Match squad selected for Eagles' IRB Pacific Nations Cup opener against Japan

Match squad selected for Eagles' IRB Pacific Nations Cup opener against Japan

CARSON, Calif. – Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin has named his team’s starting roster for its opening match of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup against Japan Saturday, June 14, at StubHub Center.

The starting XV features five changes from the Eagles’ starters in last week’s 24-6 loss to Scotland at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, including the return of Samu Manoa at lock. Danny Barrett will earn his first starting cap at blindside flanker and Nick Wallace will partner Olive Kilifi at prop.

Barrett was a member of the Eagles Select XV at the 2013 IRB Americas Rugby Championship in Canada last August.

“We like the way Danny’s progressed,” Tolkin said. “He’s had a great ARC, he’s done really well in sevens, he’s performed for us in camp. So it adds another ball-carrying option for us.

“He’s a good defender, a good, young player. That kind of dictated some of the other moves we had.”

Barrett will start alongside Todd Clever, who will captain the Eagles from openside flanker.

Andrew Suniula will miss the Pacific Nations Cup with an injury sustained in last weekend’s match, though Phil Thiel retains his spot at hooker despite coming out of the match against Scotland with an apparent first-half injury.

Seamus Kelly will take Suniula’s spot at inside center, while Folau Niua will start at outside center.

“At Cal, [Kelly] played a lot of 13, and with the Eagles he’s played a lot of 13,” Tolkin said. “But he’s done some 12 and before college he played a lot of 12 so he’s got a lot of experience at both centers.”

In total, nine of the starting XV currently hold less than 10 international caps, though Cam Dolan and Kelly will earn their 10th caps Saturday.

“Every game, we play the team we believe suits the opposition,” Tolkin said. “That’s how we go about selections. We think we have young players who can step in and a do a job.”

Japan scored six tries, including a penalty try, in a 38-20 win at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo during last year’s Pacific Nations Cup. Clever, who plays professionally for NTT Shining Arcs in Japan’s Top League, earned his 50th cap against Japan.

Japan has won the previous four meetings between the two nations and holds a 7-1-12 all-time record against the Eagles.

Kickoff at StubHub Center Saturday is scheduled for 7:30 P.M. PT on Universal Sports. Get live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby.

Men's Eagles | v Japan
1. Nick Wallace
2. Phil Thiel
3. Olive Kilifi
4. Samu Manoa
5. Scott LaValla
6. Danny Barrett
7. Todd Clever
8. Cameron Dolan
9. Mike Petri
10. Shalom Suniula
11. Tim Maupin
12. Seamus Kelly
13. Folau Niua
14. Blaine Scully
15. Chris Wyles

Men's Eagles | Reserves
16. Tom Coolican
17. Eric Fry
18. Titi Lamositele
19. Louis Stanfill
20. Kyle Sumsion
21. Chad London
22. Thretton Palamo
23. Miles Craigwell

Japan | v USA Eagles
1. Masataka Mikami
2. Shota Horie
3. Kensuke Hatakeyama
4. Shoji Ito
5. Luke Thompson
6. Justin Ives
7. Michael Leitch (C)
8. Holani Ryu Koliniashi
9. Fumiaki Tanaka
10. Harumichi Tatekawa
11. Kenki Fukuoka
12. Yu Tamura
13. Male Sau
14. Akihito Yamada
15. Ayumu Goromaru

Japan | Reserves
16. Hisateru Hirashima
17. Takeshi Kizu
18. Hiroshi Yamashita
19. Shinya Makabe
20. Hitoshi Ono
21. Hendrik Tui
22. Atsushi Hiwasa
23. Toshiaki Hirose

Men's Eagles | Pacific Nations Cup
v Japan - Saturday, June 14 - Carson, Calif.
v Canada - Saturday, June 21 - Sacramento, Calif.

Overall Rating (1)

3 out of 5 stars
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Comments (9)

  • Guest - Otis

    I don't remember Barrett playing against the MAB.

  • Guest - 5Lock4ward

    In reply to: Guest - Otis

    He didn't. He played in the Americas Rugby Cup against Argentina A, Canada A and Uruguay.

  • Guest - WTF?

    Does Petri have nude photos of Tolkin with a hooker or something? Petri is not even a pro club level player much less a test scrumhalf. Pathetic.

  • Guest - 5Lock4ward

    Seriously, Lamositele needs to be starting these matches. I am very excited to see Barrett starting and equally happy to see Palamo back in the fold. I don't see Lavalla as a lock but perhaps this is just b/c the Eagles are playing a shorter team; unlike Scotland whose locks were 6'8" and 6'10" respectively.

  • Guest - Geoff

    In reply to: Guest - 5Lock4ward

    Absolutely agree with 5Lock4ward here. No hope with this front line. At least get Lamositele some experience.

  • Guest - USA Rugby Fan

    LaValla at lock is a great pick. He plays both lock and flanker in France. This will give the Eagles a more athletic guy at lock, it's like we have four flankers on the pitch.

    I'd like to see the centers switch spots, I think Kelly is more crash ball and Niua more of a kicking option. Craigwell could get his 1st cap, I look for good things from him.

    The front row is a problem, but no matter who they go with in the front row it will be a problem.

  • Guest - Eagle1

    I flew out to support the team in the match against Scotland last week, what a disappointment to say the least. This team is an embarrassment and I predict Japan will dominate the scrum in this one.

  • Guest - Geoff

    USA will not be competitive until they have a forward pack committed to the scrum. This starting 8 will never be that pack.

  • Guest - R.Gary

    Rated 3 out of 5 stars

    The gatherings ought to be on great terms with their family unit Union and take after the rules and regulations of World Rugby. Unpleasant Riders, then again, are not a selected USA Rugby Club and, to the degree we know, their players and coaches are not enrolled people from USA Rugby.