January 25, 2017
Eagles Ready for Americas Rugby Championship
Men’s Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell has selected a 35 player squad for the Americas Rugby Championship. The Eagles will face Uruguay in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, February 4 and Brazil in Austin, Texas on Feb. 11.
A number of professional players in Europe will not be available for these matches, while several will be available for one to four of them. With the Six Nations also in progress, European clubs are reluctant to release their players for test matches that fall outside the World Rugby window. As a result, Titi Lamositele (Saracens), Samu Manoa (Toulon), Thretton Palamo (Bristol), and Joe Taufete’e (Worcester) are not available. Other players like AJ MacGinty (Sale ) and Co-captain Blaine Scully (Cardiff) are only available against Uruguay, Nick Civetta (Newcastle) for Uruguay & Brazil and David Tameilau (RC Narvonne) for Canada, Chile & Argentina.
Cam Dolan, who captained the Cardiff Blues against AJ MacGinty’s Sale Sharks last week will be available for four matches beginning with Brazil. Other professionals like James Hilterbrand (Manly) & Tony Lamborn (Hawke’s Bay Magpies), will be with the team for all five matches.
Todd Clever, the other co-captain along with Blaine Scully, fine tuned his game in preparation for the ARC by playing in the California Cup and helped OMBAC Rugby gain the title.
Nine of the players selected will have the opportunity to earn debut caps in the Americas Rugby Championship in which the U.S. finished second a year ago.
John Mitchell indicated in discussing his squad that “The important thing is to connect as a team and play well to put ourselves in the position to win the ARC. That’s the aim: to win the tournament. A five-week competition is a huge ask for amateur players, but we obviously have got a close eye on Rugby World Cup Qualifiers selections, as well. Ultimately, at the end of the day, this assembly will be about how this team connects as one and enhances the individuals’ future opportunities with the national team.”
Fifteen members of the extended ARC squad played in international test matches against Romania and Tonga in November, while Matt Jensen, Alex Maughan, and Calvin Whiting played with the 2016 AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans in August.
After the first match against Uruguay, where AJ MacGinty will be kicking, Ben Cima (Rocky Gorge) and Will Magie (Glendale Raptors) will be sharing kicking responsibilities when they are in at flyhalf.
Mitchell added to USA Rugby that “About half of the guys are familiar with our weekly periodization, which is going to help. We grew in 2016; the weekly periodization allowed us to, eventually, play 80 minutes of football and play at a high tempo and at an improved high speed. The newer guys will get used to the constant and replicated routine. They’ll be challenged in terms of embracing new ideas, learning, installing, and training and playing at a high intensity. A lot of these guys will be challenged in terms of getting on the same page and having the discipline to stay on what we do in terms of the way we play.”
“We currently don’t have a centralized program like Argentina, Canada, and Uruguay, which is what we’re up against. The one constant we do have is the way we train. We actually get better, physically, throughout the assembly.”
There are fifteen professionals who played for PRO Rugby on the squad. This league contributed to the players being able to play at a high pace. The Ohio Aviators had scrumhalf Shaun Davies, flyhalf/fullback JP Eloff, Spike Davis, the league’s top try scorer, Peter Malcolm at hooker and Demecus Beach at prop. Both Davis & Malcolm when they play will earn new Eagles caps. The winners of the PRO Rugby title, the Denver Stampede have flyhalf Will Magie, hooker/flanker Hanco Germishuys and props Chris Baumann & Ben Tarr. The San Diego Breakers added the backs Mikey Te’o and Ryan Matyas, while the San Francisco Rush contributed forwards Siaosi Mahoni, who also will be a new cap, and David Tameilau. Finally the Sacramento Rush adds an experienced prop in Olvie Kilifi and a flanker in John Quill.
The Eagles have many other talented players that have not been mentioned in Old Blue’s capped Eagles backs in Nate Augspurger and Luke Hume and Eagles locks from NYAC in Nate Brakeley and Al McFarland. Other Eagles props include Anthony Purpura from Boston Rugby and Dino Waldren who is unattached.
Zack Test, a USA Sevens Eagle & and Eagle XV, has devoted the early part of the season to preparing for this event at either wing or center. He will be joined in the backs with Andrew Turner and Calvin Whiting who also are expected to be newly capped.
