Roster named for RWC 2015 Qualifier in Atlanta

MARIETTA, Ga. – Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin has selected the starting XV for Saturday’s IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualifier second leg against Uruguay at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University.

Hayden Smith, who pulled on the Eagles jersey last Saturday in Montevideo for the first time since IRB Rugby World Cup 2011, misses out in favor of Louis Stanfill at lock. Samu Manoa, scorer of the Eagles’ second try in the first-leg, 27-27 draw, retains his spot at lock alongside the Seattle-OPSB man.

“[Hayden] is coming back after two years of not playing rugby,” Tolkin said. “It’s a tough decision with him; he played fine [in the first leg]. We have three powerful, big-impact players and we’re trying to maximize the potential of all three.”

Tai Tuisamoa takes Smith’s place in the Eagles squad wearing No. 19.

The only other changes from last weekend’s starting XV are Seamus Kelly starting at outside center partnering Andrew Suniula and Luke Hume replacing Tim Maupin on Blaine Scully’s opposite wing. Kelly replaces Folau Niua, who will wear the No. 22 jersey on the bench, while Maupin will wear No. 23.

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“[Luke] added some electricity and had a bit better game at wing [last weekend],” Tolkin said. “For Seamus, he’s a hard runner and had good forward ball. He was best-suited to play Uruguay.”

The Eagles must win Saturday’s match in front of a near-sold out crowd in order to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup. With a loss, the Eagles will enter the Repechage tournament, which would mean at least two more legs before seeding in RWC 2015’s Pool A (Australia, England, Wales, and the Oceania 1 qualifier).

A full week in Atlanta has created more cohesiveness within the team, following a less-than-stellar first-half performance in Uruguay.

“We’ve gotten much more familiar as a group with the playing style,” Tolkin said. “We’ve had a lot more repetitions and the guys have spent more time on the field together. It’s been good to be at home.”

A win Saturday means the Eagles will qualify as Americas 2 in Pool B with South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, and the Asia 1 qualifier.

Watch the second leg of the IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualifier on Universal Sports from 3:00 P.M. ET from Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University or purchase tickets here to watch the most important match of the year in person. Follow live match updates with @USARugby on Twitter.

Men's Eagles | v Uruguay
1. Olive Kilifi
2. Phil Thiel
3. Eric Fry
4. Louis Stanfill
5. Samu Manoa
6. Todd Clever (C)
7. Scott LaValla
8. Cam Dolan
9. Mike Petri
10. Toby L'Estrange
11. Luke Hume
12. Andrew Suniula
13. Seamus Kelly
14. Blaine Scully
15. Chris Wyles

Men's Eagles | Reserves
16. Tom Coolican
17. Nick Wallace
18. Titi Lamositele
19. Tai Tuisamoa
20. Kyle Sumsion
21. Shalom Suniula
22. Tim Maupin
23. Folau Niua

1. Aleja Corral
2. Arturo Avalo (C)
3. Oscar Duran
4. Santiago Vilaseca
5. Mathias Palomeque
6. Juan Manuel Gaminara
7. Diego Magno
8. Alejandro Nieto
9. Agustin Ormaechea
10. Felipe Berchesi
11. Jeronimo Etcheverry
12. Andres Vilaseca
13. Joaquin Prada
14. Leandro Leivas
15. Gaston Mieres

Uruguay | Reserves
16. Cristofer Soares de Lima
17. Rodolfo de Mula
18. Mario Sagario Cagnani
19. Carlos Pombo
20. Franco Lammana
21. Juan de Freitas Turcatti
22. Alejo Duran
23. Francisco Bulanti