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USA Men’s Eagles Name Preliminary Training Squad for Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 Including 8 Legion Players

With just 100 days to go until Rugby World Cup Japan 2019, the USA Men’s Eagles have named their preliminary 50-man training squad which includes 40 players who will assemble next week in preparation for the Pacific Nations Cup.

The preliminary training squad comprises a pool of players who will be considered for the final 31-man roster traveling to Japan in mid-September. Over the next several months, Head Coach Gary Gold and staff will use the upcoming camp in Colorado and Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) to make final selections.

Of the 50 players chosen, three are uncapped including Houston SaberCats’ Jamason Fa’anana Shultz, Seattle Seawolves’ Riekert Hattingh and Rugby United New York’s Ross Deacon.

Long-time Eagles Mike Petri, Lou Stanfill, Thretton Palamo and Ben Cima all have a chance to appear in the final World Cup squad having not played with the Men’s National Team in some time. Mikey Sosene-Feagai also joins the preliminary squad after earning four caps with the Eagles in 2016.

Similarly, three players from the USA Men’s Sevens who recently qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are named, including Eagles Sevens Captain Madison Hughes, Martin Iosefo and Ben Pinkelman.

General Manager of the Men’s National Team 15s Dave Hodges said: “We’re really looking forward to working with this group of men over the next several months as our staff make final preparations for Rugby World Cup. As Japan 2019 is set to be one of the most exciting and successful rugby events to do date, we as a program are heavily focused on improving upon our past World Cup performances, as a representation of the growth of rugby in the United States.

“While the weeks and months to follow will be filled with tireless work, I’m confident that our coaches and staff will prepare these men not only for the Rugby World Cup, but four crucial matchups ahead of that in the Pacific Nations Cup and our final test match with Canada in Vancouver.”

The U.S. Men’s National Team 15s will assemble next week in Colorado as the final stretch to Rugby World Cup begins. Beginning with the Pacific Nations Cup, the USA will face rival-Canada at Infinity Park in Glendale on July 27, followed by Samoa and Japan in Fiji on August 3 and 10, respectively.

One final test match between the U.S. and Canada will take place at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver on September 7. The Eagles will then head to Japan to face England, France, Argentina and Tonga in Pool C at Rugby World Cup 2019.

For tickets to see the Men’s Eagles face Canada in Glendale and Vancouver, visit usarugby.org/tickets.
For tickets to what promises to be the most popular Rugby World Cup to date and a full schedule, visit rugbyworldcup.com.

USA MEN’S EAGLES PRELIMINARY TRAINING SQUAD
RUGBY WORLD CUP JAPAN 2019

PLAYER NAMEPOSITIONCLUBCAPSNOTES
David AinuuPropToulouse (FRA)5
Malon Al JibooriFlankerGlendale Raptors2
Nate AugspurgerScrumhalf / WingSan Diego Legion21
Marcel BracheWingWestern Force (AUS)16
Nate BrakeleyLockRugby United New York18
Bryce CampbellCenterLondon Irish (ENG)25
Ben CimaFlyhalfSeattle Seawolves10Won’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Nick CivettaLockDoncaster Knights (ENG)22
Shaun DaviesScrumhalfGlendale Raptors22
Ross DeaconNo. 8Rugby United New YorkWon’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Ruben de HaasScrumhalfFree State Cheetahs11
Cam DolanNo. 8NOLA Gold44
Dylan FawsittHookerRugby United New York8
Mikey Sosene-FeagaiHookerAuckland (NZL)4
Eric FryPropVannes (FRA)44
Hanco GermishuysFlankerGlendale Raptors15
Riekert HattinghNo. 8Seattle SeawolvesWon’t assemble for PNC at this stage
James HilterbrandHookerManly Marlins (AUS)18
Will HooleyFullbackBedford Blues (ENG)8
Madison HughesFullbackUSA Sevens3
Martin IosefoCenterUSA Sevens3
Olive KilifiPropSeattle Seawolves26
Tony LambornFlankerMelbourne Rebels (AUS)18
Titi LamositelePropSaracens (ENG)27
Ben LandryLock/FlankerEaling Trailfinders (ENG)18
Paul LasikeCenterHarlequins (ENG)13
AJ MacGintyFlyhalfSale Sharks (ENG)21
Will MagieFlyhalfGlendale Raptors23
Siaosi MahoniLockSan Diego Legion2Won’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Samu ManoaLockSeattle Seawolves22
Ryan MatyasWingSan Diego Legion12Won’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Tim MaupinWingNOLA Gold9Won’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Gannon MooreWingUtah Warriors3
Paul MullenPropHouston SaberCats10
Thretton PalamoCenterHouston SaberCats17
Greg PetersonLockNewcastle Falcons (ENG)22
Mike PetriScrumhalfRugby United New York57Won’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Kapeli PifeletiHookerSan Diego Legion2
Ben PinkelmanFlankerUSA Sevens
John QuillFlankerRugby United New York33
Paddy RyanPropRugby United New York4
Blaine ScullyWingUnattached46
Jamason Fa’anana ShultzFlankerHouston SaberCats
Lou StanfillLockSan Diego Legion56Won’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Tevita TameilauLock / Back rowGlasgow Warriors (SCO)15Won’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Joe Taufete’eHookerWorcester Warriors (ENG)22
Mike Te’oWingSan Diego Legion23
Dino WaldrenPropSan Diego Legion19Won’t assemble for PNC at this stage
Chance WenglewskiPropRugby ATL3
Psalm WoochingFlankerSan Diego Legion4

