Rugby was officially founded in the USA in 1975 and today they have four national teams.  Under the aegis of Saracens player Chris Wyles, they are fielding a relatively inexperienced team with 20 players in the squad enjoying their first Rugby World Cup Cap! But they have been enjoying quite some success in Sevens tournaments and have a few handy ex American Footballers in their training squad. They keep battling on the field and Scotland and Japan should remember that!

Captain: Chris Wyles

Player to Watch: Samu Manoa  (ex of Northampton last season now at Toulon) who was originally born in Tonga,  is a number 8 to watch!

Dates of Pool Matches:

Sunday 20th September vs Samoa – Kick off 12.00 – Brighton

Sunday 27th September vs Scotland – Kick off 14.30 – Elland Road, Leeds

Wednesday 7th October vs South Africa – Kick off 16.45 – Olympic Park

Sunday 11th October vs Japan – Kick off 20.00 – Kingsholm, Gloucester

For more information about USA Rugby – http://usarugby.org

For full details follow: http://www.rugbyworldcup.com

 

What to Eat & Drink whilst watching the Eagles

Food: The good news about watching the Eagles is that you could choose practically any cuisine in the world, and it has probably found its way to the States through immigration at some point in their history.  But where else to start except with very typical match day food – a REAL Hot Dog – made with proper frankfurter sausage   (award winning version available from http://www.franconian.co.uk) with soft white rolls with a hard crust (not the value version that go all squidgy) and topped with French’s Mustard (not French – it’s the top American brand of Mustard!) – look out for the bright yellow plastic in Waitrose.

Alternatively and heading for the Southern states – what could be better finger food than Southern Fried Chicken  – there is a good recipe on http://www.bbcgoodfood.com but if pushed for time, then that famous recipe courtesy of the Colonel is a match day takeaway!

If you wanted something a little more interesting, then Oregon is famed in the States for its Smoked Salmon – or try on line for Salmon Jerky as a match day snack – http://www.josephsons.com But for something sweet, Oregon’s Blueberry are to be tried – so either in pancakes (try Paul Hollywoods recipe) or for easier eating why not a Blueberry polenta cake http://www.blueberrycouncil.org/blueberry-recipe/blueberry-polenta-cake

Drink:

Beer: This could easily be called the National Drink – and though mega giant Budweiser seems to dominate at sporting days in the USA, there is a real Craft beer buzz in the US.  Considering that in the late 19th century, 92% of beer production was controlled by just 12 breweries and now there are in excess of 3000 breweries (and counting), that is some turn around. Even the big players are now getting involved by buying out some of the smaller craft breweries such as the take over of the excellent Elysian Brewery in Seattle.

Many of the micro-breweries are based in Oregon (where they hold the Brewers Festival) and especially in or near Portland.  Look out also for Maryland based Flying Dog with their seasonal Pumpkin IPA or their Earl Grey Black Wheat which is as unusual as it sounds or for true Beer Geek heaven – there is Flying Dog HBC – 431 which shows off the individual single hop varieties. Available from http://www.beerhawk.co.uk  Also try http://www.therealalecompany.co.uk who have a good mixed case to try out different American beers.

For something unusual try the Bacon Beer (yes really!) by Uncommon Brewers available from http://www.leftcoast.co.uk and for something more main stream, the famous Samuel Adams Boston lager is available from https://www.majestic.co.uk

Wine:

Wine is made in all 50 States of the USA – though to be fair some of the climates are more suited to grape growing rather than others.  California is the most famous region, swiftly followed by the Pacific North West and even Virginia has some quaffable wines!

The problem with the American wine industry is that for too long has been the huge gulf between commercial and often over sweet “ Two Buck Chuck” style of wines and the Icon wines that sell for eye wateringly amounts of money to obsessive Collectors . Whilst both wines still exist, there is a great range of wines somewhere in the middle, but they don’t get as much attention or sadly as much Shelf or Magazine space!

There are a couple of excellent independent retailers of American Wines in the UK.

The Wine Treasury have an outstanding list – including a Stellar list of Wine estates such as L’Ecole No 41, Woodward Canyon, Duckhorn, Cline and many others. Do call them as there are passionate about the diverse range of wines they import (not only from the US). http://www.winetreasury.com

Focusing on top end California do visit http://www.vineyardcellars.com

Marks & Spencer have two stunning US whites at the moment. Charles Smith The Honourable Riesling from Washington State – the lime notes shine through and it is great with  most seafood or cerviche. £12.  From Oregon, the Kings Ridge Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley whose pear like flavours are matched with a beautiful texture in the mouth. Great food wine. £13 – but both are discounted by 25% if you buy two bottles. http://www.marksandspencer.com

It is hard to find good value reds from the US at under £12 but try this pair of Zinfandels.

Scotto Family Vineyards Old Vine Zin is spicy, easy drinking and at £9.95is good value. http://www.leaandsandeman.co.uk

Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel has lovely black fruit. £11.99 (but on offer at £8.99 when buy two) https://www.majestic.co.uk

Not tried yet but am keen to get my hands on a bottle – is the Tempranillo from Inwood Wines in Texas – http://inwoodwines.com – it gets great reviews and who would have thought Texas was a home to great wines!

 

For more information about California Wine – http://www.discovercaliforniawines.co.uk

For more information about Washington & Oregon – http://www.northwestwine.org

For more information about Virginian Wine – http://www.virginiawine.org