Only 26 players are permitted to attend training sessions in a given match week, so this has impacted selected a team that considers a number of professionals availability. After the first two matches against Uruguay and Brazil in Texas, the side will largely be more of a developmental one for the last three matches.
The ARC will also serve to prepare for the Qualifiers against Canada. The USA will select a 30 player squad after the ARC for this goal.
The Eagles’ Americas Rugby Championship campaign kicks off Feb. 4 in San Antonio and in Austin Feb. 11 prior to away matches in Canada Feb. 18, Chile Feb. 25, and Argentina March 4. All of the U.S.’s matches in the ARC will be broadcast live on The Rugby Channel. The extended squad is subject to change throughout the Americas Rugby Championship.
USA Men’s Eagles – Americas Rugby Championship (Name, Club & Availability) * Player uncapped at International Test level
- Nate Augspurger (Old Blue) All
- Chris Baumann (Denver Stampede) All
- Demecus Beach (Old Blue/ Ohio Aviators) Chile, Argentina
- Nate Brakeley (New York Athletic Club) Uruguay, Brazil, Canada
- Bryce Campbell (Indiana University) All
- Ben Cima* (Rocky Gorge) All
- Nick Civetta (Newcastle Falcons) Uruguay, Brazil
- Todd Clever (Austin Huns) All
- Shaun Davies (Glendale Raptors/ Ohio Aviators) All
- Spike Davis* (Columbus/Ohio Aviators) All
- Cam Dolan (Cardiff Blues) Brazil, Canada, Chile, Argentina
- JP Eloff (Chicago Lions/Ohio Aviators) All
- Hanco Germishuys (Austin Huns) Chile, Argentina
- James Hilterbrand (Manly Rugby) All
- Luke Hume (Old Blue) Canada, Chile
- Matthew Jensen* (Brigham Young University) Chile, Argentina
- Olive Kilifi (Seattle Saracens/Sacramento Express) Canada, Chile, Argentina
- Tony Lamborn (Hawke’s Bay Magpies) All
- AJ MacGinty (Sale Sharks) Uruguay
- Will Magie* Glendale Raptors/Denver Stampede) All
- Siaosi Mahoni* (Life West/San Francisco Rush) All
- Peter Malcolm* (Ohio Aviators) All
- Ryan Matyas (Old Blue/San Diego Breakers) Uruguay, Brazil, Canada
- Alex Maughan* (Life University) Uruguay, Brazil
- Al McFarland (New York Athletic Club) Uruguay, Brazil
- Anthony Purpura (Boston Rugby) All
- John Quill (Sacramento Express) Uruguay, Brazil, Canada
- Blane Scully (Cardiff Blues) Uruguay
- David Tameilau (RC Narbonne/ San Francisco Rush) Canada, Chile, Argentina
- Ben Tarr (Glendale Raptors/Denver Stampede) All
- Mike Te’o (Belmont Shore/San Diego Breakers) All
- Zack Test (Men’s Eagles Sevens) All
- Andrew Turner* (Unattached) Brazil, Canada, Chile, Argentina
- Dino Waldren (Unattached) Uruguay
- Calvin Whiting* (Brigham Young University) Chile, Argentina
Players by position
- Prop: Chris Baumann, Demecus Beach, Olive Kilifi, Alex Maughan, Anthony Purpura, Dino Waldren
- Hooker: James Hilterbrand, Peter Malcolm
- Locks: Nick Civetta, Cam Dolan (Backrow), Nate Brakeley, Al McFarland, Siaosi Mahoni
- Backrow: Todd Clever, Cam Dolan, Hanco Germishuys, Matthew Jensen, Tony Lamborn, John Quill, David Tameilau
- Scrumhalf: Nate Augspurger, Shaun Davies
- Flyhalf: AJ MacGinty, Ben Cima, Will Magie
- Center: Bryce Campbell
- Center/Wing: Spike Davis, Ryan Matyas, Zack Test, Anthony Turner, Calvin Whiting
- Wing: Luke Hume, Blaine Scully, Zack Test
- Fullback: JP Eloff, Mikey Te’o
USA Eagles – Americas Rugby Championship
- v. Uruguay – Saturday, Feb. 4 @ Toyota Field
- v. Brazil – Saturday, Feb. 11 @ Dell Diamond
- v. Canada – Saturday, Feb. 18 @ Swangard Stadium
- v. Chile – Saturday, Feb. 25
- v. Argentina XV – Saturday, March 4