Friday, August 16, 2013

Strong USA team named for Rugby World Cup Qualifier against Canada

Samu Manoa to start in the secondrow
USA Eagles headcoach Mike Tolkin has confirmed his starting lineup to face Canada on Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina. The team is at virtual full strength with the one notable exception being that of Luke Hume who misses out due to injury. He would have likely started on the wing had he been fit but he remains in the squad. In his place Tolkin has opted to start Blaine Scully on the left wing. Scully has recently been signed to play in England for the Aviva Premiership champions, the Leicester Tigers on a four month contract. He impressed for the club playing pre-season Rugby Sevens. Scully now will join Taku Ngwenya and Chris Wyles in an exciting USA Eagles back-three, one arguably with much more flair than that named by  Kieran Crowley to start for Canada.

Crowley´s back-three of DTH van der Merwe, James Pritchard and Matt Evans is a more than useful combination but the USA will certainly look to ask questions of it as a defensive unit, with Pritchard likely to be targeted. Pritchard and Wyles are set to be the goalkickers and both doing so from fullback. The selection of Wyles in the position and not in the midfield sees Tolkin continue with the centre pairing or Andrew Suniula and Seamus Kelly. They will play outside the rising talent that is Toby L´Estrange at flyhalf while the reliable Mike Petri is to start at scrumhalf. 

The backs, can therefore be said to be more than an even match for the Canadians. The real questions will be asked of the USA Eagles in the forwards. Tolkin has kept the team similar to that which faced Ireland, and did well in losing by three points in June, but has made some significant modifications. Like Canada´s most notable player, Jamie Cudmore, the USA version will start in the secondrow. Samu Manoa will play opposite Cudmore in a move which sees him join fellow former test backrower Lou Stanfill. It means all four starting secondrowers are in fact converted backrowers due to Jebb Sinclair being backrower in the Aviva Premiership. With Manoa moving into the secondrow there is a place for Peter Dahl in the starting backrow. He joins Todd Clever and Scott LaValla with the casualty being Brian Doyle who drops to the bench.

Doyle is to be joined on the bench by some unfamiliar names as a number of notable USA players from Rugby World Cup 2011 are no longer playing. The replacement backs are to be scrumhalf Robbie Shaw and the versatile pair of Folau Nina and Roland Suniula will cover the remaining backs positions. Zach Fenoglio is to be the replacement hooker with Chris Biller having been retained in the starting lineup. Bill will join Shawn Pittman and Eric Fry as expected in the frontrow while Phil Thiel and Titi Lamositele are both on the bench as cover. The replacements backrower, meanwhile, is to be Cam Dolan.  

USA Eagles

1 Shawn Pittman, 2 Chris Biller, 3 Eric Fry
(Trinity, Ireland), (SF Golden Gate), (London Scottish, England)

4 Lou Stanfill, 5 Samu Manoa
(unattached), (Northampton, England)
6 Scott LaValla, 8 Todd Clever, 7 Peter Dahl
(Stade Français, France), (NTT Shining Arcs, Japan), (Belmont Shore)

9 Mike Petri, 10 Toby L'Estrange
(New York AC), (New York AC)
12 Andrew Suniula, 13 Seamus Kelly
(Chicago Griffons), (Golden Bears)
14 Taku Ngwenya, 15 Chris Wyles, 11 Blaine Scully
(Biarritz, France), (Saracens, England), (Leicester England)

16 Zach Fenoglio (Glendale Raptors)
17 Titi Lamositele (Chuckanut Bay)
18 Phil Thiel (Life University)
19 Brian Doyle (New York AC)
20 Cam Dolan (Life University)
21 Robbie Shaw (Richmond, England)
22 Folau Niua (San Francisco GG)
23 Roland Suniula (Vienne, France)


  1. Hey, when are you guys going to cover the almost certain inclusion of Super Rugby in Argentina that Sanzar has just announced. It's been almost two weeks !!

    1. Hi,

      It has been covered regularly in articles appearing on this site and in the Book itself. What has been getting reported recently in the media is a continuation of what was coming out in reports twelve months ago. Greg Peters comments this week are very similar to those from 2012. They are getting attention again now due to it being that time of the year.

      As soon as some clear news comes through it will be covered. Incidently, one interesting piece needing to be revealed is the make-up of two Argentina franchises. The logical solution is for one in Buenos Aires and another in the north, possibly Tucumán based.