Wyles leads inexperienced Eagles into World Cup

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Chris Wyles was the USA’s top points scorer at RWC 2011 and assumed the captaincy of the side from Todd Clever prior to the start of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup in July.

Along with their captain, Mike Petri, Mate Moeakiola, Takudzwa Ngwenya and Louis Stanfill will appear in their third Rugby World Cup.

Among those making their debuts is Toulon’s Samu Manoa – one of 13 players professionally contracted overseas – who earned his first international cap in November 2010.

“He brings a great deal of impact to the side. He’s a natural leader; he’s a great ballplayer,” said Tolkin. “Samu’s been waiting to play in the World Cup for four years, so I know he’s really thrilled at the prospect.”

The 31-strong group selected for RWC 2015 is the same as the squad chosen for the three pre-World Cup matches, which included a third consecutive defeat of Canada and last weekend’s narrow loss to English Premiership side Harlequins.

Uncapped Belmont Shore hooker Joseph Taufete’e is one of 20 players with no previous Rugby World Cup experience.

“In terms of Rugby World Cup experience, yes, this is a relatively inexperienced group,” Tolkin added. “However, while the Rugby World Cup is a whole different kettle of fish, many of these players do have a fair bit of international play under their belts since 2011.”

The Eagles have hosted two of their Pool B opponents – Japan and Samoa – in the United States in the past two months. Japan were beaten 23-18 in the Pacific Nations Cup, while Samoa were ran close before edging the Eagles 21-16 in the same competition.

USA RWC 2015 squad:

Forwards: Danny Barrett, Chris Baumann, Cameron Dolan, Andrew Durutalo, Zach Fenoglio, Eric Fry, Olive Kilifi, Titi Lamositele, Scott LaValla, Samu Manoa, Matekitonga Moeakiola, Al McFarland, Greg Peterson, John Quill, Hayden Smith, Louis Stanfill, Joseph Taufete’e, Phil Thiel.

Backs: Seamus Kelly, Niku Kruger, AJ MacGinty, Takudzwa Ngwenya, Folau Niua, Thretton Palamo, Mike Petri, Blaine Scully, Andrew Suniula, Shalom Suniula, Zack Test, Brett Thompson, Chris Wyles (Captain).

Courtesy of World Rugby

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