The first squad for new Eagles head coach, Gary Gold, has a great balance of new and experienced Eagles.
In October, USA rugby announced that Worcester director of rugby, Gary Gold would take over as Eagles head coach following the departure of John Mitchell. He has named his 39 man traveling squad for the upcoming Americas Rugby Championship. This year’s US Eagles squad has some very experienced names such as: Titi Lamositele, Mike Te’o, and Blaine Scully. 13 new players will be looking to earn their fist cap for the Eagles during the five match championship.
Major League Rugby well represented in 39 Player Squad
Major League Rugby will debut in April of this year, and has already signed many players to their individual teams. 14 of the 39 members of the ARC squad are members of an MLR team.
Five of MLR’s seven teams are represented with the Glendale Raptors, Austin Elite, San Diego Legion, Utah Warriors, and Seattle Seawolves all with players on the team. Well known Eagles squad members Mike Te’o and Shaun Davies will give MLR its first major match exposure two months before league kickoff.
This kind of exposure is exactly what a new rugby organization needs to get off the ground, and as much Gary Gold can then assess players in a match situation.
The US Eagles 2018 Team
- Prop: Titi Lamositele, Dino Waldren, Anthony Purpura, Paddy Ryan, Angus Maclellan, Huluholo Moungaloa, Chance Wenglewski
- Hooker: James Hilterbrand, Dylan Fawsitt, Peter Malcolm, Joe Taufete’e
- Lock: Nick Civetta, Ben Landry, Matt Jensen, Nate Brakeley, Brendan Daly
- Back Row: Hanco Germishuys, Aladdin Schirmer, Psalm Wooching, Tony Lamborn, Malon Aljibouri, Cam Dolan.
2017 saw a drastic improvement by the Eagles forwards, and this lineup looks to continue just that. Nick Civetta is great on the lineout, and Matt Jensen performed very well during last summers match against Georgia.
With the retirement of Todd Clever following last summer’s tour, Hanco Germishuys must be in the lead for the number 7 shirt on this tour, but expect newcomer Psalm Wooching to make waves during the tour as well.
The front row looks solid with Titi Lamositele, Dino Waldren (see below image), and Joe Taufete’e making up the go to front three for the Eagles. The front eight will be the ones to watch for the biggest improvement during this tour. The scrum has been slowly improving for the Eagles, but in both matches against Georgia in 2017, the Georgian scrum was able to secure a penalty try. If the USA is to work their way up the international standings the improvement must start here.
?? Congratulations to Dino Waldren who has been called up to the @USARugby squad for their Autumn Tests
— London Scottish FC (@LSFCOfficial) October 26, 2017
- Scrum Half: Nate Augspurger, Shaun Davies, Devereaux Farris, Ruben de Haas
- Fly Half: Will Magie, Will Hooley, Ben Cima
- Center: Paul Lasike, Bryce Campbell, Dylan Audsley, Marcel Brache
- Wing: Ryan Matyas, Josh Whippy, Alex Elkias, Peni Tagire
- Fullback: Mike Te’o, Blaine Scully.
The USA back line is truly ‘where the magic is at’. There are nothing but stars all throughout the 9-15 positions. Although there is more experience in these positions, new stars such as Paul Lasike, Dylan Audsley, and Peni Tagire will contribute well to the team.
Gary Gold Encourages New Talent
Tagire has come onto the US scene seemingly out of nowhere. He originally played Rugby League in the NRL for the Sydney Roosters and St. George Illawarra Dragons. He then moved to the United States, and played on the Gridiron as a running back for the Baylor Golden Bears. Gold will assume the ‘basic instinct’ is there, which he can harness.
Paul Lasike is another Eagle who played at a high level in American Football, as a running back with the Chicago Bears. He was a two-sport athlete in college for BYU and had some massive carries on the rugby pitch for the Cougars. He has amazing power and can thwart tacklers easily with his massive size.
As well, we profile his time in the NFL below;
US Eagles Returning Veterans
The veterans of the USA squad are led by captain Blaine Scully. Scully has the most caps of the entire team, and is a great ball carrier. He has (and will) continue to look like an absolute superstar, both at Cardiff and when playing at home.
Captain Superman Blaine Scully takes a perfect kick for TRY!!! Huge score and massive conversion, lead 26-23 over Uruguay at 64th minute. pic.twitter.com/xOgreM5jU3
— The Rugby Channel (@TheRugbyChannel) February 4, 2017
While not holding a huge number of caps, hopefully this series will continue to see Nate Augspurger on the wing, where he seemed naturally suited during last years ARC. He is certainly a solid Scrum Half, but the future of that number 9 position for the Eagles has to be in the hands of Shaun Davies.
Mike Te’o must be in the talk for the 15 shirt throughout the series, as he has been so successful there; more so than at winger. Ben Cima was the darling of last year’s ARC and hopefully this year will see even more exposure for him. He is a very sure-footed kicker and will be battling Will Maggie for the number 10 jersey.
Under Gary Gold – the Outlook
This is an extremely exciting team to look at on paper. With the very successful return players from last year’s tournament – as well as the exciting new talent to make their debut – you can’t help but be excited for this team moving forward.
“I’m sure the other teams see an opportunity to upset us. That added pressure will make our planning and preparation even more vital,” which was the statement from Gary Gold to USA Rugby’s website.
There is a familiar feel to it, and Gary Gold can assume much about whom he has included in the 39 man squad. But it is what he does with them all before the first match on February 3, which will be of interest to fans and rugby commentators in the US market.
2018 America’s Rugby Championship Schedule:
- February 3 – United States v Argentina XV, StubHub Center, Los Angeles. CA
- Feb 10 – USA v Canada, Papa Murphys Park, Sacramento. CA
- Feb 17 – USA v Chile, Titan Stadium, Fullerton. CA
These are the opening three fixtures, of the 2018 schedule.
“Main Photo Credit”
Embed from Getty Images