For Immediate Release
June 7, 2011
SEASONED EAGLES NAMED TO FACE TONGA
Surrey, ENGLAND – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has rung the changes to his Churchill Cup squad ahead of the Tonga clash on Wednesday at Moseley Road. The Eagles will kickoff at 12:30 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live at www.universalsports.com and on tape delay on Universal Sports at 8 p.m. ET.
The USA went down 87-8 in their Churchill Cup opener against a powerful England Saxons team. O’Sullivan used mostly domestic players for that encounter, giving them exposure to top international rugby.
“We have made 13 changes from the Saxons game. We always planned to select our best available team for the Tonga game, as it is a full ranking test,” said O’Sullivan.
Returning to the fold this week are several veteran Eagles, led by Suntory Sungoliath’s Todd Clever. In the backline, only Colin Hawley remains from the Saxons game, and moves from jersey number 14 to 11. Kevin Swiryn has been playing in the physical Top 14 competition in France for Agen and is back on the right wing for the USA.
Fullback Mike Palefau had to return home for personal reasons and the impressive Roland Suniula will take over Palefau’s spot at fullback. The hard-nosed utility back, Paul Emerick, partners Andrew Suniula in the centers, with both players bringing size, power and aggressive defense to the backline. Glendale Raptor Nese Malifa is back at flyhalf, with Tim Usasz at scrumhalf.
Troy Hall, Mike Petri and Tai Enosa move to the bench as the backline replacements.
In the forwards, only lock Scott LaValla keeps his place in the starting line-up. Versatile forward, Louis Stanfill, is named as the other lock. In the front row the Eagles will be looking for more stability in the scrum. Mate Moeakiola claims the number one jersey alongside London Welsh prop Shawn Pittman, while Chris Biller is at hooker. The loose forwards include Inaki Basauri, Clever and hard-running eight man Nic Johnson.
The forward reserves include: Phil Thiel (hooker), Eric Fry (prop), John van der Giessen (lock) andPat Danahy (loose forward).
“It is a pretty straight forward selection apart from a couple of spots. With Hayden Smith and Samu Manoa unavailable, Louis Stanfill starts at lock, which is a position he has played at previously on numerous occasions. Also, with Chris Wyles and Mike Palefau unavailable, we are looking at Roland Suniula at fullback,” explained the Eagles coach.
The Eagles are currently listed 16th in the IRB world rankings, with Tonga in 17th place.
“With a more experienced selection I expect we will play a lot more to form against Tonga. It will be a tough test as Tonga are also using the Churchill Cup to ramp up their preparations for RWC,” O’Sullivan added.
In the other Churchill Cup fixtures, Canada defeated Italy A 26-12 last week. Following the Eagles match on Wednesday, Canada will play Russia.
15 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
14 Colin Hawley (Olympic Club)
13 Paul Emerick (Life University)
12 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
11 Kevin Swiryn (Agen)
10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
9 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC)
1 Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny 93)
2 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
3 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)
4 Louis Stanfill (Mogliano)
5 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais)
6 Inaki Basauri (L’Aquila)
7 Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath, captain)
8 Nic Johnson (Unattached)
16 Phil Thiel (Life University)
17 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
18 John van der Giessen (Utah Warriors)
19 Pat Danahy (Life University)
20 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club)
21 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
22 Troy Hall (New York Athletic Club)
CHURCHILL CUP SCHEDULE | ENGLAND
June 8, 2011: USA vs. Tonga (Moseley Road, Surrey)
June 18, 2011: Elimination Match (Sixways, Worcester)
Visit www.churchillcuprugby.net for more details on the tournament.
Universal Sports will be broadcasting the USA pool matches as well as the Bowl and Cup finals. These will be LIVE online and delayed on television, with the schedule available at www.universalsports.com or by clicking here.