Thorburn ‘very excited’ about Eagles team

INTERIM USA head coach Peter Thorburn has named a 28-man squad to face Ireland A in California in the opening game of the 2006 Churchill Cup this weekend.

The Americans will host Michael Bradley’s side on Saturday at the Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, before taking on New Zealand Maori on June 10.

“We’re very excited about this team,” former All Black coach and selector Thorburn said of his first Eagles squad since being handed the role by the USA’s interim director of rugby Alan Solomons earlier this month.

“We’ve got very good athletes and good runners. Obviously we have things we need to work on, we have fine tuning to do in a short period of time, but that will be our jobs to get the players to respond.”

An experienced team is led by Cardiff flanker Kort Schubert but the USA will be without backs Paul Emerick and Albert Tuipolotu against Ireland A. They will not return from club duty with Italian side Parma until the day after the opening game.

Dublin University director of rugby Tony Smeeth is an assistant coach for the USA.

UNITED STATES squad

Forwards: M Aylor (Austin), Patrick Bell (Life U); T Clever (Mahurangi, NZ)), M French (OMBAC); C Hansen (Flathead); S Lawrence (Life U); Owen Lentz (WRFC), M MacDonald, C Ostenkowski (Belmont Shore); M Mangan (Chicago Griffins), H Mexted (St. Louis Bombers); T Petruzella (Cal Poly); B Schoener (OPSB), J Tarpoff, K Schubert (Cardiff, Wales).

Backs B Barnard (Golden Gate); P Emerick (Parma, Italy); V Esikia (Las Vegas Blackjacks); J Hullinger (BYU); J Kelly (Denver Barbarians); T Meek (Denver Barbarians); J Nash (C Lions); M Palefau (Haggis); A Tuipolotu (Parma, Italy); S Sika (BYU); M Timoteo (Hayward); A Tuilevuka (BYU); F Vilijon (Washington).

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