MURRIETA, Ga. – Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin has selected the travel squad for the first leg of the IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualifier playoff against Uruguay, set for Montevideo Saturday, March 22.
Three players – Tom Coolican, Miles Craigwell and Shalom Suniula – could earn their first caps at Estadio Charrua, while Olive Kilifi and Kyle Sumsion could earn their first starts for the Eagles. Kilifi was a substitute in the Eagles’ November 2013 tests against Georgia and Russia, while Sumsion made a substitute appearance against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks at Philadelphia’s PPL Park.
The Men’s Eagles Sevens are represented in the squad for Uruguay by Residency players Tim Maupin and Suniula, though Craigwell and Folau Niua have each made appearances during the 2013-14 IRB HSBC Sevens World Series. Niua recently signed a professional contract with RaboDirect Pro 12’s Glasgow Warriors.
Saracens RFC’s Hayden Smith rejoins the Eagles after signing a new contract with the Aviva Premiership club. Smith left Saracens in 2012 for the National Football League’s New York Jets. He last wore the Eagles jersey against Italy at the IRB Rugby World Cup 2011.
Tolkin’s squad is full of veterans, as well, with Todd Clever, Scott LaValla, Mike Petri, Louis Stanfill and Chris Wyles combining for 196 caps. Other professionals with national team experience include Eric Fry, Luke Hume, Toby L’Estrange, Samu Manoa, Blaine Scully and Andrew Suniula.
“We are hoping that they bring the big-game experience to these qualifiers and to influence and teach the younger squad members how to become better international rugby players,” Tolkin said.
Tolkin’s coaching staff is highlighted by USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans Head Coach Billy Millard and Seattle-OPSB Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick as assistant coaches.
Uruguay fell to the Eagles Select XV at the 2013 IRB Americas Rugby Championship in British Columbia in October.
The last time the Eagles traveled to Uruguay, they came away with a 27-22 first-leg lead in the IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 Qualifier playoff. They finished the job and qualified for the New Zealand-held tournament with a 27-6 win in Lauderhill, Fla., in the second leg. The second leg of this year’s playoff will be held Saturday, March 29, at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University.
Men's Eagles | Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualifier v Uruguay
Todd Clever - NTT Shining Arcs
Tom Coolican - Richmond RFC
Miles Craigwell - Seattle-OPSB
Cameron Dolan - Northampton FC
Eric Fry - London Scottish RFC
Luke Hume - Narbonne
Seamus Kelly - University of California
Olive Kilifi - Seattle-OPSB
Titi Lamositele - Saracens RFC
Scott LaValla - Stade Francais
Toby L'Estrange - London Welsh RFC
Samu Manoa - Northampton FC
Tim Maupin - Olympic Club
Folau Niua - Glasgow Warriors
Mike Petri - New York Athletic Club
Blaine Scully - Leicester Tigers RFC
Robbie Shaw - London Scottish RFC
Hayden Smith - Saracens RFC
Louis Stanfill - Seattle-OPSB
Kyle Sumsion - Brigham Young University Rugby
Andrew Suniula - London Wasps RFC
Shalom Suniula - Seattle-OPSB
Phil Thiel - Life Rugby
Tai Tuisamoa - Old Mission Beach Athletic Club
Nick Wallace - James Bay RFC
Chris Wyles - Saracens RFC
Men's Eagles | Coaching Staff
Mike Tolkin - Head Coach
Billy Millard - Assistant Coach
Justin Fitzpatrick - Assistant Coach
Phil Bailey - Assistant Coach
Dave Williams - Strength & Conditioning Coach
Chris O'Brien - Kicking Coach
James Walton - Video Analyst
Jeff Mjaanes - Doctor
Richard Quincy, Jr. - Physio
Zach Vyhananek - Physio
Sarah Sall - Massage Therapist
Tristan Lewis - Manager