The season has well-and-truly started overseas for USA players and those who have suited up for the USA in age-grade.
Some top pros saw action this past weekend, while others got a rest. In league play, Taku Ngwenya started for Biarritz as they took on Scott LaValla’s Stade Francais.
This was, perhaps, a signal of how the teams saw their fortunes, as LaValla was rested, having played a busy summer for the USA, and Paris still won 38-3. Ngwenya was called on to start for the now 1-2 Biarritz team, while Stade is atop the French Top 14 with a 2-1 record.
Also in league play, NTT Communications played Suntory, Todd Clever’s old club. Suntory won 32-6, and Clever was not used. In the Aviva Premiership, Leicester beat Ulster in a warmup, but Blaine Scully did not play.
Getting on the field was Chris Wyles as he started at fullback for Saracens in a preseason warmup against Bedford. Wyles scored a try and Saracens won easily, 71-12. It wasn’t so easy for Samu Manoa and Northampton. Manoa started at lock for the saints in a preseason game against Leinster, which Northampton won 21-13.
See Manoa offer his comments here.
Meanwhile in Italy the buildup is still going on. Nick Civetta at Lazio 1927 told RUGBYMag.com that the two weeks of preseason have been a lot of hard work. The All American lock is looking to use his time with the newly-promoted Eccellenza team in Rome to push for a USA spot.
In the lower divisions …
Capped Eagles Roland Suniula, Inaki Basauri and Seta Tuilevuka did not play in their Pro D2 league games in France.
Robbie Shaw was a sub for Esher in their 81-12 loss to London Scottish, while Eric Fry was on the bench for the winners. Both players got some game time in.
Former USA U20 flyhalf Will Magie helped Ealing beat Henley 42-0 and then saw his team beat Old Albanians 43-21.
“We’ve got one more tomorrow so it will be good to see the lads get out there and get that fifth win,” Magie said before that game. “We want to keep building to that first game. Everyone is pushing for those starting places in the squad of 23 so there is a good feeling in the camp right now.”
Universities are taking a bit longer to get going, of course. University of Cape Town lost to Stellenbosch 28-27, but Derek Asbun didn’t play.
Tom Bliss was a sub for Loughborough in a preseason loss to Nottingham. At Trinity in Ireland, Cameron Falcon, Pierce Dargan, and Conor McGill are all eagerly awaiting the beginning of the season.