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Monday, October 26, 2015

Eagles Prospects For The Next RWC Cycle

The Eagles aren't going to have a match until next February when they play in the first Americas Six Nations. While that tournament will allow the Eagles to call in their European players they aren't about to do that (we could talk about the reasons why but it's beating a dead horse).  The tournament will be more of an expansion of the Americas Rugby Championship where it will be some overseas players but at the same time domestic players will be the bulk of the team.

A by product of that and the start of a new World Cup cycle there are going to be younger players brought into the team. It was the same at the 2012 Americas Rugby Championship when the likes of Cam Dolan,  Nick Wallace, John Quill, and Shaun Davies all got a chance to play. Add in that players like Phil Thiel, Mate Moeakiola, Lou Stanfill, Mike Petri, Andrew Suniula, and possibly Taku Ngwenya and Chris Wyles (let's hope not!) will be retiring there is going to be some openings on the roster. With all that in mind we thought we'd take a look at some of the players we think could make an impact in this next cycle.

Take the jump to read more.
Already there are a few named that have experience with the Eagles. Titi Lamositele is only 20 but has been with the Eagles for two years and already has 16 caps. If he can stay healthy he could easily become the most capped Eagle of all time. Niku Kruger is also a young player that could have a long future with the Eagles at scrumhalf.

The list only starts there. Here are a few more players to consider:

Madison Hughes: We had Hughes tabbed as a player that could have been on the Eagles this summer but coming off a long season and then needing to finish school you can see why it didn't work out this year. Also, because he hasn't been a scrumhalf his whole life Kruger probably had the edge this summer anyways. Still, as Hughes has shown on the 7s Series he plays up to every level he's every been tested. He could become a crucial part of the Eagles over the next cycle, especially after the Olympics wraps up.

Tom Bliss: He's another player that could have potentially been on the World Cup team if he didn't have to worry about his future (he needed to be secure with his club). It might take a little more to convince him (he'd potentially risk his contract with Wasps) but reports are that he's keen. He would be a great option at scrumhalf.

Pila Huihui: The San Francisco Golden Gate turned Tiger Rugby star could be a fixture on the 7s team or he could find himself on the 15s team. He's big, he's fast, and he's good in the air. He's everything you want in a modern winger. He'll face plenty of challenges from players for a spot on the wings but odds are high he gets called in at some point. He isn't as young as some of the other players on this list but that shouldn't matter too much.

Joel Yogerst: One of the players that could challenge Huihui for a spot on the wings is Joel Yogerst from Metropolis. He's one of the players first picked up in the NRFL combine and has been playing with Metropolis for the last little bit. He's played on the wing and in the centers but regardless of where he's played he's excelled.

Jojo Tikoisuva: A teammate of Yogerst's at Metropolis Tikoisuva has trained with the Eagles 7s and the Fiji 7s. He's a good playmaker that has mostly been playing fullback for the Minneapolis side. What's been impressive is that his kicking has been solid, something the Eagles could always use.

Angus MacLellan: Already capped for the Eagles MacLellan is line to get good minutes at prop or hooker going forward.

Pierce Dargan: He's not a player that a lot of people have heard about but Dargan is a fantastic player who has been in Ireland. The large number of players capable of playing in the back-row hurts him some but his talents haven't gone unnoticed.

Kingsley McGowan: After finishing up with St. Mary's he's been training with the Eagles 7s and has now headed to Ireland to play with Trinity. He's already making an impact on the team so look for that to come back to the States.

Ben Cima: There are a couple of candidates for back-ups to AJ MacGinty at fly-half and one of those players is Ben Cima. He's been slowly worked into the Eagles at several camps and if he's going to prove himself he'll have to get it at a tournament like the Americas Six Nations.

Ben Pinkelman: If fans don't already know that name Ben Pinkelman they need to. He's already been capped at the "B" level having scored a couple of tries in last year's Americas Rugby Championship. He's still in school at Colorado State so that limits some of his availability but he's currently in 7s camp and could find an avenue there. It wouldn't shock us to see him start at the next World Cup.

Conor Kearns: Having excelled the last few year's at Trinity Kearns is having a breakout year. He's a fullback but could play elsewhere in a pinch. He can also kick. He would be a great candidate to bring in for a look next Spring.

Christian Ostberg: This is another name fans should know. Currently playing for Aurillac in the Pro D2 Ostberg is a big player that is taking his development seriously. Every other player that has gone over to Europe to gain serious experience like he has eventually gets capped.

Mose Fualaau: The Life West player is currently with the Clermont Academy. He's a bit of an unknown but if he can come back seasoned, watch out.

Hanco Germishuys: It shouldn't have taken us this long to get to Germishuys but we too often take him for granted. If there is a player set to break out over the next year, it's him. He's had stints in England, South Africa, and New Zealand. He excelled for the U-20s on a team that just looked alright and played well on a stacked Glendale team. We don't see how he doesn't land a contract in the next year.

Mike Lawrenson: Another player we take for granted is Lawrenson. The Eagles would have had him in this year but it was felt that it would be better for him to head to New Zealand to play with Counties Manukau and gain experience. Especially with Stanfill retiring Lawrenson is going to get a look.

Other names to consider include Maka Unufe, JP Eloff, Paddy Ryan, Lemoto Filikitonga, Val Lee-Lo, Ben Landry, Calvin Whiting, Tua Laei, and a whole host of players we haven't mentioned here.


  1. Good list but I think there are two very notable omissions:

    Mike Teo
    Alec Gletzer

  2. Derek Lipscomb could become an interesting back 3 option after joining Blackheath.

  3. What ever happened to Preston Bryant? He's young, playing extremely well for Glendale, was even on the Eagles' 7's radar a few year ago. Would seem like exactly the type of player who should get a look going into the next RWC cycle.

  4. What happened to Ryan Matyas? He played well when he was on the tour. He had like 4 tries and only played maybe 15 total minutes the whole tour. Also he had some good showings in the Serevi and City 7s. I beileve he scored 12 tries in 2 tournaments. Why isnt he getting invited to any camps?

  5. Between Niku Kruger, Tom Bliss, and Madison Hughes we should have at least 2 quality #9s in 2019. Honestly, I think Bliss and Hughes are and will be the better of the 3. Ben Cima needs to get stuck in over the next few years, the upcoming Americas Rugby Cup is a great opportunity. We should have an even deeper squad in 2019, but we still need to get as many of them into professional environments as possible.