Eagles named for expected sellout in Chicago

UPDATE | Nov. 3

Pat Blair will replace Life University’s Alex Maughan in the reserves for Friday’s match. The official match roster below has been updated to reflect any changes in jersey numbers.

CHICAGO – “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG” kicks off Friday, Nov. 4, with all-time U.S. caps leader Todd Clever captaining the Men’s Eagles against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks at Toyota Park.

Head Coach John Mitchell’s 30-man squad arrived in the Windy City Tuesday evening from its training base in southern California ahead of the first match of the November Tour. Professionals Nick Civetta and Titi Lamositele were made available by their Premiership Rugby clubs outside of the international test window, and earn spots in the starting XV. Friday’s match is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. CT, with the live broadcast available to viewers in the United States and Canada on The Rugby Channel.

[su_attention url=”https://www.usa.rugby/2016/11/mens-eagles-november-tour-roster-announced/” text=”See full November Tour roster”]

Clever, Lamositele, and starting inside center Folau Niua are the only three players in the match-day squad that faced the Maori All Blacks on their most recent visit to the U.S. – a November 2013 defeat of the home side in Philadelphia. Similar to the match at PPL Park, Friday’s encounter is expected to sell out, with few tickets remaining via Ticketmaster.

Chris Baumann, who has impressed in the second half of the calendar year with Wellington Lions in New Zealand, will partner Lamositele on the outside of the front row, while James Hilterbrand will start his third consecutive match at hooker for the Eagles following the Summer Series.

Nate Brakeley was a late call-up to Mitchell’s Americas Rugby Championship squad earlier this year, but has continued to earn praise in the second row. Civetta will wear No. 5 beside the New York Athletic Club man in his first action for the Eagles. The captain rounds out the pack with Tony Lamborn and Olympian Danny Barrett, who was a member of the Rugby World Cup 2015 USA squad.

Will Holder made his international debut in the summer of 2012 wearing the No. 10 jersey against Tier One Italy. He will work with scrum half Nate Augspurger against the Maori All Blacks Friday night, continuing the rapport the two have cultivated with the Men’s Eagles Sevens program. Fellow sevens stars Martin Iosefo and Matai Leuta will fly down the wings in their first XVs appearances with the Eagles, while Niua will rampage the midfield with Bryce Campbell in the Indiana University man’s first national team match. Mike Te’o will start at full back having proven his reliability at the position throughout the summer and with the development team last month.

Three World Cup veterans are included in the reserves in Al McFarland, Joe Taufete’e, and Shalom Suniula, with collegiate standouts Matt Jensen and Alex Maughan waiting in the wings to impress Mitchell in their first assembly with the Eagles. Rio 2016 Team USA captain Madison Hughes could also debut for the XVs national team, though no caps will be awarded Friday.

The Maori All Blacks’ squad announced Wednesday includes several capped All Blacks, including four players touring with the reigning World Cup champions released for the match at Toyota Park.

“Culturally the Maori All Blacks bond extremely well and have their own spirit and ethos as a result of their wonderful Maori culture,” Mitchell said. “They’ve also got the British & Irish Lions tour next year to look forward to, so a lot of these players will be looking to impress.

“The boys have a tough job ahead of them but they’ve trained smarter and we have challenged them in the decision-making space, and they are motivated for this match against arguably the best non-test team in the world.”

Gates at Toyota Park are set to open at 4 p.m. CT for the clash Friday, with the live broadcast available to subscribers of The Rugby Channel in the United States and Canada. Follow @USARugby on Twitter for live match updates and join the social media conversation using the social media “hashtag” #USAvMaoriABs.

Men’s Eagles | v. Maori All Blacks

1. Titi Lamositele

2. James Hilterbrand

3. Chris Baumann

4. Nate Brakeley

5. Nick Civetta

6. Todd Clever (C)

7. Tony Lamborn

8. Danny Barrett

9. Nate Augspurger

10. Will Holder

11. Matai Leuta

12. Folau Niua

13. Bryce Campbell

14. Martin Iosefo

15. Mike Te’o

Men’s Eagles | Reserves

16. Pat Blair

17. Joe Taufete’e

18. Angus MacLellan

19. Matthew Jensen

20. Al McFarland

21. Stephen Tomasin

22. Shalom Suniula

23. Madison Hughes

Maori All Blacks | v. USA

1. Kane Hames

2. Ash Dixon (C)

3. Ben May

4. Jacob Skeen

5. Tom Franklin

6. Elliot Dixon

7. Kara Pryor

8. Akira Ioane

9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow

10. Ihaia West

11. James Lowe

12. Tim Bateman

13. Matt Proctor

14. Rieko Ioane

15. Damian McKenzie

Maori All Blacks | Reserves

16. Joe Royal

17. Chris Eves

18. Marcel Renata

19. Leighton Price

20. Shane Christie

21. Brad Weber

22. Marty McKenzie

23. Sean Wainui

Men’s Eagles | November Tour

v. Maori All Blacks – Friday, Nov. 4 @ Toyota Park – Chicago

v. Romania – Saturday, Nov. 12 @ Stadionul Arcul de Triumf – Bucharest

v. Tonga – Saturday, Nov. 19 @ Estadio Anoeta – San Sebastián, Spain