Eagles Elite Training Squad, Development Training Group updated for fall

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Sacramento Express Head Coach with John Mitchell
Sacramento Express Head Coach with John Mitchell

For Immediate Release, Submitted by USA Rugby… August 2, 2016

LAFAYETTE, CO. – Men’s Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell and the High Performance staff, led by USA Rugby Director of Performance Alex Magleby, have announced the second Eagles Elite Training Squad (EETS) and Eagles Development Training Group (EDTG) of the year.

Created prior to the Summer Series, where Mitchell’s Eagles nearly upset Tier One Italy before shutting out Russia in northern California, the EETS and EDTG began as a way to better track athletes competing around the world in the build-up to national team assemblies, increasing the accountability around strength and conditioning and skill set needs.

Of the 50 athletes named in the second EETS of 2016, 43 were part of the first EETS, and 29 were originally called into camp for the Summer Series. The Training Squad also includes eight Olympians representing Team USA in the Rugby Sevens competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games next week. Fifteen players in the inaugural PRO Rugby competition, another 10 playing professionally in overseas competitions, and 16 athletes in residency at the Olympic Training Center will be vying for spots in Mitchell’s Fall Tour squad.

“We are excited and happy to announce our latest Eagles Elite Training Squad and Eagles Development Training Group for individual preparation ahead of our third assembly window of the year,” Mitchell said. “We are getting to a stage where we can benefit from continuity in having the majority of our squad continue on from assembly to assembly, adding some new players that are now becoming available, which strengthens our talent pool.

“All players will receive their individual strength and conditioning programs from Chris Brown and his team, aligned to their rugby development plans with the view for them to take ownership in improving their capacity to meet our standards.”

PRO’s Denver Stampede and Ohio Aviators battled for the league championship over the weekend, with eight members of the EETS split evenly among the leaders. Nineteen-year-old Hanco Germishuys, one of five PRO representatives in the EDTG, is also with the Championship-winning Stampede, which lost Ben Landry early in the season to an NFL tryout in Seattle.

Langilangi Haupeakiui
Langilangi Haupeakiui

Four of the seven newcomers to the EETS have improved their standing in the national team setup playing in PRO. Shaun Davies, initially capped by the national team in 2013, has worked his way into the EETS with a positive campaign in Ohio. Sacramento ExpressLangilangi Haupeakui benefitted from the professional competition in June, earning a call-up to Eagles camp and the bench for the team’s match against Russia to receive his first cap. The loose forward built on his international duty with a Man of the Match performance for the Express two weeks afterwards and has been named in the EETS.

“We are still limited in depth in a couple of key positions, but for the most part competition for spots continues to increase,” Magleby said. “There are a bunch of players just under the EETS that, fairly soon, should be putting pressure on this current group.

“A big part of that is PRO Rugby’s efforts transitioning domestic amateurs into full-time professionals. That is not an easy evolution for many but we are starting to see the improvements in skills under pressure, conditioning, and match maturity thanks to PRO’s sustained work over the last few months.”

Nate Augspurger and Stephen Tomasin came from the Sevens setup to make their international debuts during the Summer Series once the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series had ended, joining a list of Sevens stalwarts including Danny Barrett, Andrew Durutalo, and Zack Test that have been capped in the two forms of rugby union. Augspurger, as well as Martin Iosefo and Shalom Suniula, were named as traveling reserves for Team USA at Rio 2016.

Durutalo and Will Holder were also part of the Summer Series assembly, with Holder making his first international appearances since 2012. After starting three of the Eagles’ four matches at Rugby World Cup 2015, Durutalo turned his attention from Sevens to 15s with Super Rugby’s Sunwolves before returning to the Olympic Training Center last month to earn an Olympic place with Team USA.


“We’re lucky to have Brown and Mike Friday, and the facilities of the Olympic Training Center, for our Sevens athletes to train full-time,” Mitchell said. “We have seen the dynamic impact the Sevens players have made on our training environment and in test matches, and are ready to integrate them into our setup for important matches against the Maori All Blacks, Romania, and Tonga.

“On behalf of the 15s group, we wish Mike, Madison Hughes, and the rest of the team the best of luck in Rio.”

More information around the Eagles’ November schedule will be released in due course. Tickets for the match against the Maori All Blacks, part of “The Rugby Weekend Presented by AIG” in Chicago, are available via Ticketmaster from $22, with less than 25 percent of tickets remaining.

