Wednesday, October 22, 2014

International Rugby: 35-man USA Squad Named

Photo USA Rugby
USA Eagles head coach Mike Tolkin has adapted to the demands of missing Aviva Premiership players against Fiji, Romania and Tonga. With USA Rugby having secured player release for those based in England for the November 01 fixture in Chicago against New Zealand the trade-off is that they will then be forced out of taking-on any of the three other of the USA's international opposition in the autumn internationals. Six players are thus going to miss out on three test caps while team captain Todd Clever is free to play in all four matches and those based in France can play both the All Blacks and other tests. 

Hit hardest by the selection policy are the likes of Cam Dolan, Eric Fry and Hayden Smith who, in the words of Curtis Reed, are to face New Zealand then return home despite them not being regulars in their Aviva Premiership clubs. All three are likely to start the test as are Premiership regulars Samu Manoa, Blaine Scully and Chris Wyles. 

The six players are, indeed, a notable part of the core of the team. Others based abroad who play at the elite level are Scott LaValla, Todd Clever and Brent Thompson. They are to be able to play in three or four of the tests each and will, indeed, be called upon to do so. 

The squad is also notable for the return of Biarritz star Taku Ngwenya who had been reported as having had his test career ended due to a falling out with Tolkin. Instead Ngwenya is likely to replace Scully to be the starting right winger against Romania, Fiji and Tonga. This being the case the back-three of Wyles, Blaine and Thompson will likely change with Thompson moving to fullback and Ngwenya being joined by Tim Maupin as the starting wingers.

Reshuffling will also be required in other positions but, overall, the backs should not be, otherwise, altered. The starting halves combination should continue being Mike Petri and Adam Siddall while Andrew Suniula and Seamus Kelly loom as the starting centres. Shalom Suniula will be challenging to play not only fly haf but also scrumhalf. 

The battle to start in the forwards is going to be extreme. Such is the depth of the USA Eagles in this department that there are playing to spare. Captain Todd Clever will likely be joined by Scott LaValla and Cam Dolan in the run-on XV. This would see the highly impressive Danny Barrett outside of the starting lineup and see Samu Manoa joining Lou Stanfill in the second-row.

Under this scenario Saracens second-rower, Hayden Smith would also not be starting. The USA, will, in other words, have world class players on the bench covering the second and back-rows. Moreover Tai Tuisamoa and John Quill are both also in the squad. 

The biggest concern is the front-row where the USA has struggled against Tier Two and Tier Three opposition. Only Eric Fry is to miss the tests on the old continent. The matches against Romania, Tonga and Fiji should, thus, see very good USA Eagles lineups but ones missing one-third of the regular starting lineup.

Men's Eagles | November Tour Roster

Danny BarrettMen's Eagles Sevens//
Todd CleverNTT Shining Arcs (Japan)///
Tom CoolicanSydney Stars (Australia)///
John CullenSeattle Saracens//
Cameron DolanNorthampton FC (England)
Eric FryNewcastle RFC (England)
Troy HallNew York Athletic Club///
Seamus KellyGloucester (England)///
Olive KilifiSeattle Saracens///
Scott LavallaStade Francais (France)//
Samu ManoaNorthampton FC (England)
Tim MaupinTrinity College (Ireland)//
Angus MaclellanDavenport University//
Mate MoeakiolaCastenet (France)///
Taku NgwenyaBiarritz (France)//
Folau NiuaMen's Eagles Sevens//
Thretton PalamoSaracens RFC (England)/
Mike PetriNew York Athletic Club///
Greg PetersonNorth Harbour Rays (Australia)//
John QuillDolphin RFC (Ireland)//
Blaine ScullyLeicester Tigers (England)
Adam SiddallOld Blue of New York///
Hayden SmithSaracens RFC (England)
Louis StanfillSeattle Saracens///
Tim StanfillSeattle Saracens///
Kyle SumsionBrigham Young University//
Andrew SuniulaOld Blue of New York///
Shalom SuniulaSeattle Saracens///
Benjamin TarrSouths RC (Australia)///
Phil ThielLife Rugby///
Brett ThompsonEdinburgh (Scotland)///
Matt TrouvilleSeattle Saracens//
Tai TuisamoaLondon Scottish (England)//
Nick WallaceGlendale Raptors///
Chris WylesSaracens RFC (England)
Men's Eagles | Coaching Staff 

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