Eagles selected for 2013 November Tour

Eagles selected for 2013 November Tour

UPDATE: Blake Burdette has been released from the Men's Eagles squad effective immediately due to a recurring knee injury.

He will be replaced on the squad by Oliver Kilifi from Seattle-OPSB Rugby Football Club.

BOULDER, Colo. – Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin has selected 33 players to be available for the three matches of the November 2013 Tour, beginning with the nearly-sold out match against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks at Philadelphia’s PPL Park Nov. 9.

Twenty-six players will be in assembly in Penn. next week, including international professionals Todd Clever, Scott LaValla and Andrew Suniula. Luke Hume also returns to the Eagles after a trial with Gloucester Rugby late in the summer.

Tbilisi will host the Eagles and Georgia Nov. 16 and Saracens’ new Allianz Park will be home to the Eagles when they take on Russia Nov. 23.

The Eagles are coming off of successive defeats during the summer campaign, while the Men’s Eagles Select XV placed second at the IRB Americas Rugby Championship in Oct. with wins against Canada and Uruguay.

“I was very pleased because we got some of the more experienced players more playing time and we got some young, up-and-coming talent some exposure to that level,” Tolkin said.

Purchase tickets to #USAvMaoriABs here >>

Cameron Dolan, Toby L’Estrange and Phil Thiel, who were members of the Eagles during the Summer Tour, each captained the Selects for a match during the ARC and will be with the team for all three matches next month.

“We wanted to give each of those guys some time of grabbing hold of the leadership position,” Tolkin said. “We felt they each did a good job of leading the team and guiding some of the younger guys along. I thought it was a good experience for them.”

Other standouts from the ARC taking spots on the November Roster include Joe Cowley and Tim Maupin, who combined for 25 of the Selects’ 30 points in the 30-10 win against Canada last month. Cowley has company at his position of fullback with Adam Siddall scheduled to be available for all three matches and Blaine Scully and Chris Wyle being made available for the European leg for the Tour.

“I think that any team has to be prepared for all circumstances,” Tolkin said of the selection. “Whenever you can get depth like that you’re more prepared for any circumstance that comes your way.

“We know [Cowley and Maupin] show great potential to move into these spots. Things change pretty rapidly in international rugby and, if we’re ready for it and we have competition coming from below, it’s a healthy environment.”

John Cullen, former University of Utah football player, was a late call-up to the ARC and will travel with the team in November. Joining Cullen is former Utah Men’s Rugby Head Coach Blake Burdette. Burdette made his Eagles debut back in 2006 against Uruguay in South America and has earned nine caps in his career.

“Blake brings a lot of experience,” Tolkin said of the 33-year-old prop. “He is a great athlete in his own right and that’s why he was an Eagle the first time around. He’s a great player to bring into the front row. It’s nice to have a veteran in there who’s been through it to bring experience and leadership and a real competitive quality he had the first time around.”

Brian Doyle, Liam Murphy, John Quill and Louis Stanfill are all unavailable due to injury, while Danny Barrett was also unavailable for selection. Samu Manoa, Scully and Wyles will join the team in Tbilisi for the second match of the Tour.

The three November tests will be the final tune-up before the important 2015 Rugby World Cup Qualifier playoff against Uruguay next March. The Selects defeated a near-full Uruguay side 20-8 at the ARC last month.

The 2012 November Tour was the first time the Eagles had won a test series in over a decade with wins against Romania and Russia.

“Last year we were certainly thinner,” Tolkin said. “We had a good tour and guys played well, but we were a lot thinner. Going into this tour, we have more depth. We’d like to get back into winning ways and tag on the back of our performance at the ARC. And we’d like to establish who our top 15 and top 23 are going into the Uruguay playoff.

The Eagles’ first match against the Maori All Blacks will be shown on FOX Sports 1 Sunday, Nov. 10, at noon ET. It will also be live-streamed on FOX Soccer2Go and shown live on FOX Soccer Plus. Click here for more information. Visit the #USAvMaoriABs page for a full list of events, contests and ticket information.

Follow the Eagles on Twitter @USARugby during their travels for live updates.

