LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Men’s Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell and the High Performance staff, led by USA Rugby Director of Performance Alex Magleby, have announced the second Eagles Elite Training Squad (EETS) and Eagles Development Training Group (EDTG) of the year.
Created prior to the Summer Series, where Mitchell’s Eagles nearly upset Tier One Italy before shutting out Russia in northern California, the EETS and EDTG began as a way to better track athletes competing around the world in the build-up to national team assemblies, increasing the accountability around strength and conditioning and skill set needs.
Of the 50 athletes named in the second EETS of 2016, 43 were part of the first EETS, and 29 were originally called into camp for the Summer Series. The Training Squad also includes eight Olympians representing Team USA in the Rugby Sevens competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games next week. Fifteen players in the inaugural PRO Rugby competition, another 10 playing professionally in overseas competitions, and 16 athletes in residency at the Olympic Training Center will be vying for spots in Mitchell’s Fall Tour squad.
“We are excited and happy to announce our latest Eagles Elite Training Squad and Eagles Development Training Group for individual preparation ahead of our third assembly window of the year,” Mitchell said. “We are getting to a stage where we can benefit from continuity in having the majority of our squad continue on from assembly to assembly, adding some new players that are now becoming available, which strengthens our talent pool.
“All players will receive their individual strength and conditioning programs from Chris Brown and his team, aligned to their rugby development plans with the view for them to take ownership in improving their capacity to meet our standards.”
PRO’s Denver Stampede and Ohio Aviators battled for the league championship over the weekend, with eight members of the EETS split evenly among the leaders. Nineteen-year-old Hanco Germishuys, one of five PRO representatives in the EDTG, is also with the Championship-winning Stampede, which lost Ben Landry early in the season to an NFL tryout in Seattle.
Four of the seven newcomers to the EETS have improved their standing in the national team setup playing in PRO. Shaun Davies, initially capped by the national team in 2013, has worked his way into the EETS with a positive campaign in Ohio. Sacramento Express’ Langilangi Haupeakui benefitted from the professional competition in June, earning a call-up to Eagles camp and the bench for the team’s match against Russia to receive his first cap. The loose forward built on his international duty with a Man of the Match performance for the Express two weeks afterwards and has been named in the EETS.
“We are still limited in depth in a couple of key positions, but for the most part competition for spots continues to increase,” Magleby said. “There are a bunch of players just under the EETS that, fairly soon, should be putting pressure on this current group.
“A big part of that is PRO Rugby’s efforts transitioning domestic amateurs into full-time professionals. That is not an easy evolution for many but we are starting to see the improvements in skills under pressure, conditioning, and match maturity thanks to PRO’s sustained work over the last few months.”
Nate Augspurger and Stephen Tomasin came from the Sevens setup to make their international debuts during the Summer Series once the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series had ended, joining a list of Sevens stalwarts including Danny Barrett, Andrew Durutalo, and Zack Test that have been capped in the two forms of rugby union. Augspurger, as well as Martin Iosefo and Shalom Suniula, were named as traveling reserves for Team USA at Rio 2016.
Durutalo and Will Holder were also part of the Summer Series assembly, with Holder making his first international appearances since 2012. After starting three of the Eagles’ four matches at Rugby World Cup 2015, Durutalo turned his attention from Sevens to 15s with Super Rugby’s Sunwolves before returning to the Olympic Training Center last month to earn an Olympic place with Team USA.
“We’re lucky to have Brown and Mike Friday, and the facilities of the Olympic Training Center, for our Sevens athletes to train full-time,” Mitchell said. “We have seen the dynamic impact the Sevens players have made on our training environment and in test matches, and are ready to integrate them into our setup for important matches against the Maori All Blacks, Romania, and Tonga.
“On behalf of the 15s group, we wish Mike, Madison Hughes, and the rest of the team the best of luck in Rio.”
More information around the Eagles’ November schedule will be released in due course. Tickets for the match against the Maori All Blacks, part of “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG” in Chicago, are available via Ticketmaster from $22, with less than 25 percent of tickets remaining.
