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Nese Malifa is 100% the first-choice, as he has been for the last 14 months. His backup is … still not confirmed. However Troy Hall, Tai Enosa and Roland Suniula are all in the Eagle squad to take on Canada.
Enosa has emerged as more of a catch-all talent – someone who can slot in at wing, fullback, outside center, flyhalf or even scrumhalf. His try against Russia showed he can follow the playbook and coach Eddie O’Sullivan said he was gratified with Enosa’s play in the #13 jersey against the England Saxons.
Hall is another guy who can play several positions, but does he have the two major upsides that Enosa has – youth and speed?
The big surprise, actually, has been Roland Suniula. Drafted into the Eagles as a center, Suniula has slotted in as a flyhalf in 7s, and his rugby league background has helped, as many players step in as first receiver in league. Suniula has surprised O’Sullivan with his comfort level at that position, and also with his “astute” kicking from the hand.
With Chris Wyles and Andrew Suniula able to kick goals, the USA don’t necessarily need a flyhalf to garner points, but he has to be able to punt, catch, pass, and read defenses. Roland Suniula – perhaps by default, but ultimately by his play – might end up being the backup #10 choice.