The USA Depth Chart Now
The USA Depth Chart Now
Out of the ashes of The Trade the USA Men’s 15s team pulled … well maybe not a phoenix but perhaps a bird or two of another feather.
With USA Rugby essentially forced into sending their top overseas pros back to the UK for most of November in return for them pitching-up against New Zealand, Head Coach Mike Tolkin had to get creative. This was even more true when Brett Thompson and Danny Barrett went down with injuries and Troy Hall had to pull out due to the timing of his un-retirement (he needed a six-month stand-down period before the anti-doping agency would allow him to resume play).
Because of the Troy Hall issue, Tolkin had to make a late change to the first team he named. After that he made eight, five, and three changes to his starting lineup. All in all he put 37 players on the lineup sheet. Some didn’t see any playing time, but 33 did. That’s not a recipe for a settled team.
And yet some good things came out of it. The USA players who could play showed they were within a whisker of beating Fiji. They had a horrible seven minutes against Tonga, but outside of that period were equal with the Sea Eagles. And they beat Romania in Romania.
Along the way, some players made a few moves. Eric Fry was much improved and cemented his spot among the props. John Quill and Taku Ngwenya were two players who would have seen much less playing time had everyone been available, and were fortunate because they played very well with the opportunities they got. Thretton Palamo also played extremely well in the one starting chance he received.
No one would have through that Mate Moeakiola was still able to play 80 minutes of international rugby, but he did, and rescued the team as a result. John Cullen and Greg Peterson had moments, and struggled at times, but they got a taste of true international rugby and will be the better for it. Tim Stanfill might well have seen no minutes had Blaine Scully been with the USA and Brett Thompson not hurt. Now he’s a legitimate Eagle contender.
In addition, Head Coach Mike Tolkin said he came out of the tour feeling positive. Despite being without 11 key players at various moments, the group he had played fairly well and competed at the international level.
So, what the trade worth it? You could say that the players made it worth it. Tolkin made it worth it.
Now, going into 2015, the coach has a legitimate depth chart. This isn’t the official one, of course, but it’s a list of players who could conceivably be considered for the World Cup squad. There will undubtedly be more players who poke their heads up over the paprapet. Each position has its players listed in order (based on Goff's opinion) of where they stand in the current pecking order.
|Unofficial USA MNT Depth Chart, December 2014|
|Eric Fry||27||Healthy, playing well||Pro - Newcastle Falcons|
|Olive Kilifi||10||Injury (?), playing well||US Club - Seattle|
|Mate Moeakiola||29||Healthy, playing well||Pro - Castenet, France|
|Titi Lamositele||8||Returning from injury||Pro - Saracens|
|Nick Wallace||14||Healthy, needs to improve||US Club - Glendale|
|Ben Tarr||2||Developing||Pro - Souths Australia|
|Angus MacLellan||0||Developing||College - Davenport|
|Val Lee-Lo||0||Developing||US Club - Seattle|
|Phil Thiel||26||Healthy, playing well||US Cub - Life|
|Tom Coolican||8||Healthy, playing well||Pro - Sydney Stars|
|Zach Fenoglio||7||Knocking on door||US Club - Glendale|
|MIke Shepherd||0||Developing||US Club - Seattle|
|Charlie Baleirara||0||On the outside?||US Club - Metropolis|
|Samu Manoa||10||Automatic starter||Pro - Northampton|
|Hayden Smith||22||Healthy, playing well||Pro - Saracens||Can also play loose fwd|
|Lou Stanfill||50||Losing playing time?||US Club - Seattle||Can also play loose fwd|
|Tai Tuisamoa||6||Healthy, playing well||Pro - London Scottish||Can also play loose fwd|
|John Cullen||3||Developing||US Club - Seattle||Can also play loose fwd|
|Greg Peterson||3||Has potential||Pro - North Harbour Rays|
|Brodie Orth||0||Developing||US Club - KC Blues|
|Brian Doyle||15||Not picked last tour||US Club - NYAC|
|Graham Harriman||4||Not picked last tour||US Club - Metropolis|
|Brendan Daly||0||Developing||US Club - SFGG||Can also play loose fwd|
|Nick Civetta||0||Probably on the outside||Pro - Viadana|
|Nate Brakeley||0||Probably on the outside||US Club - NYAC|
|Todd Clever||63||Automatic starter||Pro - NTT|
|Scott LaValla||29||Automatic starter||Pro - Stade Francais||Can also play lock|
|John Quill||10||Excellent November||Pro - Dolphin (Ire)|
|Cam Dolan||10||Returning from injury||Pro - Northampton||Can also play lock|
|Danny Barrett||4||Looking good in 7s||Pro - USA 7s Team|
|Kyle Sumsion||5||Graduating this spring||College - BYU|
|Matt Trouville||3||Tough to break through||US Club - Seattle||Can also play lock|
|Inaki Basauri||15||Dark horse selection||Pro - Tarbes||Can also play lock|
|Al McFarland||0||Probably on the outside||US Club - NYAC|
|Mike Petri||48||Healthy, playing well||US Club - NYAC|
|Shalom Suniula||9||Healthy, playing well||US Club - Seattle||Can also play flyhalf|
|Tom Bliss||0||Developing||Pro - Wasps|
|Jope Motokana||0||Interesting prospect||US Club - Seattle|
|Shaun Davies||1||Probably on the outside||US Club - Life|
|Adam Siddall||8||Returning from injury||US Club - Old Blue||Can also play center/fb|
|Toby L'Estrange||12||Returning from injury||US Club - NYAC||Can also play center|
|AJ MacGinty||0||US Eligible February||US Club - Life||Can also plat scrumhalf|
|Seamus Kelly||15||Developed through fall||US Club - Olympic Club|
|Thretton Palamo||5||Healthy, playing well||Pro - Saracens|
|Andrew Suniula||33||Age v Experience?||US Club - Old Blue|
|Ron McLean||1||Showed he can play||Pro - Ealing||Can also play fullback|
|Blaine Scully||21||Automatic starter||Pro - Leicester||Can also play center/fb|
|Brett Thompson||2||Returning from injury||Pro - Glasgow||Can also play center|
|Tim Stanfill||4||Healthy, playing well||US Club - Seattle|
|Taku Ngwenya||29||Healthy, playing well||Pro - Biarritz|
|Tim Maupin||7||Healthy, playing well||Trinity, Ireland|
|Luke Hume||17||Returning from injury||US Club - Old Blue|
|Chris Wyles||45||Automatic starter||Pro - Saracens||Can also play center/fh?|