With just 100 days to go until Rugby World Cup Japan 2019, the USA Men’s Eagles have named their preliminary 50-man training squad which includes 40 players who will assemble next week in preparation for the Pacific Nations Cup.
The preliminary training squad comprises a pool of players who will be considered for the final 31-man roster traveling to Japan in mid-September. Over the next several months, Head Coach Gary Gold and staff will use the upcoming camp in Colorado and Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) to make final selections.
Of the 50 players chosen, three are uncapped including Houston SaberCats’ Jamason Fa’anana Shultz, Seattle Seawolves’ Riekert Hattingh and Rugby United New York’s Ross Deacon.
Long-time Eagles Mike Petri, Lou Stanfill, Thretton Palamo and Ben Cima all have a chance to appear in the final World Cup squad having not played with the Men’s National Team in some time. Mikey Sosene-Feagai also joins the preliminary squad after earning four caps with the Eagles in 2016.
Similarly, three players from the USA Men’s Sevens who recently qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are named, including Eagles Sevens Captain Madison Hughes, Martin Iosefo and Ben Pinkelman.
General Manager of the Men’s National Team 15s Dave Hodges said: “We’re really looking forward to working with this group of men over the next several months as our staff make final preparations for Rugby World Cup. As Japan 2019 is set to be one of the most exciting and successful rugby events to do date, we as a program are heavily focused on improving upon our past World Cup performances, as a representation of the growth of rugby in the United States.
“While the weeks and months to follow will be filled with tireless work, I’m confident that our coaches and staff will prepare these men not only for the Rugby World Cup, but four crucial matchups ahead of that in the Pacific Nations Cup and our final test match with Canada in Vancouver.”
The U.S. Men’s National Team 15s will assemble next week in Colorado as the final stretch to Rugby World Cup begins. Beginning with the Pacific Nations Cup, the USA will face rival-Canada at Infinity Park in Glendale on July 27, followed by Samoa and Japan in Fiji on August 3 and 10, respectively.
One final test match between the U.S. and Canada will take place at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver on September 7. The Eagles will then head to Japan to face England, France, Argentina and Tonga in Pool C at Rugby World Cup 2019.
See here for the full squad.
– USA Rugby
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