Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Four USA players amongst the transfers in France

There is plenty of reason to feel positive about the future of rugby in the United States of America given the significant progress of the sport both on and off the field and both home and abroad. The USA Eagles team has improved significantly over the past decade to record greatly improved results and, importantly, be much more competitive against Tier One sides. This has a lot to do with the management of rugby in the country with USA Rugby having a terrific understanding of what needs to be done and are actively ensuring that the sport continues to grow by attracting more players and transforming them into future international players. The USA Under 20´ winning of the IRB Junior World Trophy being a case inpoint. The youngsters victory came just a week after the USA broke the record for the largest crowd for international rugby in the country in hosting Italy in Houston in front of over 17,000 fans

Abroad the USA is becoming increasingly known as a team to watch out for in the future. Taku Ngwenya´ try of the World Cup in 2007 has been followed by many memorable performances for Biarritz while Chris Wyles has consistently been a top performers in the Aviva Premiership and Todd Clever has been impressive in his two years in Japan. The USA team at Rugby World Cup 2011 was, for the first time ever, more than 50% professional as the players who started in three of the four pool matches were contracted to foreign clubs. It proved to give the United States of America a better prepared team as the USA Eagles gave both Ireland and Italy competitive matches and also impressed vs Russia, winning the Cold War match.

There is further reason to believe the he future of the USA Eagles appears to be in good hands with four USA Eagles having secured their professional futrues for the new season. Three players who are already professionals have signed on to play for different clubs while a fourth is trading Chicago for Auch in south-western France. Backrower Iñaki Basauri played the past season for Pro d2 side Perigueux where he recieved plenty of game time. For the new season, however, he will be playing his rugby for Tarbes also in the Pro d2. Joining him in the French second division will be the USA back pairing  of Seta Tuilevuka and Roland Suniula. Tuiveluka has ended his two year stay with Top 14 side, Montpellier. His first season was an impressive one but his second was overshadowed by injury. He will be playing the 2012-2013 season in the Pro d2 for former French glory club, Beziers. Roland Suniula, meanwhile, will be playing in Europe as a professional for the first time after having signed to play for Auch. His move to France is key to the the USA Eagles as the team has struggled to replace Mike Hercus at flyhalf. He will be leaving his USA club, the Chicago Griffins. Previously, Suniula played professional rugby in New Zealand for North Harbour from 2005-2008. Mate Moeakiola has been playing in France since 2009. He has played for Albi in the Top 14 and Bobigny in the Fédéral 1. His new side, however, will be L'Union sportive olympique nivernais, otherwise known as Nevers.

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