Eagles Elite Training Squad, Development Training Group 2016 Update

August 2, 2016

Eagles Elite Training Squad, Development Training Group 2016 Update


Doug Coil

This article is based on a USA Rugby Release.

The second Eagles Elite Training Squad (EETS) and Eagles Development Training Group (EDTG) were announced by Men’s Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell and USA Rugby Director of Performance Alex Magleby.

The First Eagles Elite Training Squad Named was created prior to the Summer Series in April as a way to better track athletes competing in locations worldwide prior to national team assembles. As a result, increased accountability around strength and conditioning and skill set needs may be met. Early program dividends occurred as the Eagles nearly won against Italy and then shut out Russia. The June international tests also provided John Mitchell to place his stamp on the composition of the Eagles.

Once again, 50 athletes were selected for the second EETS. They include 43 that were part of the first EETS and 29 players in camp for the Summer Series. The squad also includes 8 Team USA Sevens Olympians competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.

The PRO Rugby season just concluded on July 31st. Fifteen of of these players are also part of this group. Another 10 players are playing professionally overseas and 16 athletes are in residency at the Olympic Training Center.

All these athletes have the opportunity to perform well in camp in order to earn a position on the Fall Tour squad.

John Mitchell said, “We are excited and happy to announce our latest Eagles Elite Training Squad and Eagles Development Training Group for individual preparation ahead of our third assembly window of the year. We are getting to a stage where we can benefit from continuity in having the majority of our squad continue on from assembly to assembly, adding some new players that are now becoming available, which strengthens our talent pool.”

“All players will receive their individual strength and conditioning programs from Chris Brown and his team, aligned to their rugby development plans with the view for them to take ownership in improving their capacity to meet our standards.”

PRO Rugby provided a vehicle for players to increase their high performance opportunities. The EETS squad include the following players:

  • Denver Stampede: Chris Baumann, Ben Landry*, Chad London and Ben Tarr – (*Landry exited the preseason early due to an NFL tryout with Seattle.)
  • Ohio Aviators: Shaun Davies, JP Eloff (injured), Ahmad Harajly, Angus MacLellan
  • Sacramento Express: Eric Fry, Langilangi Haupeakui, Olive Kilifi, Chris Saint
  • San Diego Breakers: Taku Ngwenya, Joe Taufete’e, Mikey Te’o

The EDTG squad also included the following PRO Rugby players:

  • Denver Stampede: Hanco Germishuys
  • Ohio Aviators: Demecus Beach, Peter Malcolm
  • San Diego Breakers: Tom Bliss, Sione Tuihalamaka
  • San Francisco Rush: Alec Gletzer

Of the sevens new additions to the EETS, four were from PRO Rugby. Langilangi Haupeakui emerged from a call up to Eagles Camp and earned his first international Eagles XV cap against Russia. Shaun Davies, who was capped in 2013, earned his spot on the EETS through an outstanding season playing for the Ohio Aviators.

Alex Magleby discussed the team’s depth saying “We are still limited in depth in a couple of key positions, but for the most part competition for spots continues to increase. There are a bunch of players just under the EETS that, fairly soon, should be putting pressure on this current group.

“A big part of that is PRO Rugby’s efforts transitioning domestic amateurs into full-time professionals. That is not an easy evolution for many but we are starting to see the improvements in skills under pressure, conditioning, and match maturity thanks to PRO’s sustained work over the last few months.”

There are other professionals on the squad. They include Nick Civetta (Newcastle Flacons), Cam Dolan (Cardiff Blues), Andrew Durutalo (Sunwolves), James Hilterbrand (Manly Rugby Union FC/Waratahs), James King (Moorabbin Rams – Australia), Tony Lamborn (Hurricanes), Titi Lamositele (Saracens), AJ MacGinty (Sale Sharks), Samu Manoa (RC Toulonnais), Greg Peterson (Glasgow Warriors), and Blaine Scully (Cardiff Blues).

The American Rugby Premiership also included five players who are capped Eagles. Three are from Old Blue of New York in James Bird, Harry Higgins and Luke Hume (injured). The other two are from New York Athletic Club in Nate Brakeley and Al McFarland.

Tom Clever, who has captained the Eagles, is now playing for the Austin Huns. Lemoto Filikitonga (injured) plays for Metropolis Rugby.

Team USA Sevens members that will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, include Danny Barrett, Garrett Bender, Andrew Durutalo, Madison Hughes, Folau Niua, Ben Pinkleman, Zack Test and Maka Unufe. The traveling reserves include Nate Augspurger, Martin Iosefo and Shalom Suniula.

Other Eagles Sevens players that have been instrumental in the success of the team include, Will Holder, Matai Leuta, Thretton Palamo, Kevin Swiryn (injured), Brett Thompson, Peter Tiberio, and Stephen Tomasin.

John Mitchell added “We’re lucky to have Brown and Mike Friday, and the facilities of the Olympic Training Center, for our Sevens athletes to train full-time. We have seen the dynamic impact the Sevens players have made on our training environment and in test matches, and are ready to integrate them into our setup for important matches against the Maori All Blacks, Romania, and Tonga.

