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Six Eagles will see their November tours come to an end Saturday. Cam Dolan, Eric Fry, Samu Manoa, Blaine Scully, Hayden Smith and Chris Wyles had their availability for the November matches against Tonga, Fiji and Romania traded for Saturday’s match against the All Blacks. Pundits have taken their stance on USA Rugby's negotiation with the Aviva Premiership, but we talked to a couple of those impacted ahead of the New Zealand clash to get their take.
“I think obviously, first of all, it was great to be able to get released to play against the All Blacks, and everyone understands the importance of this game,” said Chris Wyles, who will start at fullback Saturday before returning to Saracens.
“I can’t lie and say I’m not also disappointed about not playing in the other three test matches, because at the end of the day that’s what you want to do, you want to play and compete for your country, but it’s a very unique situation. I think, for this occasion, I can understand why things have happened the way they have. I feel very privileged to play in this game.”
Leicester Tiger Blaine Scully, who will start alongside Wyles in the back three Saturday, also chimed in.
“It’s not ideal. Especially leading into a World Cup year, you’d like to maximize the amount of time together you have as a team, but the reality is that this is the situation and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said the former Cal All American.
“It’s out of our control, so the guys that were released for just this single test match, we really have to do everything we can to engrain ourselves in the team and get the most out of this performance, because we won’t see the rest of the team until June/July, and we’re straight into World Cup prep at that point. Really for us, we have to maximize this time, because we don’t get a lot of this before the World Cup comes.”
Against New Zealand, Fry will line up at loosehaed and Manoa and Smith in the second row. Cam Dolan was not selected in the match-day 23.