Friday, November 2, 2012

USA Squad named for November Internationals

Image: USA Rugby

USA Eagles Headcoach Mike Tolkin has named a twenty-eight man squad for his teams three test tour of Europe this month. The team is close to being at full strength but it does have a noticable player missing. Northampton Saints secondrower Samu Manoa will not play due to injury. He suffered a minor shoulder injury playing for the English Premiership club and will miss the tour altogether. The highly promising backrower Taylor Mokate will also not play after he broke his leg in the Americas Rugby Championship played last month in Canada while winger James Paterson is also absent. The squad features a number of European based players as well as the Japanese based Todd Clever who will continue to lead the team. Clever is joined by a number of veterans from the apst two editions of the Rugby World Cup including Paul Emerick, Taku Ngwenya, Lou Stanfill and Chris Wyles. These players alongside the Paris based Scott LaValla are likely to be key to the USA´s chances of success this month. 

Amongst the most interesting of selections is the young South African born Cornelius Dirksen who is the brother of Hanno Dirksen who turned down a request from the USA to play for the Eagles at Rugby World Cup 2011. Hanno Dirksen had previously played for the USA at age grade level and even played for the USA in a non-capped match against Irish province Munster. He will, however, never play for the USA after having decided to represent Wales. He lives in Wales and is into his second season of regular top level competition with the Ospreys. Another notable selection is that of the Irish born John Quill who has played for Munster A previously but has opted to play for the USA and has an American mother. He is a strong candiate to start in the backrow in place of Taylor Mokate. A third worth pointing out is that of Chris Chapman of the University of Sydney. The highly talented fullback has been playing in New York and is likely to make his debut for the USA this month.

The series is a highly interesting one due to it being a genuine set of international matches against Tier Two rivals. It is a rare tour but is not one that can be regarded as ideal. The USA, like Canada, will play two matches in Wales but will not face Wales at all. But the USA have it better than Canada due to the thrid match that both North American sides have scheduled. While Canada will take on the New Zealand Maori in a match which will have no impact on IRB World Rankings and will be played at Oxford University the USA Eagles will end its tour with a test match agaisnt Romania at Bucharest. On IRB World Rankings the USA is 17th and Romania is 18th. A win for the North Americans could see a likely move into 15th lace ahead of Georgia and Japan. The team could go even higher with Tonga ranked 12th and Russia ranked 19th. 

USA Squad

Derek Asbun, Iñaki Basauri, Chris Biller, Chris Chapman, Todd Clever (Captain), Peter Dahl, Cornelius Dirksen, Brian Doyle, Paul Emerick, Zach Fenoglio, Eric Fry, Graham Harriman, Luke Hume, Scott LaValla, Toby L'Estrange, Gearoid McDonald, Takudzwa Ngwenya, Zach Pangelinan, Mike Petri, Shawn Pittman, Anthony Purpura, John Quill, Robbie Shaw, Lou Stanfill, Andrew Suniula, Roland Suniula, Nicholas Wallace and Chris Wyles

Suggested XV

15 Chris Wyles
14 Taku Ngwenya
13 Paul Emerick 
12 Andrew Suniula 
11 Luke Hume
10 Will Holder
9 Mike Petrie
8 Todd Clever
7  John Quill
6 Scott LaValla
5 Bryan Doyle 
4 Lou Stanfill
Eric Fry
2 Chris Biller
1 Shawn Pittman

16 Derek Asbun
17 Nicholas Wallace
18 Graham Harriman
19 Iñaki Basauri
20 Robbie Shaw
21 Roland Suniula
22 Cornelius Dirksen

USA Eagles Tour Schedule

November 09 Russia v USA, Colwyn Bay
November 17 Tonga v USA, Colwyn Bay
November 24 Romania v USA, Bucharest

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