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Thursday, March 23, 2017

30 Tickets To Japan: Prop & Hooker

Photo: Michael Kreizenbeck

Now that the ARC is in the rear-view mirror we thought it was time for another edition of 30 Ticket to Japan. For those that aren't aware this is an series of pieces that predicts who would be on the Eagles roster at the World Cup if it started today (there are actually 31 spots with an extra spot for a front-row player). Almost certainly things will change between now and 2019 and you can bet that some new players are going to come out of the woodwork and state their case. In this edition we look at prop and hooker.

Prop Pool: Titi Lamositele, Joe Taufete'e, Eric Fry, Chris Baumann, Tony Purpura, Ben Tarr, Alex Maughan, Dino Waldren, Ollie Kilifi, Demecus Beach, Angus MacLellan, Val Lee-Lo

The battle for the likely five prop positions changed with some strong performances at the ARC. The core group remains the same as Titi Lamositele and Chris Baumann have pretty much locked up a spot. Lamositele is the only American prop playing in one of the big three competitions in Europe while Baumann has shown how much he means to the team with another big performance in the ARC. Helping their stock the most in the ARC was Tony Purpura. He went from completely being out of the Eagles picture to now looking like a serious candidate to be included in the summer roster.

Take the jump to read more.
After that is where the picture gets a little more fuzzy. Eric Fry has proven himself a solid contributor in the past and is one of the few American props in a professional environment. However, he hasn't always been called upon under John Mitchell. Normally he would be near an automatic selection for us but his general absence from the Eagles over the last year has him on iffier ground. That could leave an opening for the likes of Dino Waldren or Angus MacLellan. They are the next two on our list.

That means for players like Ben Tarr, Alex Maughan, Ollie Kilifi, Demecus Beach, and Val Lee-Lo they are going to need to do something to push them into better contention. Further, they could fall down the depth chart if a player like Dave Ryan decided to play for the Eagles. There are no indications that it is happening but you never know.

For us, right now it would be Lamositele, Baumann, Fry, and Purpura. The Eagles will take a fifth player but as we'll explain in a minute that player is almost certainly going to be Joe Taufete'e.

Hooker Pool: James Hilterbrand, Peter Malcolm, Hanco Germishuys, Joe Taufete'e, Pat Blair, Tom Coolican

On the surface hooker is straightforward. Given how he's played for Worcester Taufete'e will certainly be on the roster and is likely the starter. As mentioned above his flexibility in being able to play prop is a plus because the Eagles have two excellent hookers in James Hilterbrand and Peter Malcolm that should be on the roster as well. Hilterbrand looks to be a favorite of Mitchell and he brings a wealth of experience that is critical for the team. Of all the players at the ARC Malcolm improved his stock the most. It is a genuine battle at this point of whether it will be Hilterbrand or Malcolm that will get minutes. Either way they will be on the roster.

Outside of those three players the pool is more thin for the Eagles. Hanco Germishuys seems to be a firm back-row player at the moment while Pat Blair is just down the depth chart. A player like Tom Coolican could make their their way on to the team but it's an uphill battle.

So here is who we have going to the World Cup and on the Eagles summer series squad:

Prop: Titi Lamositele (starter), Chris Baumann (starter), Eric Fry, Tony Purpura

Hooker: Joe Taufete'e (starter), James Hilterbrand, Peter Malcolm

1 comment:

  1. Curtis, For the purposes of these articles are you only considering those currently eligible for the Eagles or are you considering those who will be eligible by the time the World Cup comes around. i.e. Dylan Fawsitt would have to at least be under consideration for the hooker pool and Sebastian Kalm for the back row positions when they become eligible later this year.

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