USA Rugby announces RWC camp attendees
January 31, 2007
After attending the latest Men's National Sevens Team assembly, confirming schedules with overseas Americans and checking on injured players, the Men's National Team Head Coach Peter Thorburn has officially released the list of 65 players who will attend his first World Cup training camp Feb. 18-24 in San Diego, Calif.
"Although we had previously set the number at 60, it is better to have the athletes we want at this camp, rather than turn players away," Thorburn said.
"Like I said before, we have chosen an ideal mix of players for this for this first camp with a good blend of experience and relatively 'new' players. The younger players are here because they have earned it and in fact several of them have taken the place of some more established players.
"Part of the vision for this camp is to allow a number of players to gain exposure to playing at this level so that after the World Cup, when the sport inevitably sees a number of players retire, the U.S. will still have a strong pool of players."
"I want to emphasize that even though these are the best players available to us right now, there are players out there who have not been invited to this camp that still have an opportunity to earn their way to the World Cup," Thorburn added, "and I would personally like to encourage those who have not been included at this stage, to maintain constant improvement in skills and conditioning within their own clubs and programs, as it is still far from being a 'closed shop' as far as selection for the next step on our pathway to the World Cup - the NA4 squads - is concerned."
Along with the 65 players, there is also a boost to the number of staff and specialty coaches being brought in to focus on a range of rugby specific components of the game. Currently Thorburn is expecting 12-13 staff and coaches to attend this camp, including three specialty coaches from New Zealand - Mike Cron, the All-Blacks scrum coach, Mick Byrne - the All-Blacks kicking and passing/catching coach, and Dave Ellis, whose focus is decision making and ball skills while under pressure.
After this first camp, the World Cup program will take a five week break as the vital Rugby Super League's season gets underway. Thorburn will, however, be attending matches, as well pinpointing opportunities for himself and his staff to look at the Division I, II and III club players.
The players invited to the camp is as follows: Jarvis Albury (OMBAC); Mark Aylor (Denver Barbarians); Brian Barnard (Belmont Shore); Inaki Bausari (Massy Essonne - Paris); Patrick Bell (Life College); Aaron Beuhring (PAC); Will Brazier (Old Blue -NY); Blake Burdette (NYAC); Adam Casias (Sacramento Lions); Todd Clever (OMBAC); Mark Crick (PAC); Philip Eloff (Chicago Lions); Paul Emerick (Dragons-Wales); Chad Erskine (Waterloo); Vahafolau Esikia (San Mateo); Michael French (OMBAC); James Gillenwater (Maryland Exiles); Luke Gross (Doncaster FRC - UK); Jason Guerts (Fresno); Riaan Hamilton (OMBAC); Mike Hercus (Dragons - Wales); Elwood Hullinger (OMBAC); Scott Jones (Chicago Lions); Jason Kelly (Denver Barbarians); Kimball Kjar (Park City Haggis); Michiel Laubscher (Chicago Lions); Danny LaProvette (San Francisco Golden Gate); Brian Lemay (Boston Irish Wolfhounds); Jason Lett (Worcester); Andrew Locke (West Point - USMA); Michael MacDonald (Leeds - England); Michael Mangan (Denver Barbarians); Dominic Mara (NYAC); Tyson Meek (Nottingham - England); Travis Meidinger (Heidelburg - Germany); Hayden Mexted (St. Louis); Moeakiola Matekitonga (Park City Haggis); Kevin Mongold (Scioto Valley); Christopher Moreno (Denver Barbarians); Tasi Mounga (San Francisco Golden Gate); Jone Naqica (Denver Barbarians); Takudzwa Ngwenya (Fort Worth); Andrew Osborne (Washington); Christopher Osentowski (Belmont Shore); Michael Palefau (Narbonne - France); Alec Parker (Aspen); Dan Payne (OMBAC); Rikus Pretorius (UC - Berkeley); Latu Puloka (OMBAC); Patrick Quinn (Denver Barbarians); Nathan Rogers (Life College); Ron Rosser (Belmont Shore); Douglas Rowe (Old Blue- NY); Andrew Ryland (Belmont Shore); Jake Stanfill (OMBAC); Louis Stanfill (UC - Berkeley); John Tarpoff (Undetermined); Alipate Tuilevuka (Park City Haggis); Albert Tuipolotu (San Mateo); John Vander Geissen (Santa Barbara); Francois Viljoen (Belmont Shore); John Vitale (Chicago Lions); Ben Weidmer (Belmont Shore); David Williams (Denver Barbarians); Chris Wyles (Nottingham/Northhampton - England).