Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Todd Clever joins forces with Rugbydump

I'm happy to announce today that Lions Super 14 loose forward and USA Captain Todd Clever will be joining Rugbydump as a regular contributor. As the season kicks into gear, Todd will be bringing us some great insights and rare video footage of what goes on behind when the scenes when it comes to training, half time team talks, touring, and a whole lot more.

He will be playing against the Chiefs this weekend, which I'm sure we'll hear about soon, but to get things started we have a short blog from him about pre-season training, speeding up the game, and why flankers won't be able to cheat this season.

The 2010 Super 14 campaign started in November for the majority of the squad. I was away on National team duty with the USA Eagles so I arrived a few weeks late.

When I arrived for training the team looked big, fit, and strong. I knew I had to put some extra work in to be able to compete with the guys. There's also been quite a few changes with a new head coach, strength coach, and a few new players coming into the squad.

It seemed like many of the players had a lot to prove, with myself being no different. All the changes are good, it keeps you on your toes, and as a player it can and should bring out the best in you.

We'vehad a couple of preseason games versus the Bulls and Puma's/Leopards as a run up to Super 14 kick off. It was a great chance to showcase the efforts we'd been putting in at training. We attacked from everywhere and tried some new things.

We didn't go for post's once but instead called a scrum or line out, while throwing in some quick taps here and there. You can take what you want from these games and it is a good way to iron out all the kinks and try different options and variations to implement during the season.

The attitude within the squad has been very positive and the guys are eager to get into the action. The final cuts were made within the week before the tournament began, which is late compared to other teams, but a lot of guys were proving their worth and I am sure making decisions difficult for management.

As much as it was nerve racking, I think it was a good strategy by management. We are still a new team, and with new talent mixed with seasoned players, it didn't allow anyone to get in their comfort zone. Everybody was pushing each other all the way to the season opener.

It seems like almost every year they change a law or two in our sport. Some changes are very minor and others change the game dramatically. For example last year with the ELV's, which made almost every infraction turn into a half arm (free kick). The purpose of this was to speed up the game and have it more exciting with more tries.

The rest of the world did'nt follow the Southern Hemisphere ELV's though. It must have been pretty confusing as a spectator that follows rugby world wide to follow the different laws in different leagues. I know as a player is was no different - one month playing Super 14 with the ELV's, then the next with the USA Eagles back to original laws.

And this year is no different as changes have been made to the laws at the Breakdown. This allows the attacking team to have a big advantage and the ref's are going to penalize the defence for slowing the ball down or any hands in on the ruck. It's going to be much harder to poach and turn ball over at the point of tackle this year.

This should result in a lot more penalties and less kicking (box, grubbers). These new laws are not ideal for most open side flankers, so it will be interesting to see the new ways they are going to cheat to get their hands on the ball.

I'm happy to be able to share my experience with everyone through Rugbydump. I'm planning on writing a few blurbs throughout the season, so all feedback is appreciated. I don't want to bore the readers, but rather tell stories and experiences that you may be interested in. If however there is anything in particular you want me to write about, feel free to express that.



Todd has his own personal website where you can not only learn more about him, but also see his latest news, fitness tips, photo gallery's, and a whole lot more.
Check it out at www.toddclever.com

He's also heavily involved in the newly launched Eagles XV website, which is a great resource for fans to learn more about the USA players as they march towards the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. We'll hear from Todd again soon.



  • sweetness, here we go USA!

    By Anonymous USA6, at February 18, 2010 1:01 am  

  • could you write about the actual training of a rugby player? like what types of training how much a week after a match how long before your back on the pitch or into the gym?

    By Anonymous creggs08, at February 18, 2010 1:03 am  

  • how much can you guys lift in the gym?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2010 1:07 am  

  • Todd mate if you read this, you are a top man.

    personally i'm just coming back from a long lay off. The new laws seem pretty straight forward, but are there any areas you would be looking at to gain the advantage?

    What about a tackle jackle, situation? for example david pocock i think it is tackles and gets on his feet in one movement to compete for the ball. Will most turn-overs be like this?

    Hope you have a good season.

    By Anonymous Abs7, at February 18, 2010 1:28 am  

  • look forward to it

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2010 4:54 am  

  • Interesting. Looking forward to seeing how the season goes re. the law at the breakdown, and some clips from him should be cool too.

    By Anonymous Benson, at February 18, 2010 8:22 am  

  • Way to go RD. You are really proving to be the blog out there for rugby enthusiasts.

    So when can I expect BOD to contribute? ;)

    By Blogger Sea-Bass, at February 18, 2010 11:16 am  

  • Hey Todd!
    I m an austrian rugby player. i wanted to say that you are really i great player. i followed the eagles team at the 2007 world championship and was amazed by the team and your players.

    As i said i play in austria and i wanted to know if you have some really dirty tricks for getting the ball in the ruck or anything else, because in our league i would say the referees are not very strict and we have no video and all the stuff.

    keep up the good work with rugbydump

    By Anonymous Pator, at February 18, 2010 11:40 am  

  • Hey Todd,

    Just wondering if you could give us a background really of how you got involved in rugby in the US, as its obviously not the biggest over there. How did you handle the culture shock of moving from what would be an amateur team over there to being surrounded by pros?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2010 12:14 pm  

  • Great stuff, i hope there are plenty of vids he can put up.

    By Blogger REDS!, at February 18, 2010 12:25 pm  

  • Todd you're a very awesome man

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2010 12:28 pm  

  • The Clevermeister is cool.

    By Anonymous The Inside Shoulder, at February 18, 2010 1:17 pm  

  • Yep, probs the second best flank in the world. great man.

    By Anonymous Eagle_USA, at February 18, 2010 1:58 pm  

  • american

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2010 2:17 pm  

  • Todd Clever stole my girlfriend.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2010 2:23 pm  

  • RD keeps on getting better and better!

    Todd as some other people already asked, I'd really like to know more about pro rugby training, after and before matches, gym work and all...

    By Anonymous Eric, at February 18, 2010 3:17 pm  

  • Todd, dish the dirt on how much people can lift in the gym and stuff. for those of us who think rugby is the best sport in the world, it would be a great help!

    By Anonymous Phil3, at February 18, 2010 5:51 pm  

  • Great stuff. RD just keeps getting better.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 18, 2010 11:11 pm  

  • Thanks Todd,
    you are definitely an inspiration to aspiring American rugby players out there.


    By Anonymous Ben, at February 18, 2010 11:53 pm  

  • Good player. Hope he helps those Lions this season. God knows they'll need it.

    By Anonymous PDV, at February 19, 2010 12:32 pm  

  • gday todd..

    first off congatulations for getting into the super 14's. must be a big stepping stone for usa rugby.. im a queenslander and was wondering would you ever want to try to play for an australian team? and also what is rugby like in usa? do they have a leauge or anything?
    cheers mate, best of luck with the lions

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 21, 2010 9:15 am  

  • Hey Todd, who are the best up and coming US players?

    By Anonymous Tom, at February 22, 2010 5:32 am  

  • Shit yeah! Todd Clever is an inspiration for US rugby players - one of the few who have made it to upper-level overseas teams. Seems like a real class act, too. Glad to see he's starting matches for the Lions this season as well.

    By Anonymous flapjack, at February 24, 2010 5:17 am  

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