Eagles Elite Training Squad | July 2016 – Jan. 2017

Player Club/School Position
Nate Augspurger Men’s Eagles Sevens Half back
Danny Barrett Men’s Eagles Sevens Loose forward
Chris Baumann Denver Stampede (PRO) Prop
Garrett Bender Men’s Eagles Sevens Loose forward
James Bird Old Blue of New York Half back
Nate Brakeley Winged Foot – New York Athletic Club Second row
Nick Civetta Newcastle Falcons (England) Second row
Todd Clever Unattached Loose forward
Shaun Davies Ohio Aviators (PRO) Half back
Cameron Dolan Cardiff Blues (Wales) Loose forward
Andrew Durutalo Sunwolves (Super Rugby) Loose forward
JP Eloff* Ohio Aviators (PRO) Center
Lemoto Filikitonga* Metropolis Rugby Football Club Center
Eric Fry Sacramento Express (PRO) Prop
Ahmad Harajly Ohio Aviators (PRO) Center
Langilangi Haupeakui Sacramento Express (PRO) Loose forward
Harry Higgins Old Blue of New York Loose forward
James Hilterbrand Manly Rugby Union Football Club / Waratahs (Super Rugby) Hooker
Will Holder Men’s Eagles Sevens Full back
Madison Hughes Men’s Eagles Sevens Half back
Luke Hume* Old Blue of New York Wing
Martin Iosefo Men’s Eagles Sevens Center
Olive Kilifi Sacramento Express (PRO) Prop
James King Moorabbin Rams RFC (Australia) Second row
Tony Lamborn Hurricanes (Super Rugby) Loose forward
Titi Lamositele Saracens Football Club (England) Prop
Ben Landry Denver Stampede (PRO) Second row
Matai Leuta Men’s Eagles Sevens Wing
Chad London Denver Stampede (PRO) Center
AJ MacGinty Sale Sharks (England) Half back
Angus MacLellan Ohio Aviators (PRO) Prop
Samu Manoa RC Toulonnais (France) Second row
Al McFarland Winged Foot – New York Athletic Club Loose forward
Taku Ngwenya San Diego Breakers (PRO) Wing
Folau Niua Men’s Eagles Sevens Center
Thretton Palamo Men’s Eagles Sevens Center
Greg Peterson Glasgow Warriors (Scotland) Second row
Ben Pinkelman Men’s Eagles Sevens Loose forward
Chris Saint Sacramento Express (PRO) Half back
Blaine Scully Cardiff Blues (Wales) Wing
Shalom Suniula Men’s Eagles Sevens Half back
Kevin Swiryn* Seattle Saracens Wing
Ben Tarr Denver Stampede (PRO) Prop
Joe Taufete’e San Diego Breakers (PRO) Hooker
Mike Te’o San Diego Breakers (PRO) Full back
Zack Test Men’s Eagles Sevens Full back
Brett Thompson Men’s Eagles Sevens Wing
Peter Tiberio Men’s Eagles Sevens Center
Stephen Tomasin Men’s Eagles Sevens Half back
Maka Unufe Men’s Eagles Sevens Wing

Eagles Development Training Group | July 2016 – Jan. 2017

Player Club/School Position
Malon Al-Jiboori Lindenwood University (D1A) Loose forward
Dylan Audsley Saint Mary’s College (D1A) Center
Tanner Barnes Central Washington University Center
Demecus Beach Ohio Aviators (PRO) Prop
Pat Blair Men’s Eagles Sevens Hooker
Tom Bliss San Diego Breakers (PRO) Half back
Nick Boyer University of California, Berkeley Half back
Ben Cima Rocky Gorge Rugby Club Half back
Hanco Germishuys Denver Stampede (PRO) Hooker
Alec Gletzer Olympic Club Loose forward
Seth Halliman Central Washington University Full back
Conor Kearns Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) Full back
Tua Laei Rugby Utah Wing
Peter Malcolm Wheeling Jesuit University (D1A) Hooker
Alex Maughan Life University (D1A) Prop
Cody Melphy Life University (D1A) Wing
Deion Mikesell Lindenwood University (D1A) Wing
Christian Ostberg Aurrilac (France) Second row
Aladdin Schirmer Central Washington Universty Loose forward
Lorenzo Thomas Lindenwood University (D1A) Center
Sione Tuihalamaka San Diego Breakers (PRO) Loose forward
Dino Waldren Saint Mary’s College (D1A) Prop
Calvin Whiting Brigham Young University Center



Further Information:
Nick Sero | Manager, Communications and Digital Media | USA Rugby | nsero@usarugby.org

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