Rugby America

Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective

Eagles Name Lineup To Face Japan

Tokyo, Japan – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has made eight changes to his team that started against Canada in Glendale last weekend. The USA will face Japan at 7.00 p.m on Sunday, August 21, at the Prince Chichbu Memorial Rugby Ground with the match available LIVE online at at 6 a.m. EST, and delayed on TV at 5:30 p.m. EST.

“Again we have made a number of changes to selection, as this is our final hit out before Rugby World Cup (RWC) and also our last opportunity to take a look at players before we make the final squad announcement,” said O’Sullivan.

The Eagles coaching staff will announce the RWC squad of 30 players following the clash with Japan, with one final chance to book their tickets to the third largest sporting event in the world.

Captain Todd Clever – who plays his club rugby in Tokyo at Suntory Sungoliath – is unavailable due to injury. Scrumhalf Mike Petri leads the United States this weekend: “I am obviously disappointed for Todd, but I hope to continue the good work he has done, and set an example. I am really looking forward to this opportunity“.

In the forwards veteran Mike MacDonald starts at loosehead prop and will equal the most appearances for an Eagle (62) set by his former teammate, Luke Gross. MacDonald made his debut against Fiji in 2000, and has played in all eight USA matches during the 2003 and 2007 RWC’s.

Phillip Thiel returns to the hooker position alongside Eric Fry, who starts at tighthead prop. Scott LaValla will partner Hayden Smith in the locks, with the loose trio consisting of Patrick Danahy, Louis Stanfill and JJ Gagiano.

In the backline, try scorer from last week, Blaine Scully is at fullback yet gain. Kevin Swiryn returns to the wing, together with the experienced James Paterson. The Otago winger has played in both the ITM Cup and Super Rugby competitions, having represented the USA at the U19 World Championships.

Tai Enosa will join veteran Paul Emerick in the centers. Emerick will move to inside center, with Enosa seeking to create space for his outside backs in the number 13 jersey. Nese Malifa is at flyhalf, and will be looking to control the match with his halfback, Petri.

The reserves will be Chris Biller (hooker), Shawn Pittman (prop) with lock and loose forward cover through Nic Johnson and the uncapped Ryan Chapman. The backline subs consist of Tim Usasz (scrumhalf), together with brothers Roland (utility) and Andrew Suniula (center).  

“It will be a tough test game, but exactly what we need before departing for New Zealand.”  expressed O’Sullivan.


  • 15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)
  • 14 Kevin Swiryn (Agen)
  • 13 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
  • 12 Paul Emerick (Life University)
  • 11 James Paterson (Otago)
  • 10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
  • 9 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club) *Captain
  • 1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie)
  • 2 Phillip Thiel (Life University)
  • 3 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
  • 4 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais)
  • 5 Hayden Smith (Saracens)
  • 6 Patrick Danahy (Life University)
  • 7 Louis Stanfill (Unattached)
  • 8 Jonathan ‘JJ’ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town)


  • 16 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
  • 17 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)
  • 18 Nic Johnson (Unattached)
  • 19 Ryan Chapman (Utah Warriors)
  • 20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC)
  • 21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
  • 22 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)

Unavailable through injury: Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath)

Did not travel, but unavailable through injury: Troy Hall (NYAC), Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club), Chris Wyles (Saracens)


Eddie O’Sullivan (Head Coach), Dave Hodges (Forwards Coach & Technical Analyst), Matt Sherman (Backs Coach), Mike Tolkin (Defensive Coach), Chris O’Brien (Kicking Coach), David Williams (Strength & Conditioning), Jarrad Griffiths (Assistant Technical Analyst), Tristan Lewis (Team Manager), Kevin Battle (Assistant Manager), Alex Garibay (Physio), Michael Keating (Physio), Sarah Sall (Masseuse), Thomas Mick (Doctor), Dallen Stanford (Media Manager)


  • 15 Taihei UEDA (HONDA Heat)
  • 14 Takehisa USUZUKI (TOSHIBA Brave Lupus)
  • 12 Ryan NICHOLAS (SUNTORY Sungoliath)
  • 11 Hirotoki ONOZAWA (SUNTORY Sungoliath)
  • 10 Murray WILLIAMS (TOYOTA Industries Shuttles)
  • 9 Tomoki YOSHIDA (TOSHIBA Brave Lupus)
  • 1 Naoki KAWAMATA (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  • 2 Yusuke AOKI (SUNTORY Sungoliath)
  • 3 Nozomu FUJITA (HONDA Heat)
  • 4 Hitoshi ONO (TOSHIBA Brave Lupus)
  • 5 Luke THOMPSON (KINTETSU Liners)
  • 6 Sione VATUVEI (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  • 7 Tadasuke NISHIHARA (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  • 8 Takashi KIKUTANI (TOYOTA Verblitz)


  • 16 Shota HORIE (Panasonic Wild Knights)
  • 17 Kensuke HATAKEYAMA (SUNTORY Sungoliath)
  • 18 Toshizumi KITAGAWA (TOYOTA Verblitz)
  • 19 Itaru TANIGUCHI (KOBE STEEL Kobelco Steelers)
  • 20 Atsushi HIWASA (SUNTORY Sungoliath)
  • 21 Koji TAIRA (SUNTORY Sungoliath)
  • 22 Shaun WEBB (COCA-COLA West Red Sparks)

5 comments on “Eagles Name Lineup To Face Japan

  1. Benito
    August 19, 2011

    Has Seta Tulievuka played at all with the Eagles? I thought I read he was available. I don’t remember seeing his name in any of the lineups.

    Do you think we’ll see a deep three of Scully, Patterson and Ngwenya?

  2. Clay
    August 19, 2011

    We need a new 10 like a junkie needs his crack pipe. We should start the search now for 2015 and pick like 5 or 6 guys and groom them for the next 4 years. I seriously cannot believe Malifa is our best option

  3. Brice
    August 19, 2011

    If for whatever reason Japan doesnt show up for their own match on Sunday then Maybe the Eagles could take on their staff. Do we seriously need 14 people traveling with the team? And we wonder what our dues goes towards.

    Just a thought, but does the strength and conditioning coach need to be there with two “Physios” AND the Assitant Manager.

  4. LouC
    August 22, 2011

    Do we really need a Media Manager that doesn’t speak Japanese? From what I can tell all he did was post pics on Facebook. Of course all of them had a nice holiday in Japan. Pathetic.

  5. not_friday
    August 23, 2011

    I played with an awesome #10 from Kenya in a D2 club in Florida. Now is an American citizen and 10 times better than want we have. Goal kicking was spot on, tactical kicking event better. Decision making, spot on.

    WTF? USARugby has to do a better shop of scouting talent!

    Money well spent? USARugby is a joke!

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This entry was posted on August 19, 2011 by in International Rugby, Rugby News.

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