LONDON – The USA team to face Saracens on Tuesday has been announced. Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has named a side balanced with domestic and professional players. The Eagles square off on Tuesday at the Honourable Artillery Company in London with a Saracens side that is currently fourth in the Aviva Premiership.
Eight domestic players, who live and compete in America, are starting for the Eagles on Tuesday. With the touring squad’s professional players trickling in over the course of the weekend, O’Sullivan is giving domestic players a chance to go toe-to-toe with an excellent Saracens outfit. There will be a few developments and matchups that will be very interesting to watch.
The Tulievuka brothers will link in the centers for the first time in Eagles jerseys. Setareki Tulievuka gets his first start for the USA alongside his brother, Alipate. Seta has been in good form playing for Montpellier in the French Top 14, so it will be intriguing to watch the chemistry in mid-field as the two talented brothers take the field on Tuesday.
Scott Lavalla will match up with former England skipper and longtime English lock, Steve Borthwick. Another interesting matchup will be at hooker. Chris Biller’s opposite number is the feisty Springbok, Schalk Brits, so Biller will have some very enthusiastic opposition from Brits in the scrum.
Hayden Smith and Chris Wyles won’t suit up for their club or country in Tuesday’s clash. Both Smith and Wyles play professionally at Saracens and won’t take part in the match.
Sixteen of the players named in the USA squad have come through the USA Rugby age-grade program playing for the Under 20s, Collegiate All-Americans, or both. There are 19 age-grade graduates on the touring squad who will wear the Eagles jersey, the highest honor in American rugby. Many age-graders increased their rugby stock by playing in competitive collegiate programs, many of which will be included in the newly formed College Premier League, a competition aimed at raising the level of play at the collegiate level.
After the Saracens match, the Eagles will take on Portugal on November 13, Scotland ‘A’ on November 19, and Georgia on November 27.
1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie), 2 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate), 3 Eric Fry (Unattached), 4 Scott Lavalla (Dublin University), 5 Samu Manoa (San Francisco Golden Gate), 6 JJ Gaganio (Eastern Province), 7 Inaki Basauri (L’aquila), 8 Nic Johnson* (Denver Barbarians), 9 Mike Petri (Sale), 10 Nese Malifa (Glendale), 11 Zachary Test (Loughborough University), 12 Alipate Tulievuka (Old Puget Sound Beach), 13 Setareki Tulievuka (Montpellier), 14 Paul Emerick (Ulster), 15 Colin Hawley (Unattached)
Reserves: 16 Phil Thiel (LifeUniversity), 17 Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny 93), 18 Louis Stanfill (Mogliano), 19 Todd Clever (Suntory), 20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham), 21 Tai Enosa (BelmontShore), 22 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
* Denotes captain
Unavailable for selection: Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz), Shawn Pittman (London Welsh), Hayden Smith (Saracens), Chris Wyles (Saracens), John van der Giessen (Bath)
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