Brotherly love on team USA

“It’s the little things, like getting beat one-on-one by someone, or if one of us get beat, the first voice I hear in my head is these two clowns.”

For Andrew, Roland and Shalom Suniula, playing rugby together for team USA forces them to reminisce about their childhood.

"When we were on the field it was just like we were when we were in the backyard," Andrew said, who is the oldest of the three siblings at 33. "Communication comes a lot easier for us in this league. It helps us get on the same page in the beginning of the week, so when we do get to get out there, it just comes naturally. It makes things a lot easier on the field."

The trio of brothers grew up with the ball in their hands and played rugby in their backyard in Auckland New Zealand as adolescents.

"It was a little difficult on my end," 27-year-old Shalom said. "I caught more of the short end of things growing up being the youngest one. None the less I regret nothing about it. I loved the way we grew up. In terms of rugby, I learned a lot from all of my brothers and those things connect even now."

Andrew played center in 37 matches for team USA between 2008 and 2015 with 33 starts, four substitutes, seven tries and 35 points. Roland played fly-half and center for team USA between 2009 and 2013 notching 10 starts, seven substitutions, five points and one try in 17 career games.

Shalom is new to the Men's Eagles, but spent time with the Men's Sevens team as a scrum-half and fly-half. He played in 13 games tallying one try and five points in the 2014-15 season. "I haven't scored too many [tries] to be honest considering the length of time I've been playing," Andrew said about his career-scoring lead on team USA. "Some of it is just being at the right place right time, others I've had to work hard for."

The three brothers rarely played on the field at the same time, but when one was playing on the field, the other would watch from the sideline. They shared information during and after games, ,but were also quick to engage in friendly jeering when one would have a mishap.

"It's the little things, like getting beat one-on-one by someone, or if one of us get beat, the first voice I hear in my head is these two clowns," Andrew said. "If it's something like if we are behind by half a second, or if we get stepped or burnt or anything like that it's material. You try to avoid that, and get that out of your game because when you come off they'll be the first one to let you know about that."

The three brothers keep in contact through family gatherings, but play on separate rugby union clubs. Andrew plays for Old Blue USA RFC in Inwood New York. Shalom plays for the Seattle Saracens in Washington. Roland played for the Chicago Griffins RFC, but signed with the FC Auch Gers of the French Pro Division II league on July 24, 2012.

"I think he just wanted a change in lifestyle and he's actually enjoying it," Shalom said. "He's enjoying the lifestyle of France and he's got some accolades as well. In a way I told him to stay over there, so I could go to a World Cup."

USA Rugby is ranked 16th out of 102 teams in the 2015 edition of the Rugby World Cup. The high grade is the squads highest since 2007 when they ranked 14th.

"I do like our chances moving out of the group stages, but it's going to take time because sometimes we've beaten ourselves," Andrew said after an exhibition game against the Harlequins F.C. "We just have to believe in our system and if we do that then we have the chance to be successful."

Andrew represented team USA with Roland in the 2011 world cup and Shalom hopes to join them this year.

"My other two brothers got the call up for the last world cup, so hopefully I can make it to this one," Shalom said.

Team USA has one more tune-up against Australia, but the final roster for the world cup should be set in the coming days.