Todd Clever

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Todd Clever
Todd Clever Churchill Cup 2010.jpg
Clever at the 2010 Churchill Cup
Full name Todd Stanger Clever
Date of birth (1983-01-16) January 16, 1983 (age 34)
Place of birth Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight 213 lb (97 kg)
School Santa Teresa High School
University of Nevada, Reno
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2015 OMBAC RFC ()
Correct as of 23 January 2015
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Suntory Sungoliath
NTT Shining Arcs
Newcastle Falcons
Austin Huns
Correct as of 14 February 2017
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
North Harbour
Golden Lions


Super Rugby
Years Team Apps (Points)
2009–2010 Lions 21 (15)
Correct as of 6 February 2014
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
United States U19
United States


Correct as of 4 July 2017
National team(s)
Years Team Comps
2004–2009 United States 24

Todd Stanger Clever[1] (born January 16, 1983) is an American rugby union player who plays flanker for the Austin Huns. He became the first American to play Super Rugby. At the international level, he is a member of the United States national team, who has served as the captain, and is the most capped player in United States rugby union history.

Early life and education[edit]

Clever was born on January 16, 1983, in Palm Springs, California.[1] He grew up in San Jose, California and attended Santa Teresa High School.[2][3][4][5] He attended college at the University of Nevada, Reno and played for the club rugby team, where he was named as a three-time collegiate All-American (2002–04).[6]

Club rugby career[edit]

National Provincial Championship[edit]

Clever began his professional career in New Zealand in 2006 when he joined North Harbour in the National Provincial Championship.[4]

Super Rugby[edit]

He played with the South African Lions franchise in the 2009 Super 14. Clever is the first American player to ever play in the Super 14 and scored the first try for an American in Super 14 against the Hurricanes on March 28, 2009. Clever played for the Lions against the British & Irish Lions.

Top League[edit]

Clever joined Suntory of Japan in June 2010. In March 2012 Clever and Suntory won the Japan Top League final over Panasonic.[7] He then went on to play for the BGC APBs which won the 2012 Hong Kong 10s tournament.[8] In March 2012 Clever signed a contract with NTT Shining Arcs another Top League club.[9] He confirmed that he would be leaving the Shining Arcs after the 2015 season to rejoin his former club OMBAC to compete in the 2015 Pacific Rugby Premiership.[10]

English Premiership[edit]

On 17 September 2015, Clever moved to England to join top professional club Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership for the 2015-16 season.[11] He played one season for the Falcons, earning 6 caps.

Major League Rugby[edit]

In 2016, Clever signed on as both a co-owner and player for the Austin Huns,[12] an independent newly-professional club and one of the founding members of Major League Rugby, set to launch in 2018.[13]

International rugby career[edit]

Youth internationals[edit]

Clever was introduced to the United States setup in July 2000 when he called into the U19 national team for their Australian tour.[14] He was named to the team for the 2002 IRB FIRA/AER Junior World Championships in February 2002, with his last appearance for the U19's coming in their loss to Spain.[15][16]

USA Eagles[edit]

Clever made his international debut against Argentina in August 2003, at the age of 20.[5][17] Clever played for the US during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, where he intercepted a pass against South Africa that led to Takudzwa Ngwenya scoring the try of the 2007 World Cup.[18][19]

Among other accolades, Clever was named the 2008 USA Rugby Men's Player of the Year by World Rugby Shop. Clever played in the 2009 Churchill Cup that saw the Eagles clinch the Bowl by beating Georgia.[20] Clever further led the Eagles to success in 2009 by beating Uruguay in a home-and-away series to clinch a berth into the 2011 Rugby World Cup.[21] Clever captained the team during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, starting three matches.

He was chosen as the North American Player of the Decade and the Ruggamatrix USA Player of the Decade for 2000-2009.[22] For many years Clever was the captain and face of the United States national team.

On July 19, 2015, one day after a loss to Samoa in the Pacific Nations Cup, USA Rugby announced that Todd Clever was released from the Eagles roster due to "multiple squad conduct violations."[23] After the Eagles finished their World Cup campaign, Clever published a letter explaining his version of the events. He claims that he had received permission to attend the ESPY awards show with Scott Lavalla as long as they were back and ready to train the following day.[3] However the schedule was altered when Clever and Lavalla had left and they both missed an early morning gym session.[3] Lavalla was dropped to the bench and Clever was dropped from the match day squad for their upcoming PNC match.[3] Following this incident Clever also missed a morning jogging session, and this prompted Tolkin to kick Clever off the team. Tolkin did not recall Clever into the World Cup squad.[3] Instead Clever spent a week training with the Barbarians F.C..[3] Originally Clever was going to retire following the 2015 World Cup, but this incident motivated Clever to continue playing professional rugby.[24]

Following poor results at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, USA Rugby parted ways with Mike Tolkin.[25] Newly appointed head coach John Mitchell reintegrated Clever with the team immediately as well as reinstating him as captain of the squad.[26][2][27] He became the most capped player in United States history on June 25, 2016, in the United States' 2016 mid-year rugby union internationals match against Russia.[5][28]

On 21 June, Clever announced his international retirement and his last game was the Eagles 52–16 win over Canada to see the United States qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup as Americas 1.

