Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Professional USA Players in France - 2013-2014 season

USA fans will pay close attention to Scott LaValla and Stade Français
The window has closed in France for player transfers and clubs have already begun to showcase their new arrivals. But exactly how does this effect USA players and the test team itself? With an eye to Rugby World Cup 2015 there are a number of players in France who are likely to being playing for the USA Eagles in England 2015. Of the thirty players who played in last months Pacific Nations Cup and / or played for the test team against Ireland two players play their rugby in France. They are 27 year old winger Taku Ngwenya and 25 year old forward Scott LaValla. While both players would appear to be certain starters for the USA at Rugby World Cup 2015 the tournament is still two years away.

A lot will be expected of both players between now and the Wotld Cup with next months qualification matches against Canada certain to have the duo identified by the oppostion as being key components of the Eagles game plan. Their status as important players for the USA is consistent with their position in their respective clubs. Ngwenya has been a very reliable player for Biarritz since joining the club not long after Rugby World Cup 2007. The 2013-2014 season will be his seventh with him again expected to hold down a starting position on the wing. LaValla, in contrast will be playing his third season for Stade Français. Having played in both the secondrow and backrow for both Stade Français and the USA the verstaile forward is certain to continue developing in the upcoming season. 

Further down there have been some movements in the second and third divisions. Former USA international backrower Iñaki Basauri will be staying on in the Pro d2 with Tarbes. The Mexican born USA forward signed a three year contract extention with the club. Iñaki was not selected or the June internationals and nor was flyhalf Roland Suniula. While Roland´s brother Andrew remains firmly in the starting lineup the test future of Roland remains uncertain. He has been out of favor since Rugby World Cup 2015 with the USA based Toby L´Estrange and Adam Siddal being used so far in 2013. Roland Suniula could nonetheless return and he will be playing professional rugby in France for Vienne in the Fédérale 1. The details of two other former USA internationals is yet to be confirmed. Seta Tuilevuka did not get much game time for Béziers last season in the Pro d2 while prop Mate Moeakiola was also not holding down a starting position for Nevers. 

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