One of the great benefits for the Eagles is the amount of players worldwide that eligible to play for the team. In the past, players that have grown up and played rugby overseas have qualified either by being born in the U.S., having a parent that's American, or by qualifying through residency. Now, it looks like that fortuitous position could yield results once again. Current Stormers and Western Province centre Marcel Branche is a U.S.A. qualified player.
The 24-year old Brache was born in Los Angles and lived in the U.S. with his family until the age of four when he moved to Cape Town. After playing age-grade rugby in Cape Town he attended the University of Cape Town and played for their team (Ikeys) along with Eagle JJ Gagiano. He put in several strong appearances for the Ikeys in the Varsity Cup that drew the attention of Western Province.
He turned out for Western Province first in the Varsity Cup in 2012 and then landed a spot on the Currie Cup side. He played for both the Vodacom and Currie cup team again in 2011. This last spring, after another great season in the Vodacom Cup, Brache got the call-up to the Stormers in Super Rugby where he made one appearance off the bench. Brache was recently named the vice captain of Western Province in this year's Currie Cup. Here is a interview he recently did talking about that:
So, what are the chances of Brache ending up in a U.S. jersey? It's hard to say. The first consideration is whether or not he has a chance to represent the Springboks. As it stands now, that doesn't look likely. He has only made one appearance in Super Rugby and has not appeared for a South African age-grade team. However, just because his chances of playing for the Springboks seem small, it doesn't mean that Brache thinks that. He may still believe that he can get that call-up, and maybe he does.
Still, he does seem like a good candidate for the Eagles. He is young, and plays a position the Eagles will need when Andrew Suniula and Paul Emerick retire. He is reportedly a strong runner and very physical on defense. To give Brache credit, he does seem to have strong ties to the U.S. and having a former Eagle as a teammate can't hurt.