USA Sevens[edit]

Clever has also played for the US national rugby sevens team. In late 2009, Clever scored what was deemed the try of the day in George. In the final match of the day for the US against Scotland, Clever leaped over an injured player and physio and glided into the try zone for a consolation try.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Clever was featured in ESPN The Magazine's 2015 The Body Issue and was the first rugby player in the edition's history.[30][31]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • U-19 National Team Member (2000–2002)
  • 3-time College All-American (2002–2004)
  • USA Eagles (7s)
  • USA Eagles (XVs)
  • Captain USA Eagles (XVs)
  • First American to play in the Super 14[citation needed]
  • First American to score a try in the Super 14[citation needed]
  • 2006 ARN Player of the Year[32]
  • 2008 USA Rugby Men's Player of the Year[33][34]
  • 2009 Player of the Year[35]
  • 2009 Overseas Performer of the Year[36]
  • North American Rugby Player of the Decade 2000–2009[37]
  • RuggaMatrix USA Player of the Decade 2000–2009[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "ESPN Scrum Rugby Union Profile". ESPN. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Almond, Elliott (January 30, 2016). "San Jose’s Todd Clever back with USA Rugby". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Almond, Elliott (October 22, 2015). "How Todd Clever lost his place at USA Rugby". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Universal Sports, Todd Clever bio,
  5. ^ a b c "Ex-Cal star Vollmer, Stanford recruit Ledecky make Olympic swim team". San Jose Mercury News. June 27, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Nevada rugby player named All-America". Reno Gazette-Journal. August 1, 2004. Retrieved February 15, 2017. (Subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ "Clever Wins". 
  8. ^ "Clever Helps APBs to HK 10s Cup". 
  9. ^ "Clever Signs with NTT". 
  10. ^ "Clever returns home to USA". TIAR. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign USA Eagles flanker Todd Clever". BBC Sport. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "U19s: USA Rugby Men’s U19 National Team to Compete in Australia". USA Rugby. July 17, 2000. Archived from the original on June 20, 2002. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  15. ^ "U19s: World Championship Team Announced". USA Rugby. February 8, 2002. Archived from the original on April 16, 2002. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  16. ^ "U19s: Lose Close Match to Spain". USA Rugby. March 29, 2002. Archived from the original on August 11, 2002. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  17. ^ USA Rugby – Men's National Team – Player Profile – Todd Clever. Retrieved on June 7, 2012.
  18. ^ YouTube – Ngwenya scores Rugby try of 2007
  19. ^ "Habana wins player of year award". BBC News. October 22, 2007. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  20. ^ Loading. American Rugby News. Retrieved on June 7, 2012.
  21. ^ Loading. American Rugby News. Retrieved on June 7, 2012.
  22. ^ Rugby Mag, Clever Claims Award, Jan. 11, 2012,
  23. ^ "Todd Clever released from USA Rugby Eagles’ Pacific Nations Cup squad" (Press release). USA Rugby. 2015-07-19. Retrieved 2015-07-20. 
  24. ^ "Todd Clever Speaks on Eagle Ouster". Goff Rugby Report. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  25. ^ "Tolkin Must Re-apply To Coach Eagles, U.S.A. Rugby Opens Search". November 9, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Eagles' captain Todd Clever hat-trick powers USA over Canada". ESPN. February 14, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Mitchell names Clever as USA captain". Planet Rugby. February 1, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  28. ^ Wise, Chad (June 25, 2016). "Work for It: Todd Clever and the new U.S. caps record". USA Rugby. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  29. ^ Play of the Day: George Final day. YouTube (December 12, 2009). Retrieved on June 7, 2012.
  30. ^ Chiari, Mike (July 5, 2015). "ESPN Body Issue 2015: Release Date, List of Athletes and More". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  31. ^ Ain, Morty (July 6, 2015). "US rugby captain Todd Clever hands off his clothes". Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  32. ^ Loading. American Rugby News. Retrieved on June 7, 2012.
  33. ^ By CountryNews | Rugby News. Retrieved on June 7, 2012.
  34. ^ [1][dead link]
  35. ^ Archived from the original on February 25, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ [2] Archived April 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ [3] Archived May 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  38. ^ [4][dead link]

External links[edit]