Friday, January 29, 2016

Eagles Mix Experience, Youth For ARC

There are a whole bunch of new faces in the Eagles as the player pool has been named for the upcoming Americas Rugby Championship. Veterans like Todd Clever, Cam Dolan, Eric Fry, Ollie Kilifi, Titi Lamositele, Taku Ngwenya, Greg Peterson, and Blaine Scully will all be available for at least one match while a whole host of players could make their debuts.

Some of the notable players that could earn their first caps are Tom Bliss, a young scrumhalf in the Wasps system, James Hilterbrand, who has experience in Super Rugby and at Edinburgh, former Cal standouts Jake Anderson and Alec Gletzer, Hanco Germishuys, James Bird from Old Blue, Kingsley McGowan, Aladdin Schirmer, and David Tameilau from Life West.

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Not every player will be available for every match. For example, Scully, Peterson, Ngwenya, and Dolan are only available for the non-cap match against Argentina next week. Other players are only available for the tour to South America or a few other select matches. Of the 37 players in the pool, only 19 will be available for all five matches. Of the overseas players, only Bliss will be available for all five matches, which makes sense in his case given he hasn't seen a lot of time with Wasps or with Ealing, to whom he was on loan.

Nabbing the likes of Bliss and Hilterbrand could be big gets for the U.S. in the long-run. The Eagles need depth at both scrumhalf and hooker. Additionally, bringing in a number of young players at this point is crucial toward building for the next World Cup.

It is a big surprising that so many of the top overseas players have been called in. The tournament does fall under the release window for the U.S. but it was largely understood that many of the top players would be left with their clubs. It's thought that if the U.S. calls in those type of players for the ARC that overseas clubs would be hesitant to sign them. At the same time, some of the powers that be feel that having the threat of calling up players in the spring will help the Eagles gain full access to their players in the summer and fall test windows. By calling in certain players for just the Argentina match it lets clubs know they are serious. Plus, with the squad Argentina is bringing the Eagles could use the help.

Camp begins next week before the team takes on Argentina in Houston.

"Our team culture, our model of communication, and weekly processes will be consistent and inclusive of everyone, whether you are in camp or you go back to your club," John Mitchell said in a U.S.A. Rugby press release. "What is important is that our preparation does not ignore simple situations to learn with high-intensity preparation. Then it's up to us to stick to the same things and get better at it over the five weeks, bedding down our approach from day one for the players to become unconscious in their thinking to play without consequences for having a crack within the structure.

"Everyone involved will have to give more of themselves and play in a space where they have never been before. We are more interested in creating a team mix and squad that understands winning for USA is more important than playing for USA."


Available all 5 matches: Jake Anderson (Olympic Club), Chris Baumann (Austin Blacks), James Bird (Old Blue), Tom Bliss (Wasps), JP Eloff (Chicago Lions), Lemoto Filikitonga (Metropolis), Mike Garrity (Seattle Saracens), Alec Gletzer (Olympic Club), Ollie Kilifi (Seattle Saracens), Niku Kruger (Glendale Raptors), Titi Lamositele (Saracens), Ben Landry (Seattle Saracens), Chad London (Glendale Raptors), Kingsley McGowan (Trinity), Michelangelo Sosene-Feagai (Belmont Shore), David Tameilau (Life West), Joe Taufete'e (Belmont Shore), Mike Te'o (Eagles 7s), Bruce Thomas (SFGG), Matt Trouville (Seattle Saracens)

Available for Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay only: Demecus Beach (Life), Cam Falcon (NOLA), Brodie Orth (Kansas City)

Available for Canada and Chile only: Pat Blair (Eagles 7s), Nic Edwards (Eagles 7s), Luke Hume (Old Blue), 

Available for Argentina, Canada, and Chile only: Todd Clever (Newcastle) 

Available for Argentina only: Cam Dolan (Cardiff), Taku Ngwenya (Biarritz), Greg Peterson (Glasgow Warriors)

Available for Argentina and Canada only: Eric Fry (Newcastle), James Hilterbrand (Unattached), 

Available for Brazil and Uruguay only: Hanco Germishuys (Glendale Raptors), Ryan Matyas (Old Blue), Aladdin Schirmer (Central Washington), Tim Stanfill (Seattle Saracens)


  1. Coach going for the long game approach. I like it.

  2. No Seamus Kelly. That is a bit of a surprise.

    1. Yes and no... Yes in that he eventually got on form (although spotty). No in that he was holdover from the past regime.

  3. Kelly is solid but unspectacular. No harm in giving some other guys a chance to show their stuff. Kelly also can't put away his support runners on line breaks. I saw that on display several times this past summer and WC.

  4. No Danny Barrett, Ben Pinkelman or Will Holder. Not available are just not chosen?

  5. Here's to hoping that Houston and USA Rugby promote the USA/Argentina Match well this week.