Eagles cut squad ahead of RWC
July 22, 2011
The Eagles will be looking to Biarritz flyer Ngwenya for inspiration come September © Getty Images
US Eagles coach Eddie O'Sullivan has whittled his squad down to 36 hopefuls ahead of revealing his final 30-man squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The Eagles - who play three warm-up matches prior to the showpiece tournament - are currently training in Colorado in a bid to be in peak condition come September. O'Sullivan has revealed that the final 30-man squad will be taken from the current 36 - though injuries may force the former Ireland coach to change his hand.
"The player pool is now reduced to 36 players and the final RWC squad of 30, that will travel to New Zealand, will likely come from this pool," commented O'Sullivan. "Although with three test matches in August, there is always the possibility of injuries, which may open up a late call up for some players who could come from inside or outside this pool of 36."
The USA face Canada twice in August - who have already named their 30-man World Cup squad - before travelling to Japan to complete their World Cup preparations. The three matches will give O'Sullivan food for thought prior to announcing his final squad.
"The three warm-up tests will be very important in terms of making the final selections for the RWC squad and getting players up to match speed before our first pool game on September 11 against Ireland," O'Sullivan said. "It is also important we give players an opportunity to stake a claim for RWC spots while at the same time continue to build solid performances over the three weeks in camp."
While the familiar names of Biarritz wing Taku Ngwenya and Saracens back Chris Wyles have been included, there is no place for Northampton Saints' new lock Samu Manoa. O'Sullivan recently learnt that a clause in the 26-year-old's contract prevented him from being selected for the World Cup.
"Samu Manoa will not be travelling to the World Cup," O'Sullivan said. "While I wish Samu every success as a professional rugby player and respect his decision to take up a contract overseas, it is disappointing we were only made aware of his unavailability for RWC as recently as three weeks ago."
USA Eagles 36-man squad:
Backs:Paul Emerick (Life University), Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore), Troy Hall (New York Athletic Club), Colin Hawley (Olympic Club), Nese Malifa (Glendale), Taku Ngwenya (Biarritz), Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors), James Paterson (Otago Highlanders), Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club), Blaine Scully (University of California - Berkeley), Robbie Shaw (Bristol Rugby), Junior Sifa (Nottingham RFC), Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins), Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby), Kevin Swiryn (Agen), Zack Test (Unattached), Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC), Chris Wyles (Saracens)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside