Monday, August 16, 2010

Famous Faces Abroad - USA Players in Italy

USA Eagles Centre / Wing Paul Emerick will be playing for the newly formed Crusaders Rugby FC (Crociati Rugby FC) in the Italian Super 10. The club is new having been formed in June 2010 by the merger of Overmach Rugby Parma FC and Noceto Rugby FC. Emerick joined Overmach Parma in 2008 having previously played two seasons in Wales for the Newport Gwent Dragons. His first taste of professional rugby, however, was also in Italy in 2004-2005 playing for Amatori Catania for one season and then the following at Overmach Parma. He made his mark in his homeland playing for the Northern Iowa Panthers and the Chicago Lions.

Emerick has been to two Rugby World Cup´s and is a certainty to go to a third in 2011. He made his test debut vs Spain in 2003 and has played 37 tests. He will be in the starting lineup either playing in the 13 or 11 shirt. His natural position is 13 but has the speed and skills to switch to the wing as he did in his most recent test - vs Russia in the 2010 Churchill Cup. At full strength, the USA are likely to field a back three of 11 Kevin Swiryn (Agen), 15 Chris Wyles (Saracens) and 14 Zee Ngwyena (Biarritz) with Emerick returning to his natural position of 13. This was the combination used vs Uruguay in November 2009 when the United States qualified for Rugby World Cup 2011.

South African born backrower, J. J. Gagiano made his test debut for the United States in November 2008 vs Uruguay and has thus far played 10 tests for the USA Eagles. He will be playing for Rugby Roma Olimpic. Gagiano needs a great season for Rugby Roma Olimpic to secure a spot in the USA Eagles squad for New Zealand 2011. Of his ten test appearances, nine have been as a replacement.

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