Men's Eagles | November Tour Roster

Derek Asbun University Cape Town
Inaki Basauri Tarbes Pyrenees
Blake Burdette New York Athletic Club
Todd Clever NTT Communications Shining Arcs
Joe Cowley Life Rugby
John Cullen Seattle-OPSB
Peter Dahl Belmont Shore
Shaun Davies Unattached
Cameron Dolan Life Rugby
Zach Fenoglio Glendale
Eric Fry London Scottish
Graham Harriman Metropolis
Luke Hume Unattached
Seamus Kelly University of California
Titi Lamositele Saracens
Patrick Latu Metropolis
Scott LaValla Stade Francais
Toby L'Estrange New York Athletic Club
Samu Manoa Northampton Saints
Tim Maupin San Francisco Golden Gate
Folau Niua Men's Eagles Sevens
Zach Pangelinan Old Mission Beach Athletic Club
Mike Petri New York Athletic Club
Shawn Pittman Seattle-OPSB
Blaine Scully Leicester Tigers
Robbie Shaw Esher
Adam Siddall Old Blue
Kyle Sumsion Brigham Young University
Andrew Suniula London Wasps
Phil Thiel Life Rugby
Tai Tuisamoa Old Mission Beach Athletic Club
Nick Wallace Olympic Club
Chris Wyles Saracens

Men's Eagles | November Tour Coaching Staff

Mike Tolkin - Head Coach
William (Billy) Millard - Assistant Coach
Justin Fitzpatrick - Assistant Coach
Phil Bailey - Assistant Coach
Dave Williams - Assistant Coach
Chris O'Brien - Kicking Coach
Paul Goulding - Video Analyst
Matt Schmitz - Doctor (v Georgia, v Russia)
Marc Kowalsky - Doctor (v Maori All Blacks)
Richard Quincy - Physio
Zach Vyhananek - Physio (v Georgia, v Russia)
Rob Wassilak - Physio (v Maori All Blacks)
John O'Donnell - Physio (v Maori All Blacks)
Sarah Sall - Massage Therapist (v Maori All Blacks)
Tristan Lewis - Manager

Men's Eagles | November 2013 Tour

v New Zealand Maori All Blacks - Philadelphia, Penn. - Nov. 9 - 7 P.M. ET
v Georgia - Tbilisi, Georgia - Nov. 16 - 5 A.M. ET
v Russia - London, England - Nov. 23 - 10 A.M. ET

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Comments (6)

  • Guest - petnzme

    Hope all goes well with the match against Maori. But it's the Tiblisi Cup and Russia which will be a good proving ground for the team. A positive performance against the Maori All Blacks will be essential. Have a great tour and all the best.

  • Guest - petnzme

    apologies..for error.. It's Georgia and not The Tblisi Cup My bad sorry.

  • Guest - Bleach

    Congratulations Samu..

  • Guest - danny

    what are the 4 'asst coach' positions going along for? would like to see some insight as to what they're providing (scrum, lineout, forwards, backs, halves?) more than just 'assistant'

  • Guest - 5Lock4ward

    Super disappointed that a few of the big names will not be available for the Maori match but I had a feeling that'd be the case when I bought my tickets. I'm glad to see some traditional locks involved. For all the experience Stanfill offers his best position is 6 or 8 and he's not the best or 2nd best option at either right now; and clearly sticking him at lock doesn't really work as he's not a solid line-out option or heavy enough for the engine room. Hopefully Titi gets a starting cap so he can sign with Saracens. Until we have a few front row players starting for top tier European or SH clubs we'll continue to struggle so his contract would be a start. Should signal the end of Fry's time for the Eagles. Would loved to have seen what Danny Barrett could do with the Eagles first team but that should come against Uruguay in March if our pros aren't released for the RWC qualifiers. Call me crazy but I'd like to see Hume given a run at scrum half. Would love an update on Hayden Smith since the NFL didn't work out for him. Wondering if Clever will revert back to his natural 7 so Dolan can continue his ARC form at 8. I'm impressed to see the depth developing for the squad (esp. loose forwards and back 3) and take my hat off to Tolkin for having to deal w/ this availability BS that no other international coach would ever have to even consider in a worst nightmare scenario. I understand the logic in leaving Ngwenya out and that call took some balls. Inaki Basuri though...surely Jason Law or Nate Brakeley get their shot instead.

  • Guest - Matthew Chomiczewski

    No Manoa or Wyles for Maori game? With out a doubt the two best players in the current Eagles roster, and they are unavailable for the highest profile game USA will play this year. We need to stop doing this. I went for a week to the RWC 2011 and saw the Eagles play AUS, same deal. Started all the reserve players on tour to save the first XV for the following game against Italy, all to increase the odds of winning more than one game. Didn't work. Both AUS and Italy crushed us. We need to start playing our best players regardless of the opposition, to build some continuity. We need to make better contract negotiations with players going overseas, to prioritize International schedule over club schedules (like all tier 1 rugby nations.) We need to start marketing our best talent like other professional sports do, and to do this we need them available and performing in every game.