Eagle Valenese Malifa in action (Credit: USA Rugby)
BOULDER, Colo. - Eagles Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan has officially announced his first domestic training squad of the year, in what will be a very busy 2011 for the Men’s National Team in their buildup to the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). O’Sullivan has also added a few members to his coaching staff to best prepare the Eagles for a full list of pre-RWC fixtures.
The 35 players will assemble at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista, Calif., from Wednesday May 4 to Sunday May 8.
“This is the first and only assembly for the domestic Eagles in 2011. It is an immediate opportunity for everybody invited to push for a place at the Churchill Cup in June,” O’Sullivan said, acknowledging that many overseas players are tied-up in their professional duties for their respective clubs.
O’Sullivan also noted that some players are also unavailable for personal reasons and others are unavailable due to injury and involvement in domestic collegiate rugby.
The squad assembling at the OTC consists of 17 forwards and 18 backs. Thirteen members of the squad have represented the Eagles in the IRB Sevens World Series and 14 of the 35 players have caps for the Eagles fifteens side.
“The pool is a mix of players that we are familiar with and some new faces who have played themselves into contention in recent months. The May camp is very important as we get ever closer to RWC and possibly the final opportunity for some of the pool to stake a claim for a seat on the flight to New Zealand,” added O’Sullivan.
USA EAGLES DOMESTIC PLAYER CAMP | MAY 4 – 8 | CHULA VISTA, CALIF.
Chris Baumann (Glendale), Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate), Will Brazier (Old Blue RFC), Ryan Chapman (Utah Warriors), Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan), Pat Danahy (Life), James Denise (New York Athletic Club), Tala Esera (Tama Laie Lions Rugby Club), Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks), Tom Katzfey (New York Athletic Club), Alec Parker (Gentleman of Aspen), Brendan Purcell (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club), Ben Nelson (Kansas City Blues), Phil Thiel (Life), John van der Giessen (Utah Warriors), Jon Vitale (Chicago Lions), Jesse Witkowicki (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club)
Matthew Byrd (Utah Warriors), Paul Emerick (Life), Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore), Colin Hawley (Olympic Club), Jordan Kohn (Unattached), Kelly Kolberg (Dallas Reds), Nese Malifa (Glendale), Folau Niua (San Francisco Golden Gate), Tui Osborne (Life), Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors), Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club), Mile Pulu (San Francisco Golden Gate), Volney Rouse (San Francisco Golden Gate), Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins), Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby), Shalom Suniula (USA Men’s Sevens/Brisbane), Zack Test (Unattached), Pate Tuilevuka (Old Puget Sound)
Unavailable due to injury: Troy Hall (New York Athletic Club), Taylor Mokate (Univ. of Oklahoma)
Selected but unavailable: Brian Daniels (Glendale), Matt Kelly (Chicago Lions), Samu Manoa (San Francisco Golden Gate)
Considered but unavailable: Cameron Dolan (Life University), Don Pati (Univ. of Utah), Danny Barrett (University of California - Berkeley), Seamus Kelly (University of California - Berkeley), Blaine Scully (University of California - Berkeley), Duncan Kelm (San Diego State Univ.), Ryan Roundy (Brigham Young University), Shaun Davies (Brigham Young University)
USA EAGLES STAFF 2011
Eddie O’Sullivan (Head Coach), Dave Hodges (Forwards Coach & Technical Analyst), Matt Sherman (Backs Coach), Mike Tolkin (Defensive Coach), Dan Payne (Skills Coach), Fiore Screnci (Scrum Coach), Chris O’Brien (Kicking Coach), David Williams (Strength & Conditioning), Tristan Lewis (Team Manager), Kevin Battle (Assistant Manager), Dallen Stanford (Eagles RWC Team Media Manager)
NEW TO THE EAGLES COACHING STAFF
Joining the USA Eagles coaching staff in 2011 and in the buildup to the 2011 Rugby World Cup are Fiore Screnci (Scrum Coach), Chris O’Brien (Kicking Coach), Kevin Battle (Assistant Manager) and Dallen Stanford (Eagles RWC Team Media Manager).
Fiore Screnci was born in Wilmington, Del., and turned his attention from football to rugby after moving to Italy, where he earned thirteen caps for the national side. Screnci then moved back to the United States and helped breathe success into the rugby programs at Greenwich High School and the White Plains RFC. He also coached the Northeast Rugby Union (NRU) Men and NRU Collegiate select sides for four years, and is currently the scrum coach at New York Athletic Club (NYAC), working alongside USA defensive coach Mike Tolkin who also head coaches at NYAC and Xavier HS.
Chris O’Brien is a former Eagle, who played for the Old Blue RFC, taking part in the 1991 RWC as well as the 1993 Sevens RWC. He coached at Stanford for several years, and worked with the Eagle kickers during last year’s Churchill Cup.
Kevin Battle has served numerous appointments within USA Rugby as coach (USA Falcons and USA Hawks), Manager and Selector for the Men’s Collegiate All-Americans, and team Manager for the Men’s Eagle Sevens during the IRB Sevens World Series and the 2009 Sevens RWC.
Dallen Stanford played on the Sevens World Series for the Eagles from 2006 to 2009, served as media contact for the Eagles in Dubai for the 2009 Sevens RWC and has actively been involved in rugby media for the past decade as a writer, online editor and blogger. Stanford will be the point of contact for the Eagles for all media requests through the end of the 2011 RWC.
The Eagles will travel to London, England, in June to compete in the 2011 Churchill Cup. The tournament takes place from June 4 to the 18. The Eagles will go up against Pool A opponents the England Saxons on June 4 and Tonga on June 8. Competing in Pool B are Canada, Italy ‘A’ and Russia, with the Eagles facing any one of these teams in the elimination match on June 18.