In July, the US national team, the Eagles, will play test matches against England and Ireland. These are the first matches that the Eagles have played since the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and the opponents are top notch. Excitingly, head coach Gary Gold has selected three Old Glory players to join the team.
Mike Sosnene-Feagai has been selected as one of four hookers on the team. It’s a deep position for the US, with a number of strong candidates left off the final list. Sosnene-Feagai has been tipped as an Eagle for a while, and his strong showing in the first half of the season surely tipped the balance in his favor.
Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz has also been selected, although not at the number 8 position that he plays with Old Glory. He has instead been selected as a flanker, which may just be a way to make sure that a player of his talents isn’t left off the roster. He already has two caps with the team, so his selection isn’t too surprising.
Mike Dabulas is the surprise selection from Old Glory. He has had to step into a number of roles with Old Glory to cover for injuries, but his most consistent position has been fullback. This is the position he has been listed at for the Eagles, and actually he is the lone fullback on the list. He’s been an excellent player for Old Glory and is now being recognized for it. This selection is probably also an attempt to secure a fullback who will be able to cover in the coming years, a notably shallow area for the US.
Not every player on the list will necessarily play. In the coming weeks, the coaching staff will narrow the list to a 30-man travelling squad. The remaining players from the list will be non-travelling reserves who will join the team if there are injuries.
Notably, the test window happens before the end of the MLR season, meaning that these players will be unavailable for crucial late-season matches. Fortunately, Old Glory should be well-equipped to handle the loss of these players. Expect to see more of Max Lum at hooker, Josh Brown at number 8, and a combination of Sam Cusano and D’Montae Noble at wing.