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.
- 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