Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
BOULDER, Colo. – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has named his squad that will travel to London, England, next week to compete in the Churchill Cup.
“The Churchill Cup is a very important annual tournament for the Eagles and this year with the Rugby World Cup (RWC) just three months away, it assumes an even greater importance as part of our preparations for New Zealand,” said O’Sullivan.
The Eagles will, however, be without some of their overseas professional players.
“We will be resting Chris Wyles and Taku Ngwenya, who have had a long tough, season overseas, which will allow them valuable rest time before beginning their preparations for RWC. Samu Manoa is also being rested to give him the best possible preparation before taking up his contract with Northampton on July 1,” commented the National Coach.
Added to this list is Hayden Smith, who has not been cleared for international duty in June by Premiership Rugby. Smith – who has had an outstanding season at lock for Saracens – has been released by his club side, but not Premiership Rugby.
The team departs for England on May 29 and will only have a few days on the ground before taking on Pool A opponents, the England Saxons on June 4 at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton and Tonga on June 8 at Moseley Road in Surrey.
Two matches in such a short space of time will be challenging for the squad, but excellent preparation for RWC, having to take on Ireland on September 11 and then Russia September 15, just four days later.
The format for the Churchill Cup sees two pools of three teams, with Canada, Italy and Russia completing Pool B. After the pool phase, first, second and third in each pool will then play for the Cup, Bowl and Plate in the elimination matches on June 18.
The squad consists of 13 overseas-based players, while seven members of the squad are currently in the UK representing the United States in the HSBC Sevens World Series, and will be joining the team in England.
Commenting on selection, O’Sullivan echoed “The fact that there are some players resting, gives an opportunity to others to make a case for inclusion in the final selection for RWC. Also, as was impressed on the players at the recent domestic camp at the OTC (Chula Vista), omission from the Churchill Cup squad does not automatically mean omission from the RWC squad. A lot of things can change between June and August, when the final selection will be made.”
USA EAGLES CHURCHILL CUP SQUAD
Inaki Basauri (L’ Aquila), Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate), Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan), Pat Danahy (Life University), Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks), JJ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town), Nic Johnson (Unattached), Will Johnson (London Irish), Danny LaPrevotte (San Francisco Golden Gate), Scott LaValla (Unattached), Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie), Shawn Pittman (London Welsh), Louis Stanfill (Mogliano), Phil Thiel (Life University), John van der Giessen (Utah Warriors)
Paul Emerick (Life University), Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore), Troy Hall (New York Athletic Club), Colin Hawley (Olympic Club), Nese Malifa (Glendale), Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors), Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club), Mile Pulu (San Francisco Golden Gate), Junior Sifa (Nottingham RFC), Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins), Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby), Kevin Swiryn (Agen), Zack Test (Unattached), Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC)
Available But Rested: Samu Manoa (San Francisco Golden Gate), Taku Ngwenya (Biarritz), Chris Wyles (Saracens
Available But Not Released: Hayden Smith (Saracens)
Unavailable Through Injury: Taylor Mokate (Univ. of Oklahoma), Jon Vitale (Chicago Lions)
Considered But Unavailable: Cameron Dolan (Life University)
USA EAGLES STAFF
Eddie O’Sullivan (Head Coach), Dave Hodges (Forwards Coach & Technical Analyst), Matt Sherman (Backs Coach), Mike Tolkin (Defensive Coach), Dan Payne (Skills Coach), Fiore Screnci (Scrum Coach), Chris O’Brien (Kicking Coach), David Williams (Strength & Conditioning), Tristan Lewis (Team Manager), Alex Garibay (Physio), Dennis Greenhill (Physio), Sarah Sall (Masseuse), Pat McNair (Doctor, June 1 to 9) David Schneider (Doctor, June 9 to 18)
CHURCHILL CUP SCHEDULE | ENGLAND
June 4, 2011: USA vs. England Saxons (Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton)
June 8, 2011: USA vs. Tonga (Moseley Road, Surrey)
June 18, 2011: Elimination Match (Sixways, Worcester)
Visit www.churchillcuprugby.net for more details on the tournament.
Universal Sports will be broadcasting the USA pool matches as well as the Bowl and Cup finals. These will be LIVE online and delayed on Television, with the schedule available at www.universalsports.com or by clicking here.