USA name wider squad for Pacific Nations Cup and RWC 2019

USA head coach Gary Gold has named a 50-man training squad for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan that includes a 40-player roster for the upcoming World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup.

Gold has included three uncapped players, Jamason Fa’anana Shultz, Riekert Hattingh and Ross Deacon while a trio of France 2007 representatives have also been called up.

Veterans Mike Petri, Lou Stanfill and Thretton Palamo all have a chance of playing at a third Rugby World Cup despite not featuring for their country under Gold.

Petri and Stanfill - neither of whom will meet up for the Pacific Nations Cup - last played for the Eagles at England 2015, while Palamo won the last of his 17 test caps against Tonga in 2016.

In total, 13 players included in the wider 50-man squad have previous Rugby World Cup experience. Former Leicester Tigers and Cardiff Blues wing Blaine Scully (pictured) is in line to play at a third showpiece tournament, having appeared at New Zealand 2011 and England 2015.

Sevens stars

Three members of the USA sevens squad that recently booked their place at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, captain Madison Hughes, Martin Iosefo and Ben Pinkelman, have also been included.

“We’re really looking forward to working with this group of men over the next several months as our staff make final preparations for Rugby World Cup,” USA General Manager Dave Hodges said.

“As Japan 2019 is set to be one of the most exciting and successful rugby events to do date, we as a programme are heavily focused on improving upon our past World Cup performances, as a representation of the growth of rugby in the United States.

“While the weeks and months to follow will be filled with tireless work, I’m confident that our coaches and staff will prepare these men not only for the Rugby World Cup but four crucial match-ups ahead of that in the Pacific Nations Cup and our final test match with Canada in Vancouver.”

Colorado camp

The USA begin their preparations for Japan 2019 next week when the 40 players selected for the Pacific Nations Cup assemble for a training camp in Colorado.

Gold’s side open their Pacific Nations Cup campaign against Canada at Infinity Park on 27 July, before travelling to Fiji to play Samoa on 3 August and Japan seven days later, both in Suva.

Before heading to Japan, the USA will play one final warm-up test, against Canada, in Vancouver on 7 September.

The USA have been drawn alongside Argentina, England, France and Tonga in Pool C in Japan and face a tough assignment if they are to reach the knockout phase for the first time.

Despite qualifying for seven of eight Rugby World Cups - missing out only in 1995 - the Eagles have won only three of their 22 matches and lost all four at England 2015, finishing bottom of Pool B in the process.

USA squad

Forwards: David Ainu’u, Eric Fry, Olive Kilifi, Titi Lamositele, Paul Mullen, Paddy Ryan, Chance Wenglewski, Dylan Fawsitt, Mike Sosene-Feagai, James Hilterbrand, Kapeli Pifeleti, Joe Taufete’e, Nate Brakeley, Nick Civetta, Ben Landry, Samu Manoa, Greg Peterson, Malon Al-Jiboori, Cam Dolan, Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, Hanco Germishuys, Tony Lamborn, Ben Pinkelman, John Quill, Psalm Wooching.

Backs: Nate Augspurger, Shaun Davies, Ruben de Haas, AJ MacGinty, Will Magie, Bryce Campbell, Martin Iosefo, Paul Lasike, Thretton Palamo, Marcel Brache, Will Hooley, Madison Hughes, Gannon Moore, Blaine Scully, Mike Te’o.

Extended group: Dino Waldren, Siaosi Mahoni, Louis Stanfill, Ross Deacon, Riekert Hattingh, David Tameilau, Mike Petri, Ben Cima, Ryan Matyas, Tim Maupin.