BOULDER, Colo. – Mike Tolkin’s Eagles Select XV will prepare for a three-match tour to South America, the Pacific Nations Cup, and the upcoming Rugby World Cup in England and its buildup matches with a spring camp in Sunrise, Fla., Feb. 26 to March 1.
Thirty-three domestic-based athletes, including Todd Clever (unaffiliated) and Mike Petri of New York Athletic Club, as well as two international-based, capped Eagles in Ronnie McLean and John Quill, have been called to assemble at long-time Eagle training venue KICS Facility.
John Cullen, Tim Stanfill, Ben Tarr, and Matt Trouville will head to Florida having gained their first test caps last fall in matches against Fiji, New Zealand, Romania, and Tonga. The Eagles’ tour was highlighted by the sold-out crowd of 61,500 at Soldier Field in Chicago for the Eagles’ match against the All Blacks.
Tolkin and staff, including Assistant Coach Justin Fitzpatrick, held a forwards camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., earlier in February with 20 pool players, which gave the staff time to work with players in specific set piece scenarios. An Eagles Select XV squad will be chosen from this weekend’s camp to play three A-side matches against Uruguay and Argentina Jaguars in South America in April and May.
“After a long time apart, our Spring Camp always serves as an opportunity to get the Eagle pool players back on page with how we operate, and it also serves to introduce any new tactics that we’re looking to implement for the upcoming international season,” Tolkin said. “Moreover, it provides a venue for some talented new and younger players to be seen and evaluated for the first time at this level.”
Boys High School All-American and AIG Men’s Junior All-American Ben Cima, currently enrolled and playing rugby at University of Maryland, earns his second call to an Eagles camp, with his first coming prior to the Eagles Select XV’s Americas Rugby Championship campaign last October.
Eagles November squad member Angus MacLellan and Kutztown University’s Niku Kruger and Mike Lawrenson – the latter now attending Palmer College – also represent the college ranks in the Spring Camp roster. Alec Gletzer of University of California and Kyle Sumsion of Brigham Young University were unavailable for selection.
“It is an exciting time as our pool continues to grow in numbers and talent, and both of these factors present our staff with greater opportunity as well as greater challenges,” Tolkin said.
While Tolkin welcomes back Toby L’Estrange from an injury sustained in early 2014, the Eagles will be without Adam Siddall, who has retired from international rugby. The fly half started seven of his eight international tests with the Eagles, including his debut against Canada in Edmonton May 25, 2013. His 52 points from eight conversions and 12 penalty goals helped the Eagles to three wins, including a late victory against Georgia Nov. 16, 2013.
Life University graduate and current club standout AJ MacGinty will get his first taste of an Eagles assembly in Florida. The American Rugby Premiership’s leading scorer with 75 points is now eligible to represent the United States at the test level.
Danny Barrett, who missed out on the majority of the match against the All Blacks due to an injury sustained in the first few minutes, is one of five Men’s Eagles Sevens representatives at the Spring Camp. Folau Niua of 12 caps and Andrew Durutalo and Zack Test, called upon for the ARC, will travel to Sunrise with Barrett and Maka Unufe. The sevens team is coming off of its first Cup Semifinal of a World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series leg since 2010 at USA Sevens Valentine’s Day weekend.
“The Spring Camp takes on further significance as we look towards selecting players for the development tour to South America in April,” Tolkin said. “The camp is also the starting point for building the Rugby World Cup squad later this summer. There’s quite a lot of competition for spots among the domestic players alone, so the way players go about their business on and off the field, no matter their longevity with the Eagles, will be incredibly important in how they are evaluated by the staff.
“I’d like to personally thank the clubs and universities for the use of their players, some during the competitive season, and I would like to thank the Men’s Eagles Sevens program for their cooperation and participation in our camp.”
KICS Facility, adjacent to Sawgrass Grand Hotel, affords the players and staff the unique opportunity to walk directly from the hotel to the training field, maximizing the on-field time over the course of the weekend as well as minimizing ground transportation costs. Fort Lauderdale Rugby Club will also support the Eagles with equipment and operational needs during camp.
The Eagles Select XV’s matches in South America begin in Montevideo against Uruguay Thursday, April 23, before two against Argentina Jaguars Tuesday, April 28, and Saturday, May 2, in Buenos Aires and Mendoza, respectively.
Eagles Select XV | Spring Camp
|Danny Barrett||Men’s Eagles Sevens|
|Chris Baumann||Santa Monica Rugby Football Club|
|Ben Cima||University of Maryland|
|John Cullen||Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club|
|Andrew Durutalo||Men’s Eagles Sevens|
|Zach Fenoglio||Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club|
|Lemoto Filikitonga||Metropolis Rugby Football Club|
|Troy Hall||New York Athletic Club|
|Seamus Kelly||San Francisco Golden Gate|
|Olive Kilifi||Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club|
|Niku Kruger||Kutztown University|
|Ben Landry||Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club|
|Mike Lawrenson||Palmer College|
|Toby L’Estrange||New York Athletic Club|
|Chad London||Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club|
|Angus MacLellan||Davenport University|
|Al McFarland||New York Athletic Club|
|AJ MacGinty||Life Rugby|
|Ronnie McLean||Ealing Rugby Football Club|
|Folau Niua||Men’s Eagles Sevens|
|Brodie Orth||Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club|
|Mike Petri||New York Athletic Club|
|Ben Pinkelman||Denver Barbarians Rugby Football Club|
|John Quill||Dolphin Rugby Football Club|
|Jope Ravolaca||Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club|
|Mike Shepherd||Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club|
|Tim Stanfill||Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club|
|Shalom Suniula||Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club|
|Ben Tarr||Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club|
|Zack Test||Men’s Eagles Sevens|
|Phil Thiel||Life Rugby|
|Matt Trouville||Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club|
|Maka Unufe||Men’s Eagles Sevens|
|Nick Wallace||Glendale Raptors Rugby Football Club|
Unavailable for selection
Alec Gletzer – University of California
Kyle Sumsion – Brigham Young University
Louis Stanfill – Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club
Eagles Select XV Coach Staff | Spring Camp
Mike Tolkin – Head Coach
Justin Fitzpatrick – Assistant Coach, Forwards
Nate Osborne – Assistant Coach, Backs/Attack
Phil Bailey – Assistant Coach, Defense
Neil McMillan – Strength & Conditioning Coach
Chris O’Brien – Assistant Coach/Video Analyst
Richard Quincy – Physiotherapist
Zach Vyhnanek – Physiotherapist
Marc Kowalsky – Doctor
Sean Lindersmith – Assistant Manager
Tristan Lewis – Team Manager