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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Expect New Faces On The Eagles ARC Team

The Eagles Americas Rugby Championship squad is set to be announced at any time now. While all but the Argentina match are full internationals and count toward World Rugby rankings it's extremely unlikely that any of the main players that have made up the Eagles core group over the last four years will be involved. They could technically be pulled away from their clubs but it would almost certainly ruin their chance of getting a new contract or more Americans signing overseas (U.S. players are often brought in as Six Nations cover). Couple that with the start of a new World Cup cycle when younger players are typically given a chance and you could see many new faces in the team.

Of the 31 players that travelled to the World Cup only about nine of them--Zach Fenoglio, Ollie Kilifi, Chris Baumann, Joe Taufete'e, Matt Trouville, Al McFarland, Niku Kruger, Shalom Suniula, Seamus Kelly--would be good candidates for the ARC team and some of those players may have retired or moved on from the team to focus on something new.

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To get a better idea of who might be on the team look at some of the names of players that have already leaked out. JP Eloff, Brodie Orth, and Taufete'e have all been strongly linked with the upcoming camp. Those are players at key positions that could push for more time. You are also likely to see more club standouts, like Brandon Rams from the Austin Blacks, some Kansas City, Metropolis, and Seattle players, as well as from other clubs.

There is even a strong possibility that the team could bring in a few young overseas players to get a look. A player like Tom Bliss isn't expected to attend but Christian Ostberg, who has been playing with the Aurillac reserves in France is a strong candidate. It's also possible that some of the young Americans playing in Ireland could get a chance.

Overall, it's going to be nearly impossible to predict all of the players that make it into camp. That said, it's important to remember that this is a development tournament. The teams they are going to face, with the exception of Argentina, are not the strongest sides in the world, especially when you consider that both Canada and Uruguay will also be using the tournament for depth. Giving younger players a runout against the likes of Brazil and Chile in a meaningful match is only going to help players get better, which is the whole point of the tournament.

If you look at the Eagles ARC roster in 2012 there were a lot of young and experimental names on that roster. Most didn't make it but a few gems, like Cam Dolan, Zach Fenoglio, and John Quill all broke through. If the U.S. can have that again then it's going to be a winning experience.


  1. Love to see some of the Ireland-based lads on the team.

  2. Is this much more or really anything more than a glorified ARC?

  3. Where is John Quill currently?