USA Selects XV Americas Pacific Challenge Squad

USA Rugby Release by Aalina Tabani

The USA Men’s Selects have assembled for the Americas Pacific Challenge 2021 taking place October 22, October 26, and October 30 at Estadio Charrua in Montevideo, Uruguay. Led by Mike Tolkin as Head Coach, the 29-player squad will face Argentina XV, Brazil A, and Chile A across the three dates.

The broadcast will be confirmed in the coming week.

Roster Highlights

  • Alex Lopeti and Javon Camp-Vilalovos were selected from the USA Rugby Academy; Lopeti is the younger brother of recently capped Eagle Tavite Lopeti
  • 9 players represent collegiate programs
  • 18 players represent Major League Rugby clubs
  • Jack Wendling makes an appearance after recently being capped with USA Sevens at the Vancouver and Edmonton World Series tournaments

Six teams compete across two pools with the United States, Paraguay A, and Uruguay A were drawn in Pool B while Argentina XV, Brazil A, and Chile A fill Pool A. Each pool plays against the other with the winner determined on total competition points at the end.

The purpose of the Americas Pacific Challenge (APC) is to prepare the next generation of XVs players for international competition. Only two years remain until Rugby World Cup 2023 which makes it hugely important for national team prospects to face high-level competition to support the transition from development to senior national teams.

As the first secondary side for the USA Men’s XVs National Team, players who compete for the Selects are considered captured by international standards, which means they are committed to compete for the United States and no other nation.

Head Coach Mike Tolkin said:

“This tournament required that 80% of our roster be 23 and under. Since we have endeavored to increase the number of young, talented American rugby athletes through the MLR as well as the USA talent ID programs, we will put our process through the test in Uruguay.

“Those players now join the large pool of strong athletes who emerge from our more traditional university pathways. Of course, it makes selections more difficult, but we’re more than happy to deal with that situation.

“These are hungry players, eager to make an impression on the Eagle coaches and become viable options for our national team. Because of this individual drive and the excellence of the programs from which they come, we expect a highly motivated and hard-working group of men, constantly looking to compete and improve.

“As we have seen in the recent past, the South American teams are formidable opponents and our challenges are clear. While Argentina’s standards have been well-established over the years, all the other squads have become more comprehensive in the way they play the game and never lack in confidence.”

USA Men’s Selects Roster

Joseph Backe Hooker Utah Warriors
Harry Barlow Center New England Freejacks
Shane Barry Flyhalf University of California Los Angeles
Kyle Breytenbach Back Row Austin Gilgronis
Javon Camp-Vilalovos Lock USAR Academy
Corey Daniel Back Row DC Old Glory
Elijah Hayes Prop Utah Warriors
Charles Hewitt Lock Rugby United New York
Cael Hodgson Center New England Freejacks
Justin Johnson Back Row New England Freejacks
Karl Keane Scrumhalf St. Mary’s College of California
Alex Lopeti Prop USAR Academy
Patrick Madden Fullback/Wing San Diego Legion
Michael Matarazzo Back Row Dallas Jackals
Jared Miller Prop Life University
Ben Mitchell Lock San Diego Legion
Eric Naposki Fullback/Wing Dallas Jackals
Brian Nault Prop NOLA Gold
Cam Nelson Prop Central Washington University
Ivan Pula Prop Central Washington University
George Sharpe Hooker NOLA Gold
Owen Sheehy Fullback/ Fly-Half DC Old Glory
Nolan Tuamoheloa Center Utah Warriors
Colin Turner Back Row Davenport University
Tiai Vavao Center Central Washington University
Sam Walsh Flyhalf University of California Berkeley
Jack Wendling Center Central Washington University
Bailey Wilson Back Row Utah Warriors
Sean Yacoubian Scrumhalf New England Freejacks

USA Selects Staff

Head Coach | Mike Tolkin
Assistant Coach | Brendan Keane
Assistant Coach | Todd Thornley
Strength & Conditioning | Matthew Maddison
Analyst | Nicholas Purvis
Athletic Trainer | Santiago Noriega
Team Doctor | Mark Kawolsky
Team Manager | Mark Drown

USA Selects Schedule 

  • October 22, vs Argentina XV, 2:30 PM ET
  • October 26, vs Brazil A, 11:30 AM ET
  • October 30, vs Chile A, 2:30 PM ET

Click here for Full Schedule

About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant