LANGFORD, British Columbia – The Eagles Select XV roster has been selected for the 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship at Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence.
The 25-man squad includes returning Eagles John Cullen, Graham Harriman, Olive Kilifi, Tim Maupin, Adam Siddall, Phil Thiel, and Nick Wallace, as well as newcomers to an assembly in Lemoto Filikitonga, Justin Hundley, Angus MacLellan, and Ben Tarr.
Mike Tolkin’s developmental side will face the Argentina Jaguars, Canada, and Uruguay in the fifth incarnation of the tournament. In 2013, the Eagles Select XV defeated Canada and Uruguay to earn eight points and a second-place finish behind the undefeated Jaguars.
Last year, Tolkin and the Eagles were building towards a high-profile – and eventual record-setting sellout – match against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks. Using the ARC as a warm-up tool for domestic players and players identified through the USA Rugby AIG All-American age-grade programs, the ARC continues to be an important tool for the coaching staff and infinitely more important with the match against the New Zealand All Blacks in Chicago looming.
“[The American Rugby Championship is] huge for the fall tests,” Tolkin said. “The ARC is massive in giving a platform for guys to put their best foot forward and make that November squad and, for the guys who do go forward, to be as prepared as they can to match up with the professionals they’re meeting up with. It’s a huge tournament for our group element.”
On top of improving the available competition for the country’s top rugby players, the Eagles will use the ARC as one of the first competitive steps for next year’s IRB Rugby World Cup. Argentina and Canada have also qualified for rugby’s main quadrennial tournament, with Uruguay currently in a bid for the final spot in England. The South Americans fell to Russia, 22-21, in the first leg of the Repechage in Krasnoyarsk and host the second leg in Montevideo Saturday, Oct. 11.
“Uruguay will have been really busy playing in the Qualifiers,” Tolkin said. “They have more important things to focus on, so this will be a true development squad, but whatever team Uruguay puts on the field, they’ll battle, they’re tough.
“The Jaguars, as they usually do, will have a fully professional team, and some of those guys will have played in The Rugby Championship. We have youngsters, guys who haven’t played a lot of rugby, so we’re not going up there as a big, overwhelming favorite.
“We’re going to take a much more process-oriented approach to the tournament. We want to work on skills and aspects of our game – as individuals and units – and we want to develop our guys as well as we can. We don’t want this to be a win or go home or win at all costs; we want to get it right within our squad, getting our guys playing right, having the right attitude, and we always feel if we can get that right then we’ll have success.”
The Eagles Select XV kick off the Americas Rugby Championship at Westhill Stadium Saturday, Oct. 11, at 5:30 P.M. ET against Argentina. Follow live match updates on Twitter with @USARugby and watch the tournament live on the Americas Rugby Championship website.
Eagles Select XV | IRB Americas Rugby Championship
Nate Augspurger (Old Blue of New York)
John Cullen (Seattle Saracens)
Brian Doyle (New York Athletic Club)
Andrew Durutalo (Men’s Eagles Sevens)
Zach Fenoglio (Glendale Raptors)
Lemoto Filikitonga (Metropolis Rugby Football Club)
Troy Hall (New York Athletic Club)
Graham Harriman (James Bay Rugby Football Club)
Justin Hundley (New York Athletic Club)
Olive Kilifi (Seattle Saracens)
Chad London (Glendale Raptors)
Angus MacLellan (Davenport University)
Tim Maupin (Trinity College)
Ben Pinkelman (Denver Barbarians/Colorado State University)
Adam Siddall (Old Blue of New York)
Louis Stanfill (Seattle Saracens)
Tim Stanfill (Seattle Saracens)
Kyle Sumsion (Brigham Young University)
Andrew Suniula (Old Blue of New York)
Shalom Suniula (Seattle Saracens)
Zach Test (Men’s Eagles Sevens)
Phil Thiel (Life Rugby)
Matt Trouville (Seattle Saracens)
Nick Wallace (Glendale Raptors)
Eagles Select XV | Coaching Staff
Mike Tolkin – Head Coach
Justin Fitzpatrick – Assistant Coach
Nate Osborne – Assistant Coach
David Williams – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Chris O’Brien – Kicking Coach/Video Analyst
Terrence Cronin – Doctor
Richard Quincy – Physiotherapist
Zach Vyhnanek – Physiotherapist
Tristan Lewis – Manager
Eagles Select XV | IRB Americas Rugby Championship Schedule
v Argentina – Saturday, Oct. 11 – 5:30 P.M. ET
v Canada – Wednesday, Oct. 15 – 11:00 P.M. ET
v Uruguay – Sunday, Oct. 19 – 5:30 P.M. ET