O’SULLIVAN NAMES SQUAD FOR RWC BUILD-UP
BOULDER, Colo. – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has taken another step closer to his Rugby World Cup (RWC) team by narrowing the squad to 36 players for the August build-up.
Several of these Eagles are currently training in Glendale, Colo., with strength & conditioning coach Dave Williams, with the rest of the squad joining them on July 31. The team will then travel to Canada for the first of three RWC warm-up matches, starting at BMO Field in Toronto on August 6. Following that the USA will host Canada at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo., on August 13 for what is expected to be a packed encounter. Earlier that week the Glendale Raptors will take on a USA Select team on August 10 at Infinity Park.
The Eagles will then travel to Tokyo for their final RWC preparation against Japan on August 21.
"The player pool is now reduced to 36 players and the final RWC squad of 30, that will travel to New Zealand, will likely come from this pool,” commented O’Sullivan.
“Although with three test matches in August there is always the possibility of injuries, which may open up a late call up for some players who could come from inside or outside this pool of 36."
The Eagles last played Canada in 2009 as part of the RWC qualifying process, winning the first clash 12-6, and going down 41-18 in the second. Canada is currently ranked 16th on the IRB world rankings, one place ahead of the USA. Japan has improved tremendously over the last few years, moving into 12th place on the IRB world rankings.
"The three warm-up tests will be very important in terms of making the final selections for the RWC squad and getting players up to match speed before our first pool game on September 11 against Ireland. It is also important we give players an opportunity to stake a claim for RWC spots while at the same time continue to build solid performances over the three weeks in camp," explained the Eagles Head Coach.
One omission from the squad is San Francisco Golden Gate lock Samu Manoa, who has signed a professional contract with English Premiership Club, Northampton Saints.
"Samu Manoa will not be traveling to RWC. He signed a contract during the spring with English Premiership side Northampton Saints. Unfortunately, a clause in his contract prevents him from traveling to RWC. While I wish Samu every success as a professional rugby player and respect his decision to take up a contract overseas, it is disappointing we were only made aware of his unavailability for RWC as recently as three weeks ago," expressed O’Sullivan.
The Eagles squad consists of 18 forwards and 18 backs, and are boosted by the availability of several professionals that did not take part in the recent Churchill Cup.
Selected in the front row (listed in alphabetical order) are Eric Fry, Will Johnson, Mike MacDonald, Mate Moeakiola and Shawn Pittman. MacDonald was not available last month, with the Leeds Carnegie captain fresh for the RWC build-up. Hookers consist of Chris Biller, Phil Thiel and Brian McClenahan. Both Biller and Thiel took part in the Churchill Cup, with The Olympic Club’s McClenahan getting an opportunity to impress selectors.
John van der Giessen, Hayden Smith, Scott LaValla and Cameron Dolan make up the lock combinations. Dolan, who was part of the successful All Americans that defeated the New Zealand Universities 2-1 this month, joins the experienced pack. The loose forwards are: Inaki Basauri, Pat Danahy, JJ Gagiano, Nic Johnson, Louis Stanfill, with Todd Clever captaining the squad.
In the backs, number 15 Chris Wyles returns to action after helping Saracen’s win the 2011 Premiership title earlier this year. Also at fullback are Blaine Scully and Mike Palefau. On the wing Taku Ngwenya is back after another excellent season at Biarritz. The three other wings are Colin Hawley, Kevin Swiryn and Zack Test.
The centers listed are: Paul Emerick, Tai Enosa, Troy Hall, Junior Sifa and Andrew Suniula. The flyhalves are veteran Nese Malifa and Roland Suniula. Lastly, the scrumhalves for the squad will be Mike Petri, Robbie Shaw and Tim Usasz. Several versatile players in the squad could find themselves playing different positions during this tour, if required.
James Paterson, who has been playing wing for the Otago Highlanders in the Super 15, will be added to the pool if he passes a fitness test on arrival in Colorado at the end of July.
USA EAGLES RWC BUILD-UP SQUAD
Inaki Basauri (L' Aquila), Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate), Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan), Pat Danahy (Life University), Cameron Dolan (Life University), Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks), JJ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town), Nic Johnson (Unattached), Will Johnson (London Welsh), Scott LaValla (Stade Francais), Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie), Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club), Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny 93), Shawn Pittman (London Welsh), Hayden Smith (Saracens), Louis Stanfill (Mogliano), Phil Thiel (Life University), John van der Giessen (Utah Warriors)
Paul Emerick (Life University), Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore), Troy Hall (New York Athletic Club), Colin Hawley (Olympic Club), Nese Malifa (Glendale), Taku Ngwenya (Biarritz), Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors), James Paterson (Otago Highlanders), Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club), Blaine Scully (University of California - Berkeley), Robbie Shaw (Bristol Rugby), Junior Sifa (Nottingham RFC), Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins), Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby), Kevin Swiryn (Agen), Zack Test (Unattached), Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC), Chris Wyles (Saracens)
RWC BUILD-UP SCHEDULE
August 6, 2011, 2.00 P.M: USA v. Canada (BMO Field, Toronto, Canada)
August 10, 2011, 7.00 P.M: USA Select v. Glendale Raptors (Infinity Park, Glendale, CO)
August 13, 2011, 7.15 P.M: USA v. Canada (Infinity Park, Glendale, CO)
August 21, 2011, 6.00 P.M: USA v. Japan (Prince Chichbu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo, Japan)
USA Rugby's broadcast partner, NBC Universal, will be showing all three USA warm-up matches LIVE on UniversalSports.com!
Click on UniversalSports.com to find out more details.
RWC 2011 SCHEDULE | NEW ZEALAND
September 11, 2011: USA vs. Ireland (New Plymouth)
September 15, 2011: USA vs. Russia (New Plymouth)
September 23, 2011: USA vs. Australia (Wellington)
September 27, 2011: USA vs. Italy (Nelson)