Thursday, September 7, 2017

30 Tickets To Japan: The Forwards

It's been since before the World Cup qualifiers this summer that we've had an edition of 30 tickets. A lot has changed since then. Some players like Todd Clever have moved on while other younger players are putting their hand up. More importantly, the Eagles are in the process of gaining a new coach. That about everything else is going to have an impact on future selections. However, that's not going to stop us from offering our thoughts on who might make the Eagles World Cup team if it started today.

It's important to note that teams can take 31 players to the World Cup with room for an extra front-row player. Also, as always, our predictions are probably off so feel free to offer yours in the comments.

Prop: Titi Lamositele, Chris Baumann, Eric Fry, Paddy Ryan

The Eagles prop situation is a little in flux at the moment with Titi Lamositele still coming back from injury. Had he been healthy there is little question he would have been a major part of the Eagles World Cup qualifying campaign. It's amazing what he has accomplished at such a young age. He's a contributor on one of Europe's best teams. We're including him here.

Take the jump to read more.
Chris Baumann is another obvious candidate for selection. Getting time with Leicester is going to be big for him. He makes it. It gets a bit tricky from there. There are a number of candidates, including Eric Fry, Tony Purpura, Paddy Ryan, and Dino Waldren who could all make it. There is also an outside player like Ben Tarr. For some reason Fry has continued to miss out on selection despite playing regularly in France. We think that given a new coach he comes back into the picture. We also think as things move forward it's going to be between Paddy Ryan and Dino Waldren to grab that fourth place. Right now it's Ryan's.

Hooker: James Hilterbrand, Joe Taufete'e, Peter Malcolm

The roster at hooker seems set. James Hilterbrand and Joe Taufet'e are the two on and off starters depending on the situation. Taufete'e's ability to play prop is also a major asset. Malcolm seems on the outside looking in but he's in a good position to make the World Cup as the extra front-row player.

Lock: Greg Peterson, Nick Civetta, Nate Brakeley, Ben Landry

As always the Eagles have plenty of options at lock. For over the past year Nate Brakeley and Nick Civetta have formed a very solid partnership. However, that combination wasn't always kept for World Cup qualifying. The successful pairing can be broken up with the availability of some players in the back-row and those who can play lock. For example, with the likes of Tony Lamborn, Andrew Durutalo, John Quill, Cam Dolan, Samu Manoa, and David Tameilau all available in the back-row it could force a knock-on effect where Manoa, Tameilau, or Dolan find themselves at lock.

All of that said we're going with Greg Peterson and Nick Civetta as the starters with Nate Brakeley and Ben Landry as the back-ups. Peterson is a seasoned pro and Civetta continues to improve at Newcastle. Brakely has proven his worth and in his return from football Landry has shown well. That means the likes of Matt Jensen, James King, and Siaosi Mahoni will miss out.

Back-row: Samu Manoa, Andrew Durutalo, Tony Lamborn, Danny Barrett, Cam Dolan, John Quill

The back-row is full. Yes, the Eagles will be missing the presence of Todd Clever but they have plenty of other players that should be standouts. Given every option on the table it's hard to argue against a Manoa, Durutalo, and Lamborn combination starting. If available, Danny Barrett, should be a capable back-up along with Cam Dolan and John Quill.  Langilangi Haupeakui, Al McFarland, Hanco Germishuys, and a few others all miss out.

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