Eagles opt for versatility in Rugby World Cup selection

The last of the 31-man squads for Rugby World Cup 2019 is now known as the USA declare their roster for the tournament in Japan.

US Eagles head coach Gary Gold feels his squad has the versatility to deal with the unique demands of a Rugby World Cup campaign with many of the players selected capable of playing in multiple positions.

Almost a third of the squad also has experience of playing at this level before and three – captain and winger Blaine Scully, prop Eric Fry and centre Thretton Palamo – are looking forward to their third Rugby World Cup tournament.

The squad features two Rio 2016 Olympians in Martin Iosefo and Ben Pinkelman, who were both recently instrumental in leading the USA Sevens team to their most successful season in history with a second-place finish on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Pinkelman is the least experienced member of the squad with just the two caps to his name, while the most-capped player is Scully, who made his 50th test appearance for the Eagles in Saturday's narrow 20-15 win over Canada.

“We’ve picked a pretty balanced team, we’ve gone with 18 forwards and 13 backs. We think that the attrition for this Rugby World Cup, especially our pool, is going to take it out of our forwards, so we’ve gone with an extra forward," said Gold.

"We’ve got good depth in almost every position, I think we’re well covered. Where I think we are very lucky is that we’ve got quite a few guys who can play in multiple positions. From that point of view, we thought long and hard about those combinations and how we can best make up the combinations for the squad and what’s going to be a rather attritional pool.” 

At the ninth edition of the quadrennial event, the Eagles will play England, France, Argentina and Tonga in Pool C.

USA squad for RWC 2019

Forwards: David Ainu’u, Malon Al-Jiboori, Nate Brakeley, Nick Civetta, Cam Dolan, Dylan Fawsitt, Eric Fry, Hanco Germishuys, James Hilterbrand, Olive Kilifi, Tony Lamborn, Titi Lamositele, Ben Landry, Paul Mullen, Gregory Peterson, Ben Pinkelman, John Quill, Joseph Taufete'e.

Backs: Blaine Scully (captain), Nate Augspurger, Marcel Brache, Bryce Campbell, Shaun Davies, Ruben De Haas, Will Hooley, Martin Iosefo, Paul Lasike, AJ MacGinty, Will Magi, Thretton Palamo, Mike Te'o.