KINGSTON, Ontario – Mike Tolkin has named his first 22-man match roster as head coach of the USA Rugby Men’s National Team. The USA will take on Canada Saturday June 9 at 2 p.m. EDT at Richardson Stadium in Kingston, Ontario. The match will be webcast live onhttp://www.coresportsnetwork.ca.
Eleven of the starters are from the Rugby World Cup squad and the other four starters will earn their first international caps against Canada. On the bench are three RWC vets and four players who may get their first cap.
The front rowers all have Rugby World Cup experience and all hail from Cal. The veteran loosehead prop, Mike MacDonald, will earn his 66thinternational cap and extend his record as the most capped Eagle of all time. His experience will be complemented by the power and mobility of his front row compatriots Eric Fry and Chris Biller. Fry has been playing club rugby in New Zealand and Biller just wrapped up his season with the Northampton Saints.
The second row consists of Lou Stanfill and Brian Doyle. The pair is coming off a Rugby Super League Championship with New York Athletic Club (NYAC). Stanfill typically plays in the loose forwards, but his size and strength make him a versatile forward and has international experience in the locks.
The loose forwards are headlined by team captain Todd Clever who slots in at eight man. Scott LaValla will get the start on the blindside of the scrum and the openside flanker is Andrew Durutalo. Durutalo played sevens for the USA this season, catching the eye of fifteens selectors with his size, physicality, and silky skill set. All of the loosies are tenacious and physical and will look to cause mayhem at the breakdown for Canada.
A veteran and a rookie make up the halfbacks. Mike Petri, who has two Rugby World Cups under his belt, will start at scrumhalf. Petri’s flyhalf is Army’s Will Holder, a promising and cool-headed young pivot. With a long-term need at flyhalf, the youngster has a chance to impress and put his hand up as the 10 of the future.
Paul Emerick and Andrew Suniula are the centers, have plenty of existing chemistry, and are punishing runners.
The back three are led by Chris Wyles who will work with James Paterson and New York Old Blue’s Luke Hume. The back three all have pace and an instinctual draw to space and mismatches.
The bench holds Roland Suniula and Colin Hawley, both can fill any number of spots in the backline. Shaun Davies, the All-American scrumhalf from BYU is dressing in the red, white, and blue for the first time.
Derek Asbun, a Cal alum who plays for Oxford in England, is available at hooker if needed and Shawn Pittman can fill in at prop. Tom Katzfey, a tall and mobile lock will provide cover in the second row. Taylor Mokate is the last reserve in the forwards and is a big physical loose forward with international sevens experience.
The match will mark the first test with Tolkin at the helm and the first step in the journey to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Solidifying a team identity and culture will be one of the first tasks for the new coach and his squad.
Following the Canada match, the USA will take on the Republic of Georgia on June 9 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. and Italy on June 23 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
USA Men’s National Team Roster | USA v. Canada | June 6, 2012
15 Chris Wyles (Saracens)
14 James Paterson (Glendale Raptors)
13 Paul Emerick (London Wasps)
12 Andrew Suniula (Cornish Pirates)
11 Luke Hume (Old Blue)
10 Will Holder (Army)
9 Mike Petri (NYAC)
1 Mike MacDonald (At Large)
2 Chris Biller (Northampton Saints)
3 Eric Fry (Wellington Old Boys RFC, New Zealand)
4 Louis Stanfill (NYAC)
5 Brian Doyle (NYAC)
6 Scott Lavalla (Stade Francais)
7 Andrew Durutalo (USA Rugby Sevens/Old Puget Sound Beach)
8 Todd Clever* (NTT Shining Arc)
16 Derek Asbun (Oxford University – England)
17 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)
18 Tom Katzfey (Life University)
19 Taylor Mokate (Wellington Old Boys RFC – New Zealand)
20 Shaun Davies (BYU)
21 Roland Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
22 Colin Hawley (USA Rugby Sevens)