his career in the Royal Navy, he apparently lacked the navigational skills to find the United States the first time around and instead landed in Canada. There, he began a lifetime of working within the game and establishing connections that continue to bear fruit decades hence. In fact, the very reason why there is a Tiger rugby tour can be traced back to Seaber’s connections with Scottish rugby and the town of Melrose. He walks among the good people of this town as an adopted son.

The specifics of Keith’s ties to the game are too numerous to list. Both this author and tour manager Brian Vizard played 7s for him during our own glory days. His contributions to American rugby were recognized with induction into the founding class of the US Rugby Hall of Fame in 2011. Fittingly, his commemorative ring was presented by Vizard just last night in an intimate dinner here at the Melrose Rugby Clubhouse. This afternoon, Keith unconsciously rubs the new foreign object on his finger. It barely slides over an arthritic knuckle. No matter, he won’t be taking it off any time soon.

Men like Keith are responsible for the traditions of this game that we love, and it is important that we give them their due. They exist in every true rugby community. Players will come and go, teams will fail or succeed, but the backbone of the game consists of people who have dedicated their energies and their free time to ensuring that there are opportunities for players like Pati, Pangelinan and Palamo. They are the keepers of the rugby ethos, our own invisible equivalent of the Olympic torch, that is lit and then carried by players and supporters alike during every rugby event. It has been lit here in Melrose. Long may it burn.    




Melrose Chronicles - Part Two


By Brian Hightower | 04.09.14

Brian Hightower is with Tiger Rugby at the home of 7s, Melrose, Scotland, and here's his second diary entry.

All photos by Max Rugby.

With the exception of Paul Emerick’s luggage and the bag full of Tiger Rugby tour kit, the entire party arrived within a few hours in Edinburgh. "YOU CAN TAKE OUR TRACK SUITS!!, BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE OUR..."


Day Break in Melrose
It is early Wednesday morning. Fog shrouds the grass covered peaks of the Eildon Mountains. At the base of these hills, where remnants of an ancient Roman road  remain, and newborn lambs dot the landscape, picturesque Melrose stirs. Melrose Abbey, which is the religious centerpiece of this idyllic town and the burial ground of the heart of Robert the Bruce (literally), is undergoing another facelift. The Abbey has been under construction for over a thousand years. This is not an indictment of Melrosian masonry, but the historical consequence of grumpy English monarchs who saw fit to raze it every couple hundred years or so. In stark contrast, an entirely new addition to the town: grandstands for a few thousand spectators, a party pavilion, concessions and a VIP tent, have all been erected hurriedly in a few days anticipating the weekend bash, which will pack this tiny town to the rafters.

Gracious Hosts
Apropos of the history of this beautiful Borders burg, the Tiger tour itself is being received the old fashioned way. All of the players and support staff have been billeted by Melrose Club host families (apparently the losers of a member lottery), who will house and feed them for the first three nights. Actually, the arrangement could not have worked better for the players as it has accelerated the affinity that they feel for the town and its generous people. As a natural extension of the hosts’ own enthusiasm for the game, the Tigers on tour have been taken in like family, and will likely earn a few thousand new fans on Saturday...right up until they face the home team from Melrose, that is.

Tigers off and Running
The tour party has begun to gel. During their first day together, there has been a light training run followed by a stop at the local youth rugby clinic. About a hundred 7-to-10-year-olds dressed in Melrose Rugby jerseys were in attendance when the U.S. tourists dropped by. Highlights included watching 9-year-olds trying to run into the tackle bag that Thretton Palamo was holding, and a dive-bombing leg tackle by a 3rd grader on American legend Brian Vizard, which earned the little tyke MVP honors.   

All the while, the Melrose Rugby Football Club has become home base. A classic Scottish rugby club environment, the MRFC (founded 1877) has an intimate grandstand, dressing rooms, and a clubhouse with a bar and taproom adorned with photos, trophies and jerseys that document its storied past. Laughter fills the booths as the boys unwind, usually emanating from the direction of Ata Malifa. James Walker has chosen his Tigers well. It is a humble, self-effacing bunch, with a good balance of youth and experience, trying to achieve something unprecedented. They have walked into history, literally. The country, the town and the club are a reminder of the roots of this galvanizing game. "Youth is wasted on the young," so the saying goes. It is unlikely that the players know how rare this opportunity is. It is an experience whose luster will get brighter over time.   

Most notorious waterboys in Scotland
Brian Vizard is the Manager of this tour. He is one of the most prolific Eagles of all time, and his laid back manner and humility belie the notoriety that his name has earned both from his playing days, and now as an ambassador of the global game. We are trying to keep the local elementary school children away from his knees.

As alluded to in the first installment, Paul Emerick is on the tour. He is an assistant coach for Tiger, a modern American rugby icon, and, most importantly, a sea of unspoken confidence for some of the younger players. He has been on a neverending rugby tour for the past fifteen years, and has worthwhile knowledge to pass on like, how to run through a gap, and how to manage referees.

