Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

O’Sullivan’s six new names

Eddie O'Sullivan has named a squad split between youth and experience for his first Test as USA Eagles head coach later this month.

Former Ireland coach O'Sullivan faces his old side and newly-crowned Grand Slam champions in California on May 31 before taking his new charges to the Midwest to face Wales in Chicago on June 6.

O'Sullivan named his squad following his first training camp in Colorado last weekend with a pack led by the USA’s 2007 Rugby World Cup props Mike MacDonald and Mate Moeakiola.

Fellow 2007 veterans John Van der Giessen at lock and Louis Stanfill at loose forward also return but O’Sullivan has also named six uncapped forwards.

In the back line, there are five 2007 World Cup stalwarts — Mike Hercus, Mike Petri, Takudzwa Ngwenya, Chris Wyles and Salesi Sika — and four newcomers, and O’Sullivan said he was relishing meeting the Irish at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara.

“It is great to be back coaching at international level again and I’m looking forward to the challenge immensely,”O'Sullivan said.

“It is also an honour to face Ireland in my first test as Eagles head coach.

“It will be a little strange to face off against a team that I know so well, but at the same time, for me, that will make the occasion even more special.”

After the Tests with Ireland and Wales, the Eagles will play the Churchill Cup tournament before home and away 2011 Rugby World Cup qualifiers against Canada.