USA MEN’S EAGLES STAFF

General Manager | Dave Hodges
Head Coach | Gary Gold
Assistant Coach, Attack | Greg McWilliams
Assistant Coach, Set Piece | Shawn Pittman
Assistant Coach, Defense | Jaque Fourie
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison
Assistant S&C and Analyst | Tom Kindley
Team Doctor | Mark Sakr
Team Doctor | Sam Akhavan
Head Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan
Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz
Team Manager | Chris Hanson
Assistant Team Manager | Mark Drown

USA MEN’S EAGLES 2019 SCHEDULE

*All times local

Pacific Nations Cup

vs Canada
Sat, July 27 | 6 PM MT
Infinity Park, Glendale, CO
Purchase Tickets

vs Samoa
Fri, Aug 2 | 10:30 PM ET
Anz Stadium, Suva, Fiji

vs Japan
Sat, Aug 10 | 12:35 AM ET
Anz Stadium, Suva, Fiji

Rugby World Cup Warm-up

vs Canada
September 7 | 7 PM PT
B.C. Place Stadium, Vancouver, B.C.
Purchase Tickets

Rugby World Cup Japan

Broadcast on NBC Networks

vs England
September 26 | 6:45 AM ET
Kobe Misaki Stadium

vs France
October 2 | 3:45 AM ET
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium

vs Argentina
October 9 | 12:45 AM ET
Kumagaya Rugby Stadium

vs Tonga
October 13 | 1:45 AM ET
Hanazono Rugby Stadium

Finally, the MLR also announced its major accolades for the 2019 season. The following recipients exemplified excellence in performance throughout the year and have been recognized by members of the MLR media:

  • PLAYER OF THE YEAR – BRAD TUCKER (Seattle Seawolves) 

Seattle Seawolves lock Brad Tucker logged seven tries and 1072.9 metres on 188 ball carries in 2019. His impact didn’t end there – defensively Tucker posted an incredible 96% tackle percentage.

  • FORWARD OF THE YEAR – PADDY RYAN (San Diego Legion)

Paddy Ryan was a key component of San Diego’s success this season. The tight-head prop had 711 metres on 123 carries on his way to two tries this season. Defensively, Ryan was extremely effective with a 94% tackle percentage.

  • BACK OF THE YEAR – JP DU PLESSIS (San Diego Legion)

When it came to consistent production, San Diego had to look no further than JP Du Plessis. This season, Du Plessis recorded seven tries while netting 1118 metres on 159 carries, earning him Back of the Year honours.

  • COACH OF THE YEAR – ROB HOADLEY (San Diego Legion)

The San Diego Legion were the story of the 2019 season, and it all started with coach Rob Hoadley, recipient of Coach of the Year honors. Hoadley was able to coach his squad to a 12-3-1 record throughout the regular season, leading them on a run that saw them narrowly edged out in the final seconds of the championship game.

We are incredibly proud of both JP and Paddy for achieving their well deserved acknowledgement as MLR back and forward of the year.

As an organization we are focused on building upon the platform from the previous campaign. Recruitment obviously plays a huge role in that. Paddy Ryan was our biggest acquisition in the off season and a clear statement of intent to change the perception of our pack. Paddy has contributed so much more than his on field performances  suggest. And with onfield stats that earned him forward on the year, that tells its own story. In terms of league wide stats, Paddy was 21st in tackles made (an incredible stat for a prop), 2nd in dominant tackles, 9th in offloads. He has been a leader from start to finish, leaving an indelible mark on our franchise. An outstanding communicator, Paddy had the rare ability to tap into the mentality and needs of the group from very early on. By driving standards in preparation, he ensured that we produced one of the most physical groups of forward throughout the MLR. Both his impact in the scrum, and in his abrasive ball carrying, Paddy drove a hard nosed approach in the pack that constantly fought to create front foot momentum for the team. Allied to recruitment is development of current players. Paddy also stepped up in this regard, as he worked closely with Scott Murray to contribute to fine seasons for his young front row colleagues. Paddy is a true competitor, which clearly made him a fan favoutire. He also continually looks for ways to contribute to those around him, which made him a true players player.

In terms of building from season one, JP du Plessis has been a stellar influence. JP had a very good season 1, but was beset by injury and unfortunately missed the semi final. JP was determined to take his opporutity to rewrite the script this season. He arrived for pre season in the shape of his life, making a clear statement of intent. In attack, his line running and explosive footwork made him a constant menace for defensive teams. Whilst this was highlight reel work that was clear for all to see, some of his defensive impact may have gone under the radar. After the regular season, JP was clearly one of the best defenders in the MLR as he registered 8th in tackles made, 5th in dominant tackles made, 3rd in breakdown steals. His consistency across the board ensured his name was high in almost every league category, as he was 16th in carries made, 16th in running meters, 6th in tackle breaks. JP was a calm and consistent presence for the whole season, and combined that with a unique ability to create a game-changing moment on both defense and attack.

The pathway to success at Legion is but on more than just ability, and these two men are testament to that. Their character shone through all of their preparation and performances. We were fortunate that their families were able to share in their success, as JP and Paddy shared the pride in our mission with their loved ones. We are grateful to the support of Both Paddy and JP’s families. We hope that these two men stand as a great example to all of our young Legion fans, who aspire to one day wear the red, black and white at Torero Field.

– “Coach of the Year,” Rob Hoadley

Number of selections by team:

  • Seattle – 6
  • San Diego – 6
  • New York – 5
  • Toronto – 5
  • NOLA – 4
  • Utah – 2
  • Glendale – 1
  • Austin – 1