Next week’s Eagle training camp, almost certainly the most elaborate in the union’s history, faces a tall order if it is to live up to outsized national team assemblies gone by.
The February 18-24 camp includes 33 internationals, including 16 of 39 forwards and 17 of 26 backs. Recalled are 1999 World Cup veterans Luke Gross and Tasi Mo’unga, while youthful flanker Danny LaPrevotte is among the fresher faces.
In addition to 65 or so players, the event incorporates nearly an equal number of unnamed, elite coaches, plus a trio of New Zealand staff coaches brought in from the Shaky Isles.
Past musters in Riverside, California, and Las Vegas were watershed events, launching the careers of such front-liners as George Sucher, Dave Hodges, Richard Tardits, Rob Lumkong, Mark Scharrenberg, Alatini Saulala, Brian Hightower, and Kurt Shuman as well as the recalled Vaea Anitoni – all future World Cup players.
Something of a luxury for USA Rugby, 2007’s outpouring of Eagle spending is effectively underwritten by a “high performance” grant from the International Rugby Board, which distributes monies to so-called Tier 2 countries such as America as well as to “cross border” tournaments like the North American 4. In recent years, during the tenure of chief executive Doug Arnot, such a representative program was unthinkable.
Riverside and Las Vegas were both funded by the national team, the former at a time when USA Rugby’s explicitly prohibited union monies from being spent on the Eagles. Unsurprisingly, both were staged in rather Spartan conditions.
Led by Eagle coach Peter Thorburn, San Diego seems likely to produce many if not most of the NA4 players. Earlier this week Thorburn tapped Marty Wiggins (Chicago Lions) and Adam Friend (Pearl City, Iowa) to coach the Falcons and Hawks, respectively. The IRB intends the NA4 as the proving ground for most of America’s internationals.
USA Training Squad, February 2007
Forwards: Jarvis Albury (OMBAC), Mark Aylor (Denver Barbarians), Inaki Bausari (Massy Essonne), Patrick Bell (Life University), Aaron Beuhring (PAC), Will Brazier (Old Blue), Blake Burdette (NYAC), Adam Casias (Sacramento Lions), Todd Clever (OMBAC), Mark Crick (PAC), Michael French (OMBAC), Luke Gross (Doncaster), Jason Guerts (Fresno), Danny LaProvette (Golden Gate), MC Laubscher (Chicago Lions), Brian Lemay (Boston Irish Wolfhounds), Michael MacDonald (Leeds), Michael Mangan (Denver Barbarians), Moeakiola Matekitonga (Park City Haggis), Travis Meidinger (Heidelburg), Hayden Mexted (St. Louis Bombers), Kevin Mongold (Scioto Valley), Christopher Moreno (Denver Barbarians), Tasi Mounga (Golden Gate), Christopher Osentowski (Belmont Shore), Alec Parker (Gentlemen of Aspen), Dan Payne (OMBAC), Rikus Pretorius (Univ. of California), Latu Puloka (OMBAC), Patrick Quinn (Denver Barbarians), Nathan Rogers (Life University), Ron Rosser (Belmont Shore), Andrew Ryland (Belmont Shore), Jake Stanfill (OMBAC), Louis Stanfill (Univ. of California), John Tarpoff (not available), John Vander Geissen (Grunion), John Vitale (Chicago Lions), Ben Weidmer (Belmont Shore)
Backs: Brian Barnard (
Belmont Shore OMBAC), Philip Eloff (Chicago Lions), Paul Emerick (Newport-Gwent Dragons), Chad Erskine (Waterloo), Vahafolau Esikia (San Mateo), James Gillenwater (Maryland Exiles), Riaan Hamilton (OMBAC), Mike Hercus (Newport-Gwent Dragons), Elwood Hullinger (OMBAC), Scott Jones (Chicago Lions), Jason Kelly (Denver Barbarians), Kimball Kjar (Park City Haggis), Jason Lett (Worcester), Dominic Mara (NYAC), Tyson Meek (Nottingham), Andrew Locke (US Military Academy), Jone Naqica (Denver Barbarians), Takudzwa Ngwenya (Fort Worth), Andrew Osborne (Washington), Michael Palefau (Narbonne), Douglas Rowe (Old Blue), Alipate Tuilevuka (Park City Haggis), Albert Tuipolotu (San Mateo), Francois Viljoen (Belmont Shore), David Williams (Denver Barbarians), Chris Wyles (Northhampton)