CHICAGO – The 31-man USA team for Rugby World Cup 2015 England has been announced.
Captain Chris Wyles (Allentown, Pa.) will lead 20 World Cup debutants in Pool B matches against Japan, Samoa, Scotland, and South Africa at Kingsholm, Brighton Community Stadium, Elland Road, and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, respectively. While more than two million tickets have been sold to the world’s largest celebration of rugby, tickets are still available through the Rugby World Cup website.
The team selected for the trip across the Atlantic Ocean is the same as the squad chosen for the three pre-World Cup matches, which included a third-consecutive defeat of Canada. Additionally, 13 players have professional contracts overseas.
“In terms of Rugby World Cup experience, yes, this is a relatively inexperienced group,” Tolkin said. “However, while the Rugby World Cup is a whole different kettle of fish, many of these players do have a fair bit of international play under their belts since 2011.”
Wyles led the U.S. in scoring at the 2011 event in New Zealand with 18 points, including all of the team’s points in a 27-10 loss to Italy. Along with their captain, Mike Petri (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Mate Moeakiola (Tongatapu, Tonga), Taku Ngwenya (Harare, Zimbabwe), and Louis Stanfill (Sacramento, Calif.) will appear in their third World Cups.
Among those making their debuts is Toulon’s Samu Manoa (Concord, Calif.), who earned his first international cap in November 2010. His then-new contract with Northampton Saints of the Aviva Premiership caused him to miss Rugby World Cup 2011.
Though Manoa has only appeared for the U.S. once so far in 2015, many of the players will have played 10 matches against international competition by Rugby World Cup kickoff. Chris Baumann, Zach Fenoglio (San Diego, Calif.), Seamus Kelly (Queens, N.Y.), Olive Kilifi (Seattle, Wash.), Niku Kruger, Al McFarland, AJ MacGinty (Dublin, Ireland), John Quill (Cork, Ireland), Stanfill, Shalom Suniula (Auckland, New Zealand), and Phil Thiel (Traverse City, Mich.) gained continuity during a three-match tour of South America as the USA Rugby Selects, and 29 members of the squad that defeated Japan and Canada in the 2015 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup will travel to England.
“It’s good that we’re operating from a base where those domestic guys went to Argentina and Uruguay and did well, got game time, then were joined by some of the professionals who added a bit more depth and professionalism to the squad,” Tolkin said. “Samu is just another layer there.
“The guys feel confident playing without him, but he brings a great deal of impact to the side. He’s a natural leader; he’s a great ballplayer. Samu’s been waiting to play in the World Cup for four years, so I know he’s really thrilled at the prospect.”
The Eagles have hosted three of their Pool B opponents – Japan, Scotland, and Samoa – in the United States in 2014 and 2015. The team will get a second chance at a victory against Samoa Sept. 20 in the nations’ opening Rugby World Cup 2015 matches.
Men’s Eagles | Rugby World Cup 2015
Danny Barrett – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Chris Baumann – Santa Monica RC
Cameron Dolan – Cardiff Blues (Wales)
Andrew Durutalo – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Zach Fenoglio – Glendale Raptors RFC
Eric Fry – Newcastle Falcons (England)
Seamus Kelly – San Francisco Golden Gate RFC
Olive Kilifi – Seattle Saracens RC
Niku Kruger – Glendale Raptors RFC
Titi Lamositele – Saracens FC (England)
Scott LaValla – Stade Francais CASG (France)
AJ MacGinty – Life Rugby
Samu Manoa – RC Toulonnais (France)
Al McFarland – NYAC
Matekitonga Moeakiola – Castenet (France)
Takudzwa Ngwenya – Biarritz Olympique (France)
Folau Niua – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Thretton Palamo – London Welsh RFC (England)
Greg Peterson – Glasgow Warriors (Scotland)
Mike Petri – NYAC
John Quill – NYAC
Blaine Scully (Vice Captain) – Cardiff Blues (Wales)
Hayden Smith – Saracens FC (England)
Louis Stanfill – Seattle Saracens RC
Andrew Suniula – CSM Bucuresti (Romania)
Shalom Suniula – Seattle Saracens RC
Joseph Taufete’e – Belmont Shore RFC
Zack Test – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Phil Thiel – Life Rugby
Brett Thompson – Men’s Eagles Sevens
Chris Wyles (Captain) – Saracens FC (England)
Men’s Eagles | Rugby World Cup 2015 Staff
Mike Tolkin – Head Coach
Justin Fitzpatrick – Assistant Coach (Forwards)
Nate Osborne – Assistant Coach (Backs/Attack)
Phil Bailey – Assistant Coach (Defence)
David Williams – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Chris O’Brien – Assistant Coach (Video Analyst)
Paul Goulding – Video Analyst
Richard Quincy – Physiotherapist
Zach Vyhnanek – Physiotherapist
Sarah Sall – Massage Therapist
Matt Schmitz – Doctor (Samoa/Scotland)
Sam Akhavan – Doctor (South Africa/Japan)
Brad Norris – Doctor (South Africa)
Steve Durant – Sports Psychologist
Matt McCarthy – Media Manager
Kevin Battle – Assistant Team Manager
Tristan Lewis – Team Manager
Men’s Eagles | Rugby World Cup 2015
v. Samoa – Sunday, Sept. 20 – 7 a.m. ET
v. Scotland – Sunday, Sept. 27 – 9:30 a.m. ET
v. South Africa – Wednesday, Oct. 7 – noon ET
v. Japan – Sunday, Oct. 11 – 3 p.m. ET