Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 14 October 2011 13:28    PDF Print Write e-mail
Back on the Field for Many USA Pros
International - Americans Overseas

Several USA players get back in action, or make debuts this weekend as overseas pros.

Mike MacDonald is ready to go with Leeds.
Scott LaValla all smiles at Stade Francais training.

Pro Leagues:
Aviva Premiership
. The top league in England featuring 12 clubs. USA players: Chris Wyles and Hayden Smith (Saracens), Samu Manoa (Northampton).

RFU Championship. Second-tier professional league in England. USA players: Shawn Pittman (London Welsh), Tim Usasz (Nottingham), Mike MacDonald and Robbie Shaw (Leeds).

Top 14. The top league in France. USA players: Kevin Swiryn (Agen), Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz), Seta Tuilevuka (Montpellier), Scott LaValla (Stade Francais).

Pro D2. Second division of French pro setup. USA players: Inaki Basauri (Perigoux).

RaboDirect Pro 12. Formerly the Magners League, or Celtic League. It's a league of teams from Ireland, Wales and Scotland (and one from Italy). No USA players at present.

Italy Super League. Top pro league in Italy. No USA players at present.

Japan Top League. Just as it sounds, the pro league in Japan. USA players: Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath)

LV=Cup. A knockout cup featuring teams from England and Wales in parallel to other competitions.

Heineken Cup. The European Championship featuring teams from all over Europe parallel to other leagues.

Amlin Challenge Cup. A second-tier pan-European competition featuring teams from all over Europe parallel to other leagues.

Scott LaValla will make his first start as a professional, running on at lock for Stade Francais (Top 14) against Lyon. Inaki Basauri is on the bench for Perigoux (Pro D2) against Albi in what will be his first match for the club.

Meanwhile several players returning to their old clubs will make their first starts or appearances of the season. Mike MacDonald helped Leeds (RFU Championships) to a victory over London Scottish last week, and now starts for the team at loosehead prop. Robbie Shaw, who seems to have now established himself as the starting scrumhalf at Leeds, runs on at #9.

Shawn Pittman makes his first start for London Welsh (RFU Championship) as they take on Rotherham. Pittman will run on at loosehead prop.

Hayden Smith is on the bench for his first appearance for Saracens (Aviva Premiership) this season. Chris Wyles is not in the 22, and on the other side in this LV= Cup fixture, Samu Manoa gets his first rest for Northampton, denying fans a USA v. USA clash at lock.

Another USA v. USA matchup is not to be, as Nottingham takes on the Cornish Pirates in a Championship match. Neither Nottingham scrumhalf Tim Usasz nor Pirates center Andrew Suniula are playing. Also absent from their 22s are Kevin Swyrin at Agen (Top 14) and Seta Tuilevuka at Montpellier (Top 14).

Who is starting, and much to the relief of Biarritz (Top 14) is star wing Taku Ngwenya.