“On behalf of the 15s group, we wish Mike, Madison Hughes, and the rest of the team the best of luck in Rio.”

More information around the Eagles’ November schedule will be released in due course. Tickets for the match against the Maori All Blacks, part of “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG” in Chicago, are available via Ticketmaster from $22, with less than 25 percent of tickets remaining.

Eagles Elite Training Squad: July 2016 – Jan. 2017

Player Club/School Position
Nate Augspurger Men’s Eagles Sevens Half back
Danny Barrett Men’s Eagles Sevens Loose forward
Chris Baumann Denver Stampede (PRO) Prop
Garrett Bender Men’s Eagles Sevens Loose forward
James Bird Old Blue of New York Half back
Nate Brakeley Winged Foot – New York Athletic Club Second row
Nick Civetta Newcastle Falcons (England) Second row
Todd Clever Austin Huns Loose forward
Shaun Davies Ohio Aviators (PRO) Half back
Cameron Dolan Cardiff Blues (Wales) Loose forward
Andrew Durutalo Sunwolves (Super Rugby) Loose forward
JP Eloff* Ohio Aviators (PRO) Center
Lemoto Filikitonga* Metropolis Rugby Football Club Center
Eric Fry Sacramento Express (PRO) Prop
Ahmad Harajly Ohio Aviators (PRO) Center
Langilangi Haupeakui Sacramento Express (PRO) Loose forward
Harry Higgins Old Blue of New York Loose forward
James Hilterbrand Manly Rugby Union Football Club / Waratahs (Super Rugby) Hooker
Will Holder Men’s Eagles Sevens Full back
Madison Hughes Men’s Eagles Sevens Half back
Luke Hume* Old Blue of New York Wing
Martin Iosefo Men’s Eagles Sevens Center
Olive Kilifi Sacramento Express (PRO) Prop
James King Moorabbin Rams RFC (Australia) Second row
Tony Lamborn Hurricanes (Super Rugby) Loose forward
Titi Lamositele Saracens Football Club (England) Prop
Ben Landry Denver Stampede (PRO) Second row
Matai Leuta Men’s Eagles Sevens Wing
Chad London Denver Stampede (PRO) Center
AJ MacGinty Sale Sharks (England) Half back
Angus MacLellan Ohio Aviators (PRO) Prop
Samu Manoa RC Toulonnais (France) Second row
Al McFarland Winged Foot – New York Athletic Club Loose forward
Taku Ngwenya San Diego Breakers (PRO) Wing
Folau Niua Men’s Eagles Sevens Center
Thretton Palamo Men’s Eagles Sevens Center
Greg Peterson Glasgow Warriors (Scotland) Second row
Ben Pinkelman Men’s Eagles Sevens Loose forward
Chris Saint Sacramento Express (PRO) Half back
Blaine Scully Cardiff Blues (Wales) Wing
Shalom Suniula Men’s Eagles Sevens Half back
Kevin Swiryn* Seattle Saracens Wing
Ben Tarr Denver Stampede (PRO) Prop
Joe Taufete’e San Diego Breakers (PRO) Hooker
Mike Te’o San Diego Breakers (PRO) Full back
Zack Test Men’s Eagles Sevens Full back
Brett Thompson Men’s Eagles Sevens Wing
Peter Tiberio Men’s Eagles Sevens Center
Stephen Tomasin Men’s Eagles Sevens Half back
Maka Unufe Men’s Eagles Sevens Wing

Eagles Development Training Group: July 2016 – Jan. 2017

Player Club/School Position
Malon Al-Jiboori Lindenwood University (D1A) Loose forward
Dylan Audsley Saint Mary’s College (D1A) Center
Tanner Barnes Central Washington University Center
Demecus Beach Ohio Aviators (PRO) Prop
Pat Blair Men’s Eagles Sevens Hooker
Tom Bliss San Diego Breakers (PRO) Half back
Nick Boyer University of California, Berkeley Half back
Ben Cima Rocky Gorge Rugby Club Half back
Hanco Germishuys Denver Stampede (PRO) Hooker
Alec Gletzer San Francisco Rush (PRO) Loose forward
Seth Halliman Central Washington University Full back
Conor Kearns Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) Full back
Tua Laei Rugby Utah Wing
Peter Malcolm Ohio Aviators (PRO), Wheeling Jesuit University (D1A) Hooker
Alex Maughan Life University (D1A) Prop
Cody Melphy Life University (D1A) Wing
Deion Mikesell Lindenwood University (D1A) Wing
Christian Ostberg Aurrilac (France) Second row
Aladdin Schirmer Central Washington Universty Loose forward
Lorenzo Thomas Lindenwood University (D1A) Center
Sione Tuihalamaka San Diego Breakers (PRO) Loose forward
Dino Waldren Saint Mary’s College (D1A) Prop
Calvin Whiting Brigham Young University Center


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