Eagles Elite Training Squad | July 2016 – Jan. 2017
|Nate Augspurger||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Half back|
|Danny Barrett||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Loose forward|
|Chris Baumann||Denver Stampede (PRO)||Prop|
|Garrett Bender||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Loose forward|
|James Bird||Old Blue of New York||Half back|
|Nate Brakeley||Winged Foot – New York Athletic Club||Second row|
|Nick Civetta||Newcastle Falcons (England)||Second row|
|Todd Clever||Unattached||Loose forward|
|Shaun Davies||Ohio Aviators (PRO)||Half back|
|Cameron Dolan||Cardiff Blues (Wales)||Loose forward|
|Andrew Durutalo||Sunwolves (Super Rugby)||Loose forward|
|JP Eloff*||Ohio Aviators (PRO)||Center|
|Lemoto Filikitonga*||Metropolis Rugby Football Club||Center|
|Eric Fry||Sacramento Express (PRO)||Prop|
|Ahmad Harajly||Ohio Aviators (PRO)||Center|
|Langilangi Haupeakui||Sacramento Express (PRO)||Loose forward|
|Harry Higgins||Old Blue of New York||Loose forward|
|James Hilterbrand||Manly Rugby Union Football Club / Waratahs (Super Rugby)||Hooker|
|Will Holder||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Full back|
|Madison Hughes||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Half back|
|Luke Hume*||Old Blue of New York||Wing|
|Martin Iosefo||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Center|
|Olive Kilifi||Sacramento Express (PRO)||Prop|
|James King||Moorabbin Rams RFC (Australia)||Second row|
|Tony Lamborn||Hurricanes (Super Rugby)||Loose forward|
|Titi Lamositele||Saracens Football Club (England)||Prop|
|Ben Landry||Denver Stampede (PRO)||Second row|
|Matai Leuta||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Wing|
|Chad London||Denver Stampede (PRO)||Center|
|AJ MacGinty||Sale Sharks (England)||Half back|
|Angus MacLellan||Ohio Aviators (PRO)||Prop|
|Samu Manoa||RC Toulonnais (France)||Second row|
|Al McFarland||Winged Foot – New York Athletic Club||Loose forward|
|Taku Ngwenya||San Diego Breakers (PRO)||Wing|
|Folau Niua||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Center|
|Thretton Palamo||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Center|
|Greg Peterson||Glasgow Warriors (Scotland)||Second row|
|Ben Pinkelman||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Loose forward|
|Chris Saint||Sacramento Express (PRO)||Half back|
|Blaine Scully||Cardiff Blues (Wales)||Wing|
|Shalom Suniula||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Half back|
|Kevin Swiryn*||Seattle Saracens||Wing|
|Ben Tarr||Denver Stampede (PRO)||Prop|
|Joe Taufete’e||San Diego Breakers (PRO)||Hooker|
|Mike Te’o||San Diego Breakers (PRO)||Full back|
|Zack Test||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Full back|
|Brett Thompson||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Wing|
|Peter Tiberio||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Center|
|Stephen Tomasin||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Half back|
|Maka Unufe||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Wing|
Eagles Development Training Group | July 2016 – Jan. 2017
|Malon Al-Jiboori||Lindenwood University (D1A)||Loose forward|
|Dylan Audsley||Saint Mary’s College (D1A)||Center|
|Tanner Barnes||Central Washington University||Center|
|Demecus Beach||Ohio Aviators (PRO)||Prop|
|Pat Blair||Men’s Eagles Sevens||Hooker|
|Tom Bliss||San Diego Breakers (PRO)||Half back|
|Nick Boyer||University of California, Berkeley||Half back|
|Ben Cima||Rocky Gorge Rugby Club||Half back|
|Hanco Germishuys||Denver Stampede (PRO)||Hooker|
|Alec Gletzer||Olympic Club||Loose forward|
|Seth Halliman||Central Washington University||Full back|
|Conor Kearns||Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)||Full back|
|Tua Laei||Rugby Utah||Wing|
|Peter Malcolm||Wheeling Jesuit University (D1A)||Hooker|
|Alex Maughan||Life University (D1A)||Prop|
|Cody Melphy||Life University (D1A)||Wing|
|Deion Mikesell||Lindenwood University (D1A)||Wing|
|Christian Ostberg||Aurrilac (France)||Second row|
|Aladdin Schirmer||Central Washington Universty||Loose forward|
|Lorenzo Thomas||Lindenwood University (D1A)||Center|
|Sione Tuihalamaka||San Diego Breakers (PRO)||Loose forward|
|Dino Waldren||Saint Mary’s College (D1A)||Prop|
|Calvin Whiting||Brigham Young University||Center|