USA names RWC squad
September 9, 2003

USA captain Dave Hodges, fully recovered from a June injury, returns to lead the Eagles to the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Five other veterans of the 1999 World Cup will join Hodges next month in Australia. Halfback Kevin Dalzell, hooker Kirk Khasigian, lock Alec Parker, number 8 Dan Lyle, and lock Luke Gross, the all time leader in caps for the United States, will make their second World Cup appearances.

Several players forced their way onto the squad by virtue of their performance in the 2003 campaign, in which the Eagles went 6-3. Among them are four forwards, Richard Liddington, Matt Wyatt, Gerhard Klerck, and 20-year old All-American Todd Clever, who saw their first action in last month's Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In all, ten of the Eagles earned their first caps in the 2003 season.

"A full test calendar this year has provided us with opportunities to evaluate and work with many players," notes head coach Tom Billups. "This squad reflects a very thorough selection process."

The squad includes only one uncapped player, Brigham Young University center Salesi Sika, who impressed Billups with his two-try performance for the USA 'A' against Russia in July.

While the 2003 Pan American Championships allowed several players to secure their positions, the USA lost one player when flanker Conrad Hodgson tore his ACL, forcing him to miss the World Cup.

"We are saddened by Conrad's injury. His form this year has been remarkable," said Billups, who added, "this team has been built around the principle that all players are responsible for the team's performance. Conrad's absence will have us call upon this philosophy once again."

While most of the Eagles are part time players, five members of the US squad, Gross, Hodges, Jason Keyter, Richard Liddington, and Lyle, play professionally in Europe. Meanwhile, three members of the squad, Clever, Mike MacDonald and Sika, are college students.

The selections reflect versatility within the World Cup squad. Among the forwards, Hodges, Parker, and John Tarpoff are all capable of playing more than one position if called upon. This versatility in the squad will be essential as the US will be playing four games in seventeen days at the World Cup.

The Eagles will assemble in Berkeley, CA on September 26th and depart for Brisbane on September 29th. The US squad will play Fiji and Scotland in Brisbane, Japan in Gosford, and France in Wollongong.

2003 United States Rugby World Cup Squad
Forwards:
Todd Clever University of Nevada - Reno
Dan Dorsey Unaffiliated
Oloseti Fifita Hayward Griffins (Hayward, CA)
Jurie Gouws Santa Monica (CA)
Luke Gross Rotherham (England)
David Hodges Llanelli (Wales)
Kirk Khasigian Belmont Shore (Long Beach, CA)
Gerhard Klerck Gentlemen of Aspen (CO)
Richard Liddington Exeter (England)
Dan Lyle Leicester Tigers (England)
Mike MacDonald University of California - Berkeley
Alec Parker Gentlemen of Aspen (CO)
Kort Schubert Olympic (San Francisco, CA)
John Tarpoff OMBAC (San Diego, CA)
Jacob Waasdorp Trinity College (Irelanad)
Matt Wyatt OMBAC (San Diego, CA)

Backs
John Buchholz Olympic (San Francisco, CA)
Kain Cross Santa Monica (CA)
Kevin Dalzell OMBAC (San Diego, CA)
Phillip Eloff Chicago Lions (IL)
Paul Emerick Chicago Lions (IL)
David Fee Chicago Lions (IL)
Mike Hercus Belmont Shore (Long Beach, CA)
Jason Keyter Rotherham (England)
Kimball Kjar Brigham Young University (Provo, UT)
Matt Sherman University of California - Berkeley
Salesi Sika Brigham Young University (Provo, UT)
Mose Timoteo Golden Gate (San Francisco, CA)
Riaan Van Zyl Old Puget Sound (Seattle, WA)
Link Wilfley Unaffiliated

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