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

"It’s been good to be at home."

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


Uruguay

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