Ten to debut for USA 'A'
July 8, 2003

The USA 'A' squad to visit Russia this month includes 10 players making their international debuts.

USA head coach Tom Billups has called up form players from club and collegiate rugby to supplement the existing National Team Player Pool for the Super Powers Cup contest.

"We've cast the net far and wide," Billups said. "I've watched all three domestic competitions, the Division One & Two finals, the Super League semi-finals and final, and the Collegiate All-Stars, as well as reviewed tape from many Super League matches. This is an opportunity for these players to demonstrate their ability to play international rugby."

Among the new faces are six who made a strong impression in the USA Rugby Super League season, plus two who played their way into the USA 'A' squad from Division One and the Collegiate All-Stars respectively.

The Super League performers include; Washington flyhalf Francois Viljoen, Chicago Lions wing Matt Schmitz, second row Gerald Klerck of Aspen, OMBAC lock Erick Anderson and hooker Matt Wyatt -- contributors to the San Diego club's play-off run -- as well as prop Chris Osentowski from the League-winning Belmont Shore side.

Meanwhile, center Albert Tuipulotu joins the 'A' team from perennial Division One contenders, San Mateo, alongside fellow center Salesi Sika who capped a standout season at Brigham Young University with an MVP performance at June's Collegiate All-Star contest.

For the likes of San Jose lock Paul Jennings, the 'A' team opportunity comes after a notable performance at the All-Stars.

Former Chicago prop Richard Liddington also gets his first opportunity in the Super Powers Squad after a season as a professional with Stade Francais.

According to Billups, it will be trial by fire for the new players in the build-up to the July 19 match in Krasnoyarsk: "Russia have played several matches together and are big and strong. It will be a stern challenge for our players."

Also among the 24-man squad are several players who have made previous appearances for the USA 'A,' or the National 7s team such as Denver scrumhalf Doug Rowe, OMBAC center Riaan Hamilton, Grand Rapids flanker Scott Lawrence, and Golden Gate loose forward Aaron Satchwell. Lions prop Andy McGarry, capped for the USA in 2002, gets his first opportunity to impress since the Tampa tournament, while 7s standout Jone Naqica, previously capped on the wing, makes his return from injury.

The balance of the team has seen some playing time with the test side this season, but mostly off the bench. The eight 2003 campaigners will take a senior role with the 'A' squad which travels to England on July 12 and onto Russia on July 17. The side is captained by veteran utility back Mose Timoteo.

USA 'A': Erick Anderson, John Buchholz, Paul Emerick, Jurie Gouws, Riaan Hamilton, Paul Jennings, Gerhard Klerck, Scott Lawrence, Richard Liddington, Christian Long, Andy McGarry, Jone Naqica, Chris Osentowski, Doug Rowe, Aaron Satchwell, Matt Schmitz, Matt Sherman, Charles Sika, John Tarpoff, Albert Tuipulotu, Mose Timoteo, Francois Viljoen, Jacob Waasdorp, Matt Wyatt

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