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

Nate AugspurgerMen’s Eagles SevensHalf back
Danny BarrettMen’s Eagles SevensLoose forward
Chris BaumannDenver Stampede (PRO)Prop
Garrett BenderMen’s Eagles SevensLoose forward
James BirdOld Blue of New YorkHalf back
Nate BrakeleyWinged Foot – New York Athletic ClubSecond row
Nick CivettaNewcastle Falcons (England)Second row
Todd CleverAustin HunsLoose forward
Shaun DaviesOhio Aviators (PRO)Half back
Cameron DolanCardiff Blues (Wales)Loose forward
Andrew DurutaloSunwolves (Super Rugby)Loose forward
JP Eloff*Ohio Aviators (PRO)Center
Lemoto Filikitonga*Metropolis Rugby Football ClubCenter
Eric FrySacramento Express (PRO)Prop
Ahmad HarajlyOhio Aviators (PRO)Center
Langilangi HaupeakuiSacramento Express (PRO)Loose forward
Harry HigginsOld Blue of New YorkLoose forward
James HilterbrandManly Rugby Union Football Club / Waratahs (Super Rugby)Hooker
Will HolderMen’s Eagles SevensFull back
Madison HughesMen’s Eagles SevensHalf back
Luke Hume*Old Blue of New YorkWing
Martin IosefoMen’s Eagles SevensCenter
Olive KilifiSacramento Express (PRO)Prop
James KingMoorabbin Rams RFC (Australia)Second row
Tony LambornHurricanes (Super Rugby)Loose forward
Titi LamositeleSaracens Football Club (England)Prop
Ben LandryDenver Stampede (PRO)Second row
Matai LeutaMen’s Eagles SevensWing
Chad LondonDenver Stampede (PRO)Center
AJ MacGintySale Sharks (England)Half back
Angus MacLellanOhio Aviators (PRO)Prop
Samu ManoaRC Toulonnais (France)Second row
Al McFarlandWinged Foot – New York Athletic ClubLoose forward
Taku NgwenyaSan Diego Breakers (PRO)Wing
Folau NiuaMen’s Eagles SevensCenter
Thretton PalamoMen’s Eagles SevensCenter
Greg PetersonGlasgow Warriors (Scotland)Second row
Ben PinkelmanMen’s Eagles SevensLoose forward
Chris SaintSacramento Express (PRO)Half back
Blaine ScullyCardiff Blues (Wales)Wing
Shalom SuniulaMen’s Eagles SevensHalf back
Kevin Swiryn*Seattle SaracensWing
Ben TarrDenver Stampede (PRO)Prop
Joe Taufete’eSan Diego Breakers (PRO)Hooker
Mike Te’oSan Diego Breakers (PRO)Full back
Zack TestMen’s Eagles SevensFull back
Brett ThompsonMen’s Eagles SevensWing
Peter TiberioMen’s Eagles SevensCenter
Stephen TomasinMen’s Eagles SevensHalf back
Maka UnufeMen’s Eagles SevensWing

Eagles Development Training Group: July 2016 – Jan. 2017

Malon Al-JibooriLindenwood University (D1A)Loose forward
Dylan AudsleySaint Mary’s College (D1A)Center
Tanner BarnesCentral Washington UniversityCenter
Demecus BeachOhio Aviators (PRO)Prop
Pat BlairMen’s Eagles SevensHooker
Tom BlissSan Diego Breakers (PRO)Half back
Nick BoyerUniversity of California, BerkeleyHalf back
Ben CimaRocky Gorge Rugby ClubHalf back
Hanco GermishuysDenver Stampede (PRO)Hooker
Alec GletzerSan Francisco Rush (PRO)Loose forward
Seth HallimanCentral Washington UniversityFull back
Conor KearnsTrinity College Dublin (Ireland)Full back
Tua LaeiRugby UtahWing
Peter MalcolmOhio Aviators (PRO), Wheeling Jesuit University (D1A)Hooker
Alex MaughanLife University (D1A)Prop
Cody MelphyLife University (D1A)Wing
Deion MikesellLindenwood University (D1A)Wing
Christian OstbergAurrilac (France)Second row
Aladdin SchirmerCentral Washington UniverstyLoose forward
Lorenzo ThomasLindenwood University (D1A)Center
Sione TuihalamakaSan Diego Breakers (PRO)Loose forward
Dino WaldrenSaint Mary’s College (D1A)Prop
Calvin WhitingBrigham Young UniversityCenter



About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant