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Where The Eagles Come From Is A Classic Rugby Story

National Teams

Where The Eagles Come From Is A Classic Rugby Story

Colleen McCloskey photo.

The USA will play Argentina XV live on FloRugby this weekend (click here to watch or subscribe), and at the center of this group is indication that the USA pathway is working.

Yes, there are still a lot of players who learned their rugby overseas, but the numbers are still good for the American high school and college programs. Notably, however, we're seeing more and more players who don't attend college, but go from high school straight to the pros. We will see more of that if - IF - Major League Rugby academy programs get stronger.

But that doesn't mean, as some misguided observers have noted, that college rugby will become irrelevant. The college programs are still producing Eagles, and will continue to do so because a) the training environment is still very good, usually better than an academy's, and b) players also get an education, which they will need. Pro rugby is possible for many rugby players, but it's still better to have a degree and a better chance at a professional career.

OK, so let's look at this weekend's USA lineup:

Prop: Titi Lamositele: Played high school at Chuckanut in Rugby Washington. Played in the Washington Loggers and HS All American systems, and then went straight to the academy system at Saracens, where he is still a full-time pro.

Prop: Dino Waldren: Did not play rugby in high school, but did at Saint Mary's, where he got some of the best scrum coaching you could ask for. Was a collegiate All American. Now with London Scottish.

Hooker: Joe Taufete'e. Played for the Belmont Shore U19 program (famously did so to impress his girlfriend ... it worked, they got married). He graduated to the senior Belmont Shore club, and then signed with the Worcester Warriors.

Greg Peterson: Learned his rugby in Australia. Playing with Boreaux-Begles in the French Top 14 now.

Nick Civetta: Didn't play rugby in high school; picked it up in college at Notre Dame, and became an All American while with the Irish. Got his bachelor's and then a graduate degree. Worked and played with NYAC and then played at a couple of clubs in Italy. It was kind of a long road for him to get to the Eagles, but he's playing pro at Doncaster now and a regular member of the USA lineup.

John Quill: Learned his rugby in Ireland and then moved to Boston, where he played for the Boston Rugby Club - that's how he got capped initially. Now with Rugby United NY.

Hanco Germishuys: A big nod to the High School All American program, which plucked Germishuys out of relative obscurity in high school rugby in Nebraska (Westside HS) and showcased him to the world. Soon he was at Gloucester Academy, MVP of the U20 Junior World Trophy, and on the Eagles as a teenager. Now a pro in Glendale.

Cam Dolan: Naples Bears in HS, then Life University. He was in the old USA U19s and U20s before they were renamed. He's a perfect example of the ideal US pathway. Now with NOLA Gold.

Shaun Davies: Came to the USA from South Africa to study and play at BYU. He decided to stay and has been a dedicated servant to the Eagles ever since. Plays pro in Glendale. He's one of those guys who was born overseas but if you look at how he plays and carries himself and how he embraces living in the USA, he is as American as anyone.

AJ MacGinty: Came to the USA to play and ended up at Life University. Learned his rugby in Ireland, though.

Marcel Brache: Born in the USA, but actually a South African who has played the majority of his professional rugby in Australia ... yeah that's a classic rugby story.

Paul Lasike: Grew up in New Zealand. Came to the USA to study and play at BYU. Stayed to pursue football and rugby.

Bryce Campbell: Played for Royal Irish HS program in Indianapolis, HSAA program, and then University of Indiana. Moved on to play with Glendale and now overseas at London Irish. 

Will Magie: Qualified for the USA through parentage and as a result played for the HS All American and then USA U20s (on the same team as Madison Hughes and Mike Te'o). A nice product of the pathway while he was still attending HS and college in the UK.

 

On the behch, Chance Wenglewski, Nate Brakeley, and Dylan Audsley all played high school and college rugby in the US, and all went through the All American system. Tevita Tameilau and Ruben de Haas played HS rugby in the US - de Haas was a captain of the HS All Americans and USA U20s. Tadgh Leader played at Lindenwood. Paul Mullen came to the USA from Ireland to study and play at Texas A&M and stayed.

It's a good story - every one. The lesson is that we are still finding players who grew up with the game overseas. We'll see that change over time.