Eagles take off for European Tour
USA Rugby’s Men’s National Team, the Eagles, depart today for their first international tour in four years. Domestically-based players will muster at the NewarkAirport and depart for London today. Eagles in the professional ranks will join the team as they are released from their respective club duties. All players in the touring squad will be assembled by the evening of Sunday November 7.
There are 11 domestic (non-professional) players included in the squad, outnumbered by the pros, an indication that the quality of players coming out of the States is improving. That change is due to increasingly competitive collegiate programs and successful age-grade pathways to high-level rugby. The professional players will be trickling into the assembly over the course of a few days.
Eagle captain Todd Clever, who plays professionally in Japan, is the only professional player to join the team in Newark. Louis Stanfill, Inaki Basauri, and Mike Petri will join the team on Thursday. Eagle rookie and brother of Alipate, Seta Tulievuka, will join the squad on Friday. Mike MacDonald and Kevin Swiryn arrive on Saturday. Sunday will see the rest of the squad arrive as Mate Moeakiola, John van der Giessen, Hayden Smith, Tim Usasz, Chris Wyles, Paul Emerick, Takudzwa Ngwenya, Shawn Pittman, and JJ Gaganio complete the 28-man touring squad.
With the 2011 Rugby World Cup less than a year away, the next team assembly after the November Tour will be the Churchill Cup in June of next year. The 2011 Churchill cup will be hosted in England by the RFU. The Eagles coaching staff will be analyzing each player’s performances very closely as those performances will play a part in selections for 2011 assemblies.
“Our goal is to win the two ranking tests, but we’re looking to gain experience ahead of the World Cup,” said Eagles Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan.
While in London, the team will train at the Old Albanians training ground. The Eagles will play Saracens, an Aviva Premiership team, on Tuesday November 9. After that match, they take on Portugal, Scotland ‘A’, and Georgia.
In addition to playing high-level international rugby, the Eagles and much of the coaching staff will be participating in “Movember” an international men’s health campaign aimed at raising funds for and awareness of men’s health issues. The participants will grow mustaches and raise money for cancer research throughout the month of November. To donate or learn more about the cause, visit http://www.movember.com.
For updates from the Eagles tour, visit http://www.usarugby.org, or follow USA Rugby on @Link("[#This.#NamePath]::~~Link~~((579601912))", "External", "URI", "Twitter ", " lo_id="579601912||583675865" lo_value="[application]\\structure\\content\\Links\\Content\\208D7949-1276-503D-EFC1-B35B38596609\\579601639\\579601912" lo_type="External" lo_datatype="URI" lo_namepath="[#This.#NamePath]::~~Link~~((579601912))"")(@usaeaglesrugby) and @Link("[#This.#NamePath]::~~Link~~((579601722))", "External", "URI", "Facebook", " lo_id="579601722||583675865" lo_value="[application]\\structure\\content\\Links\\Content\\208D7949-1276-503D-EFC1-B35B38596609\\579601639\\579601722" lo_type="External" lo_datatype="URI" lo_namepath="[#This.#NamePath]::~~Link~~((579601722))"").
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