Men’s Eagles announced for Canada, Georgia, Ireland tests this summer

UPDATE | June 3

Matai Leuta has been called into the Men's Eagles' assembly due to a hamstring injury to Luke Hume, while uncapped Paddy Ryan of Newcastle Falcons replaces an injured Titi Lamositele.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Thirty capped USA Men's Eagles will assemble for the Emirates Airline Summer Series and Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifiers this June and July, including 23 players from the squad that won the second annual Americas Rugby Championship earlier this year.

In Head Coach John Mitchell's fifth assembly, the squad of 18 forwards and 12 backs will take on third-ranked Ireland and No. 12 Georgia before seeking an Americas 1 qualification to the 2019 World Cup in Japan against Canada. All 30 players, including co-captains Nate Augspurger and Todd Clever, will be available for selection for each match of the summer.

"We've all worked hard - staff and players - to be able to present consistency in our squad mix with healthy competition in all positions which will enable us to step up our level in this summer of test matches because each will become a greater challenge than the one before it," Mitchell said. "We are definitely going to get a high-tempo game against Ireland, which is fantastic. It'll allow the guys to get a really good feel for the tempo and intensity that comes with playing a top-three rugby nation. Being a top-three-ranked nation in the world does not arrive by accident. Then Georgia, who have huge forward strengths and will come at us in different areas of the game, which will prepare us well for our Canadian test matches."

The Eagles scored 29 tries in an unbeaten ARC campaign in which nine players made their international debuts. Eleven ARC winners have been playing domestic club rugby in the international offseason, while three overseas professionals and three Men's Eagles Sevens veterans are joining camp for the first time in 2017.

Glendale Raptors and Old Blue of New York combine for 10 representatives in the squad, including Ben Landry, who has not been capped since the 2016 ARC. Aviva Premiership front-rowers Titi Lamositele and Joe Taufete'e also bolster a forward pack featuring Andrew Durutalo, with November Tour 2016 selections Marcel Brache, Madison Hughes, and Martin Iosefo adding to a versatile back line.

"It's all about maintaining a connection with the players while we're out of camp, observing games and some training footage and keeping in touch with the players on how they feel and where they think they are at," Mitchell said. "The selection process is not a quick one, and the communication around it has been huge. It's just now a matter of us getting back into our working week and making sure we hit our metrics, play our style of football. Our mentality and approach will be no different than when we were last together except there will be an expectation to get better."

The ARC's leading points-scorer, Ben Cima, is among five Eagles capped in half-back positions. AJ MacGinty and Will Magie offer competition in the No. 10 shirt while also being available to Mitchell as No. 12s. Augspurger and Shaun Davies are available at scrum half, a position Mike Te'o has also performed during the head coach's tenure.

Brache will be concentrating on playing 12 and covers 13. There is a dynamic set of wings - Luke Hume, Iosefo, Mike Teo, and Ryan Matyas - which will also complement young center Bryce Campbell to round out the backs.

Clever and Cam Dolan, both coming off of injuries and the co-captain's in his U.S.-record 73rd international appearance, are two of six loose forwards - Andrew Durutalo, Tony Lamborn, John Quill, and David Tameilau - returning from the ARC. Landry joins mobile locks Nate Brakeley, Nick Civetta, and Matt Jensen, while recent college graduates Peter Malcolm and Dino Waldren have performed well in their international careers at the scrum and in general play, bringing an extra mobility the team has been after.

Chris Baumann, James Hilterbrand, Tony Purpura, and Ben Tarr round out the eight front-rowers, who have 68 caps between them.

"If you would have asked Marty Veale and myself a year and half ago that we would have five props just like the lock depth aligned to what we do and what we expect, the answer would have probably been no," Mitchell said. "The speed of our locks has improved dramatically and is what we expect from them at this level, and having six loose forwards with two who can go to lock is also pretty vital for us in terms of how we can select our team mix.

"Put it this way: it's probably been the most challenging squad mix to select. It's not nice to have to leave very good players out but at the same time it also warms your heart to realize there's healthy competition starting to be generated in this group for now and the future of USA Rugby Eagles 15s. With our intermittent model of player availability throughout recent assemblies, it's nice now to be able to have choices but at the same time bring a stable and consistent program for the players that have been selected."

Olive Kilifi, Al McFarland, Samu Manoa, Thretton Palamo, and Blaine Scully are just a few Eagles unavailable for selection to this summer's four rankings tests. Beginning with a June 10 Tier One international against Ireland at Red Bull Arena and a June 17 matchup with Georgia in Kennesaw, Ga., the Eagles will face Canada in a two-match aggregate series for World Cup qualification. Hamilton, Ontario, is hosting the first leg June 24, while University of San Diego's Torero Stadium will be the site of the deciding match July 1.

"To be Americas 1, to have the challenge of playing against England, France, and Argentina in Pool C, is very important to us, it is something we value, and we know it has to be earned," Mitchell said. "It hasn't been done before. We would be very proud to represent the United States of America as the Americas' top seed and be authentically competitive against these nations."

USA Men's Eagles | Emirates Airline Summer Series / Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifiers

Nate AugspurgerOld Blue of New York
Chris BaumannAustin Blacks
Marcel BracheWestern Force
Nate BrakeleyNew York Athletic Club
Bryce CampbellGlendale Raptors
Ben CimaRocky Gorge Rugby Football Club
Nick CivettaNewcastle Falcons
Todd CleverAustin Huns
Shaun DaviesGlendale Raptors
Cameron DolanCardiff Blues
Andrew DurutaloEaling Trailfinders
James HilterbrandManly Rugby
Madison HughesMen's Eagles Sevens USA
Luke HumeOld Blue of New York
Martin IosefoMen's Eagles Sevens USA
Matthew JensenBrigham Young University
Tony LambornHawke's Bay Magpies
Titi LamositeleSaracens
Ben LandryGlendale Raptors
Matai LeutaMen's Eagles Sevens USA
AJ MacGintySale Sharks
Will MagieGlendale Raptors
Peter MalcolmAustin Huns
Ryan MatyasOld Blue of New York
Anthony PurpuraOld Blue of New York
John QuillGlendale Raptors
Paddy Ryan*Newcastle Falcons
David TameilauRC Narbonne
Ben TarrGlendale Raptors
Joe Taufete'eWorcester Warriors
Mike Te'oBelmont Shore
Dino WaldrenBlackrock College RFC
*Indicates player not capped at senior level

USA Men's Eagles | Coaching Staff

John Mitchell - Head Coach (Attack and Backs)

Marty Veale - Forwards Coach

Jon Hood - Strength and Conditioning Coach

Kevin Ng - Certified Athletic Trainer

Paul Goulding - Performance Analyst

Dave Hodges - General Manager

USA Men's Eagles | Summer 2017 Schedule

v. Ireland (Emirates Airline Summer Series) - Saturday, June 10 @ 5 p.m. ET - Red Bull Arena

v. Georgia (Emirates Airline Summer Series) - Saturday, June 17 @ TBD - Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University

v. Canada (Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifier) - Saturday, June 24 @ 3 p.m. ET - Tim Hortons Field

v. Canada (Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifier) - Saturday, July 1 @ TBD - Torero Stadium