Eagles selected for Rugby World Cup preview match against Scotland

HOUSTON, Texas – The starting roster for the Men’s Eagles’ IRB Rugby World Cup preview match against Scotland at BBVA Compass Stadium Saturday, June 7, has been announced.

Shalom Suniula will get his first start in an Eagles jersey at flyhalf behind Mike Petri in Houston. Suniula earned his first two caps earlier this year in the World Cup Qualifier series against Uruguay and scored a try in the second-leg victory.

“We’re looking for Shalom to do what we want out of our 10s: run the show, be an organizer, be a leader,” Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin said. “He has athleticism, a nice step, he can shoot holes and take advantage of that. And he has a little bit of flair to his game, which we like. He’s a real skillful player.”

After returning to the Eagles for the first leg of the Qualifier in Montevideo, Hayden Smith missed out on the second leg in favor of Louis Stanfill. Smith re-signed with Saracens in the Aviva Premiership this year following a stint in the National Football League and has earned a starting spot at lock alongside Stanfill.

“Hayden’s looking tighter, he’s gotten rid of the extra bulk,” Tolkin said. “He’s made progress from March and has a road to go, but he’s put himself in a position to play.”

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Smith’s Saracens teammate Chris Wyles will start at fullback between fellow Premiership star Blaine Scully and Luke Hume on the wings. Todd Clever will partner Scott LaValla at the flanker position and captain the Eagles in his 57th cap, while Cam Dolan will start at number eight for a sixth consecutive match.

Seamus Kelly, who finished his collegiate rugby career at the University of California, Berkeley this year, will wear the no. 13 jersey alongside Andrew Suniula in the centers.

Despite missing Samu Manoa, the Eagles possess depth on the bench with Tom Coolican, Titi Lamositele, Tim Maupin, Folau Niua, Tai Tuisamoa, and Nick Wallace all capped.

“I look back on the last couple years, especially two years ago during my first summer tour,” Tolkin said. “We were very thin. If we had injuries we were in a lot of trouble. The drop-off was way down and we didn’t sub very much. Now we know whoever goes in is going to perform, so we have no qualms about our bench.”

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Scotland also toured the States in 2002 ahead of the 2003 World Cup in Australia, where the Eagles last faced the Scots. The schedule is reflected this year, as the two nations will play each other this weekend and meet again at the World Cup in England in 2015.

BBVA Compass Stadium will host a Tier 1 nation for the third time in as many years Saturday. Italy and Ireland each set new attendance records in 2012 and 2013, respectively, with U.S. tour stops in Houston.

The World Cup preview match kicks off from BBVA Compass Stadium at 7:00 P.M. CT Saturday and will be broadcast live on Universal Sports. Follow @USARugby on Twitter for live match updates and join the social media conversation with the #USAvSCO hashtag.


Men's Eagles | v Scotland

1. Olive Kilifi

2. Phil Thiel

3. Eric Fry

4. Louis Stanfill

". . . we know whoever goes in is going to perform."

6. Todd Clever

7. Scott LaValla

8. Cameron Dolan

9. Mike Petri

10. Shalom Suniula

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. Danny Barrett

21. Folau Niua

22. Chad London

23. Tim Maupin


Scotland | v USA Eagles

1. Gordon Reid

2. Scott Lawson

3. Geoff Cross

4. Richie Gray

5. Jim Hamilton

6. Alasdair Strokosch

7. Blair Cowan

8. Johnnie Beattie

9. Greig Laidlaw

10. Finn Russell

11. Tim Visser

12. Duncan Taylor

13. Sean Lamont

14. Sean Maitland

15. Stuart Hogg

Scotland | Reserves

16. Pat MacArthur

17. Alex Allan

18. Moray Low

19. Grant Gilchrist

20. Kieran Low

21. Grayson Hart

22. Ruaridh Jackson

23. Max Evans