USA Eagles Roster Features Strong Domestic Talent

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Shaun Davies #9 of Ohio passes the ball against Denver during the inaugural match of the of the Professional Rugby Organization (PRO) at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado on Sunday, April 17, 2016. Ohio was defeated by Denver in overtime 16-13. PRO Rugby is comprised of the five rugby union teams located in North America, and is the first competition to be sanctioned by USA Rugby and World Rugby. / AFP / Jason Connolly (Photo credit should read JASON CONNOLLY/AFP/Getty Images)

John Mitchell’s selection for the USA Eagles match against Brazil is rich with young domestic talent.

The United States team will be looking for revenge against Brazil in week two of the Americas Rugby Championship. This match will be the Eagles’ last match in the US before heading into hostile territory for the rest of the tournament. John Mitchell has selected a young squad for this week, full of some of America’s best domestic talent.

Pro Rugby’s Ohio Aviators Have a Strong Presence In This Weeks Team

The runners up to Pro Rugby’s inaugural season [2016] are well represented, with three members in the starting fifteen. Shaun Davies and JP Eloff make their return to the Eagles XV this week. Both members are strong and will improve the struggling American offense.

JP Eloff is a powerful runner who missed a majority of last season due to injury. After Eloff’s injury, Shaun Davies took over kicking duties for the Aviators. Davies ended up being one of the top points scorers in Pro Rugby after getting the start three matches into the season. Both of these players will continue the recent trend of improved kicking, by the Eagles.

The third Aviator on the starting roster will be none other than Pro Rugby’s top try scorer, Spike Davis. Davis will earning his first Eagles cap following an impressive season with the Ohio franchise. Davis led Pro Rugby scoring, with 14 tries over 12 matches–six more than his closest competitor. Davis’ play is marked by powerful running and great tackle-breaking abilities. His talent on the edge will assist the US in adding more tries to the record.

Spike Jones – Putting In the Hard Yards

Last Word On Rugby reached out to Spike Davis about the announcement of receiving his first cap, and he had the following to say; “I was really excited about the call up for the ARC.

“I have put a lot of hard work in for the last few years and there have been a lot of ups and down, but I have stayed on track, kept my head down and put the hard yards in. Getting named to start is a dream come true. I started playing rugby two years ago and instantly fell in love with the game.

“My goal and dream was to play for the Eagles.”

Davis was honest when he said “So this is an emotional moment for me. I’m excited to represent the US at the highest level and do everything I can to try and make my country proud.”

The Aviators were not the only Pro Rugby team to represent the US this weekend, as Will Maggie, and Chris Baumann will be returning from the Denver Stampede. Mike Te’o will also be representing the San Diego Breakers.

Concerns This Week Over the American Use of Overseas Professionals

The concern with international based professionals is not that they are being used. It is that they are either not starting or have been starting out of position for their clubs. Last week against Uruguay, AJ MacGinty started but at inside center instead of his normal position of fly half that brought him so much success last season with Connacht.

This week Cam Dolan was released by the Cardiff Blues to play, and is not even included in the starting line up. American players gaining valuable European professional rugby experience are growing more common, but are still too few. If the Eagles are going to the effort to bring in Americans from overseas we should at least make it worth every one’s time.

A True Test of America’s Depth of Position

This weekend will help American rugby to see how development of the national team will be in the long term. The Americas Rugby Championship is a developmental tournament, so the fact that US fans will get to see as many young up-and-coming players getting ‘test experience’ will be exceptional.

“Main Photo Credit”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Can anyone tell me if the Pro League has been officially shut down. I read these articles about the players that are playing for the Eagles from various teams as if they are still in the league. Thanks

  2. So absolutely nothing is has come out concerning the future of Pro Rugby as of yet. I wrote this on the basis that: 1. I’ll buy that it still exists until the season comes and goes or told otherwise. 2. the USA Eagles posting of the squad still listed them as affiliated with those teams. I did see this evening though that when Mike Te’o was featured after his try that his club was listed as unaffiliated. At this point I don’t think anyone knows what is going on.

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