Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Professional USA Rugby Players in England - 2013-2014 season

Photo: The Guardian. Manoa advances against Castres in the Heineken Cup

With both Canada and the USA having won matches at Rugby World Cup 2011 there is more expected from both in England 2015. The USA defeated Russia and pushed both Ireland and Italy while Canada impressed against France in addition to defeating Tonga and drawing with Japan. It was an improved showing from Rugby World Cup 2007 and also better, overall, than Rugby World Cup 2003 and 1999. From a Canadian perspective it was acceptable but there was no real cause for celebration given the heights reached in the 1990´s when Canada defeated the likes of Ireland and England and was a Quarter Finalist at Rugby World Cup 1991. The USA, in contrast, was a struggler at World Cup´s in the amateur era and failed to qualify for Rugby World Cup 1995.

So strong has the progress of the national men´s rugby team been since that point in time that the USA Eagles is a permanent member of the Rugby World Cup. The upward curve of the USA Eagles has come about through significant growth in player numbers a constantly improved domestic structure and the exposure of USA test players to professionalism. While there is yet to be a professional competition set up in either the USA or Canada there are opportunities of playing abroad and one of the major destinations is the birth place of the sport, England. 

The 2013-2014 season will see six USA Eagles playing their rugby in England in the first, second and third divisions. The Aviva Premiership will feature the same two USA players from last season with 29 year old fullback Chris Wyles playing his eighth season for heavyweights and 2011 Champions Saracens. Wyles has been playing for the London based club since 2008 after having begun his professional career at Nottingham and also having played for the Northampton Saints. The Saints is home to perhaps North America´s most notable player. Afer two seasons in Northampton Samu Manoa has earned a reputation as being arguably the best tackler in England. He is also a highly reliable ball carrier enabling him to perform at the elite level as a backrower or a secondrower. The 28 year old from California will be ceratin to attract much more attentioon in the 2013-2014 season. 

Should the USA overcome Canada in the upcoming North American finals of Rugby World Cup Qualification then Northampton Saints´ supporters will have reason to celebrate as Americas 1 is to play against France in the nearby Milton Keynes which, in effect, could see Manoa and his colleagues recieved as the home team. Manoa played in the backrow and was highly impressive against Ireland last month. He joined Todd Clever and Scott LaValla in the  backrow while covering them from the bench was John Quill. The 23 year old will be in England this season with the London Irish Senior Academy and, thus, could well debut at some point in the Aviva Premiership. 

Will Magie
There are to also be three additional USA players in England. Playing in the lower divisions will be prop Eric Fry who plays for London Scottish. The 25 year old Californian tighthead prop has been developing to help ease fears over the stocks of USA props. He is, presently, the only USA player contracted to a club in the RFU Championship. There are, however, two players involved in the National League 1. 2012 USA under 20 captain and flyhalf Will Magie has graduated from Leeds University and has gone on to sign with Ealing. A lot of eyes will be focused on Maggie who could well be the USA´s flyhalf in Rugby World Cup 2015. A possible USA scrumhalf for thre tournament the 29 year old Robbie Shaw who has moved from Richomond to Esher for the new season.


  1. The best tackler in England is Tiesi.

  2. The best tackler in England plays for the Falcons and his name is GONZALO TIESI !!