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The most glaring example of someone not with the squad is Samu Manoa. Manoa is considered by many to be the best American in European pro rugby. He is certainly highly-prized by the Northampton Saints. But getting Manoa back on the Eagles since his one and only cap against Georgia in 2010 has been difficult.
His contract made it very difficult for him to play in the 2011 World Cup, and then in June his family had just arrived in the UK from the USA, and he, understandably, wanted to spend time with them.
This fall, Manoa has been dealing with a slight shoulder injury, one that kept him out of this past weekend’s starting lineup (he actually had to go on as a sub anyway). There’s more to the story – we like to think that it’s really easy for pro players to just go join their national team, but sometimes something else blocks the pathway.
USA Head Coach Mike Tolkin said he expects to meet with Manoa and look to June and the World Cup Qualifiers as an opportunity to bring the lock/No. 8 back into the fold.
It appeared also that Taku Ngwenya might be staying home. He didn’t suit up for the USA in June, and seemed to fall off the radar in terms of being communicative. That, apparently, has been straightened out, Ngwenya told Tolkin his is 100% committed to, once again, playing for the Eagles. Fans will be very happy to see the Biarritz star wing back on the squad.
James Paterson is still in consideration for the USA team, but his work, including an unavoidable conference in Germany in November, precludes his being picked this fall. Paterson says he remains passionate about playing for the Eagles in the future.
Mike MacDonald is still coming off an injury, and could still add to his all-time-leading caps total, just not this year.
Blaine Scully is just coming off a serious Achilles heel injury, and is not fit. Even if he were, the 7s team would probably get priority.
Andrew Durutalo, Mike Palefau, Colin Hawley, and Tai Enosa all are on the
Ata Malifa could well be someone in the mix, but he is just back from injury. His brother, Nese, is still recovering from knee surgery.
Mike Petri will be on the squad, but will arrive late due to his job. As a result, Mike Tolkin has picked the experienced Robbie Shaw, who will likely start against Russia, with Petri likely on the bench.