Coming up...We’ll find out who is older, tour guru Keith Seaber or Gandalf.




Melrose Chronicles - Part One


By Brian Hightower | 04.07.14

Honoring a longstanding rugby tradition, former-Eagle Brian Hightower has become an extraneous "staff member" on a tour that is already top-heavy. Throughout the week, he'll try to justify his travels by providing exclusive stories about the Tiger Rugby tour from the birthplace of 7s.


Town of Melrose Stalked by a Tiger

Next Saturday, in the pastoral Borders region of Scotland, the population of Melrose (est. 2,307) will increase exponentially as rugby 7s makes its yearly pilgrimage back to its roots.  Rugby aficionados know that the abbreviated game began in this tiny hamlet in Scotland as a desperate diversion hatched by a local purveyor of rump roasts in the late 19th century, and has now catapulted to Olympic proportions.

Bids to the one day, knockout-style affair are an extreme rarity, especially if your team’s national anthem does not begin with the words "O Flower of Scotland..."  In the past, legendary international outfits like Stellenbosch (SA), Bay of Plenty (NZ) and Randwick (AUS) have garnered the few remaining invitations to this, the original 7s tournament.  However, last fall, with help from USA Rugby Hall of Famer Keith Seaber, one of the coveted spots for the Melrose tournament was dangled before James Walker, Director of Tiger Rugby. Like the emblematic feline on his jerseys, he pounced.

A Different Sort of Cat
This is all part of the plan for Walker. Make no mistake, he knows that the invite to Melrose is a special honor, but in many ways it is a logical progression of a vision that has been years in the making.  The evolution of Tiger Rugby has seen a gritty neophyte on the rugby stage a dozen years ago develop into a perennial 7s powerhouse, eventually spawning an Olympic Development Academy (ODA) which boasts the only full time residency program outside of Chula Vista.  But you won’t find Walker or his Sergeant at Arms, Paul Holmes, resting on their laurels.  Among their goals is " be the best invitational touring side in the world," according to the straight-shooting Director.

The players that have fueled the Tiger engine in the last decade read like a Who’s Who of American rugby: Stanford, Dahl, Enosa, Hamilton, Malifa x2, Hawkins ... 23 Eagles in all, Walker can name them if you ask.  And while Tiger Rugby always seems to have a bumper crop of talent between the white lines, what occurs off the field for Walker’s lads seems to bear the most fruit and sets them apart from other tourists.

One of the original Tigers, Dallen Stanford, recently waxed nostalgic about how these trips are "unlike any other tours."  According to the slippery South African, who had arrived from Capetown in 2002 to join the first Tiger iteration known as Oxy Old Boys, "yes, there is a professional environment on the field, but James is able to bring a group of people in and bond them together. Its about enjoying yourself, and genuinely caring about each other." 

For Stanford, the logical extension of this priority is "a relaxed team who can to express themselves on the pitch."
Veteran Taylor Howden will captain the side next week in Melrose.  In a recent email to the players, he concisely delivered what has become the cultural bedrock of Tiger Rugby:

Most, if not all of you, have been on tours before so you know what its about. Create relationships with your teammates early in the tour, get to know one another and learn parts of people from  the training time we have the first few days to the downtime and display that relationship in your rugby

Tiger has yet to win an international, though they’ve made two Cup Finals.  Howden thinks that they are poised to change that on Saturday.  “I think we’re ready.  James and I have talked about it.”

The Den:
Melrose is one of the toughest tournaments in the world to win.  Unlike the standard pool-and-brackets shuffle, Ned Haig’s format continues as it was devised 131 years ago, that is, the winners move on, and the losers drink Scotch.  The team that lifts the coveted Ladies Cup at the end is the only undefeated side remaining.     

Daunting? Perhaps. But Tiger Rugby has a potent roster that will be hard for opponents to overlook, and hard to game plan for, for that matter.  It is a team that has size, speed, and experience, and ultimately leaves the coaches with plenty of options.  Pick your poison with this bunch.  Try to catch Perry Baker on the corner, or how about a head up tackle on a rampaging Thretton Palamo. Pati and Malifa can carve like a Ginsu knife, and if all else fails, perhaps former All Black 7s player Zar Lawrence can create a moment.

However, as always, the first challenge is to try to get all the players to Edinburgh on the same afternoon.  Updates to come....stay tuned.   

Tiger Rugby Melrose 7s Team:  Perry Baker, Darin Claasen, Taylor Howden (c), Zar Lawrence, Ata Malifa, Dominic Mauer, Thretton Palamo, Zach Pangelinan, Don Pati, Mike Ziegler.

Coming soon...A rare Cactus sighting in the land of the thistle...