Friday, August 9, 2013

USA squad confirmed for Rugby World Cup Qualifiers

Chris Wyles - now could be the time to move into the centres
The start of the 2013 Rugby Championship will have all of the global attention. The August 17 matches of New Zealand v Australia and South Africa v Argentina are elite matches of substantial marketing value. They are not, however, the only matches set to take place on that date. Indeed the first two rounds will coincide with the home and away series in which the United States of America and Canada will face-off to determine the top North American side with that country qualifying directly for Rugby World Cup 2015 as Americas 1. The runner-up will face Uruguay home and away in November.

The USA squad members will not all be assembled together until August 11th but the official squad is nonetheless known. It is a mixture of European based players, Sevens players and amateurs. The big names such as Todd Clever, Scott LaValla, Samu Manoa, Taku Ngwenya, Lou Stanfill and Chris Wyles are all included are are young promising players such as Luke Hume and Toby L´Estrange. The squad is, however, not at full strength with backrower John Quill and backs Adam Siddall and James Paterson both missing. Their loss could be notable given the retirement of Paul Emerick. Replacing the injured Paterson is former USA Eagle Roland Suniula. There are also some new faces such as Trevor Cassidy, Robert Garvis and Titi Lamositele. 

The make-up of the starting XV is pretty clear in the forwards. The same players who faced Ireland are likely to be involved. The backs, however, could be very changed. The current form of Blaine Scully for the Leicester Tigers in pre-season activity in England could see him start at fullback which would enable Chris Wyles to start at outside centre, a position he has experience in for Saracens and also a position in which many have suggested he ought to play in. Scully has earned a one year contract with the 2013 English champions and could form a very attacking unit at the back together with Taku Ngwenya and Luke Hume. Both are certain to be the starting wingers while Mike Petri, Toby L´Estrange and Andrew Suniula are also established as the leading players in their respective positions.

Suggested Starting XV
1 Shawn Pittman, 2 Chris Biller, 3 Eric Fry
4 Brian Doyle, 5 Lou Stanfill
6 Samu Manoa, 8 Todd Clever (C), 7 Scott LaValla

9 Mike Petri,10 Toby L´Estrange
12 Andrew Suniula,13 Chris Wyles
11 Luke Hume,15 Blaine Scully,14 Taku Ngwenya

USA squad
Forwards: Chris Biller, Trevor Cassidy, Todd Clever, Peter Dahl, Cam Dolan, Brian Doyle, Zach Fenoglio, Eric Fry, Robert Garvis, Graham Harriman, Scott LaValla, Titi Lamositele, Samu Manoa, Shawn Pittman, Lou Stanfill, Phil Thiel, Nick Wallace, Travis Whitlock

Backs: Chris Chapman, Shaun Davies, Luke Hume, Seamus Kelly, Toby L'Estrange, Taku Ngwenya, Folau Niua, Mike Petri, Blaine Scully, Robbie Shaw, Roland Suniula, Andrew Suiniula, Chris Wyles

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