Game day has arrived! USA take on Ireland tonight at 7:30 CT at BBVA Compass Stadium. Show the Eagles your support and leave a comment!
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HOUSTON, Texas – USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin has released the 23-man roster for Saturday’s international test match against Ireland at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Todd Clever will captain an experienced Eagles side against the ninth-ranked Irish at 7:30 P.M. CT June 8, which includes the likes of international professionals Samu Manoa, Takudzwa Ngwenya, and Chris Wyles. Chris Biller and Mike Petri have also recovered from recent injuries and will return to the starting 15 following the Eagles’ Pacific Nations Cup loss to Canada May 25. “I think they bring a lot of veteran leadership,” Tolkin said of the returning players. “That’s important. When we were away we had a lot of veterans out. This squad introduces veterans and pros back into the system and they’re great athletes that bring fresh, new energy. They exude confidence and it resonates within the squad.” Manoa and Ngwenya were recently selected for the Barbarian Football Club for its tour with matches against England and the British and Irish Lions this summer and met up with the Eagles in Houston earlier this week. “It’s an honor to play with the guys with the Barbos,” Ngwenya said. “But I’m back home, I get to play in Texas, I get to play with the boys again. This is where it all started. I’m just happy to be back with the family.”
The Eagles fell to Ireland in the Pool Stage of the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and will have 10 players on the roster who were there on September 11, 2011.
Seamus Kelly will start at center and Adam Siddall will start the match on the bench, with each player earning his first Eagles cap against Canada. “In the World Cup you face almost all Tier One nations, so when you face a Tier One nation outside that framework it brings a lot of excitement,” Tolkin said. “It still brings all of the possibilities and challenges of the World Cup. That’s the atmosphere in the group and the psyche of the guys in the squad going into this. “We have some good players on the bench who normally would’ve started. We feel like we’re getting some good depth. Going into this game we’re going to give a good fight–the guys know what they can do and what they’re capable of.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 P.M. CT on Universal Sports. DirecTV customers can watch with the provider’s free preview on channel 625. Follow live updates on Twitter @USARugby and tweet your thoughts with the #USAvIRE hashtag.
Men’s Eagles | vs. Ireland
1. Shawn Pittman 2. Chris Biller 3. Eric Fry 4. Brian Doyle 5. Louis Stanfill 6. Samu Manoa 7. Scott LaValla 8. Todd Clever (C) 9. Mike Petri 10. Toby L’Estrange 11. Takudzwa Ngwenya 12. Andrew Suniula 13. Seamus Kelly 14. Luke Hume 15. Chris Wyles 16. Zach Fenoglio 17. Nick Wallace 18. Phil Thiel 19. Peter Dahl 20. John Quill 21. Robbie Shaw 22. James Paterson 23. Adam Siddall