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The USA RWC Squad: How They Got Here

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The USA RWC Squad: How They Got Here

Colleen McCloskey photo.

The USA Men's National 15s team has selected its 31 players to go the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Those 31 are:

Forwards Backs
David Ainu’u Blaine Scully (C)
Malon Al-Jiboori Nate Augspurger
Nate Brakeley Marcel Brache
Nick Civetta Bryce Campbell
Cam Dolan Shaun Davies
Dylan Fawsitt Ruben De Haas
Eric Fry Will Hooley
Hanco Germishuys Martin Iosefo
James Hilterbrand Paul Lasike
Olive Kilifi AJ MacGinty
Tony Lamborn Will Magie
Titi Lamositele Thretton Palamo
Ben Landry Mike Te'o
Paul Mullen  
Gregory Peterson  
Ben Pinkelman  
John Quill  
Joseph Taufete'e

In the release, USA Rugby said that half of the team played rugby in the US at the youth level.

That sounds like a good number. Let's delve into this a little more deepls:

Players who played rugby at the youth or high school level in the USA:

Ainu'u, Al-Jiboori, Brakeley, Dolan, Fry, Germishuys, Kilifi, Lamositele, Landry, Pinkelman, Taufete'e, Augspurger, Campbell, De Haas, Iosefo, Palamo, Te'o

Which is slightly more than half at 17. Iosefo is a bit of a halfway as he didn't play a lot in Hawaii, but he did play.

Of those, here are the HS programs represented:

Liberty (Washington)
Union HS (Oklahoma)
St. John's (Massachusetts)
Naples (Florida)
Jesuit of Sacramento (California)
Westside (Nebraska)
West Seattle / OPSB (Washington)
Chuckanut (Washington)
Pewaukee HS (Wisconsin)
Cherry Creek HS (Colorado)
Belmont Shore Youth (California)
Southside HS (Minnesota)
Royal Irish (Indiana)
Junior Stormers (Arkansas)
Hilo (Hawaii)
SFGG Youth (California)
Belmont Shore Youth (California)

It's interesting to see that of the 17 players, they came from 12 different states and 16 different HS programs—only Belmont Shore has more than one.

As we've mentioned in these pages before, it remains noteworthy that the state of Washington churns out a large number of Eagles for its size (in terms of player numbers) and also interesting that it's different programs that have produced those players. Six different Rugby Washington programs have produced 15s Eagles.

Special Category: Players Who Played for USA Age-Grade Teams But We Playing Overseas:

Will Magie

Players Who Played College Rugby In The USA

Al-Jiboori, Brakeley, Civetta, Dolan, Fry, Landry, Pinkelman, Scully, Augspurger, Campbell, Davies, Iosefo, Lasike, MacGinty, Palamo

That's 15, which is lower than it has been, because some players are going directly to the pros from high school.

Special Category: Players Who Played College Football:

Landry, Lasike, Iosefo

Colleges Represented:

Notre Dame
Colorado State
Montana State

A pretty wide range, with a couple of lower-division teams. Cal (Scully and Fry), Life (Dolan and MacGinty), and BYU (Lasike and Davies) boast two Eagles. There was a time when a quarter of the team would have been from Cal.

Players Who Learned Their Rugby Overseas:

Fawsitt, Hilterbrand, Lamborn, Mullen, Peterson, Quill, Brache, Davies, Hooley, MacGinty, Magie

Magie and De Haas are gray areas, so we listed just one of them. The difference is that De Haas was in high school in the USA and Magie wasn't. This list of 11 is still pretty high, and with the advent of the MLR, which makes it easier for players to acheive USA eligibility on residency alone, this probably won't change. 

Players Who Played For HS All Americans or College All Americans:

Ainu'u, Al-Jiboori, Brakeley, Civetta, Dolan, Fry, Germishuys, Lamositele, Landry, Pinkelman, Scully, Augspurger, Campbel, Davies, De Haas, Lasike, Magie, Palamo, Te'o

That's a pretty good number, 19. Only a couple were missed.