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Staying home are three injured players: Troy Hall, Cameron Dolan and Brian McClenahan. All three were long shots to make the squad in the first place, and injuries don’t help.
Also remaining stateside are Zack Test, who has seen much more success as a USA 7s player than as a 15s player, and Will Johnson, who seems now to be the odd man out in the front row.
And finally, Chris Wyles has remained home as he is not healthy to play against Japan.
But could this mean that Wyles won’t be in the World Cup squad? It’s hard to imagine, given that Wyles has been one of the USA’s consistently strong performers, has expanded his repertoire to include playing outside center as well as wing and fullback, and is one of the USA’s goalkickers.
If there is any player who would be able to be named to the World Cup squad despite still being injured, it is Wyles.
So what ramifications does that have on the World Cup squad?
It seems to settle the debate on the forwards, with one significant
surprise. Sexteen forwards (as expected) are in Japan:
John van der Giessen
Of these Chapman of the Utah Warriors is the surprise. He was pulled into camp after his performance for the Glendale Raptors Selects August 10 against the USA Selects. He is now in Japan. It is, of course, possible that a forward gets injured, opening a place up for Johnson, but right now it’s not looking good for the former Harvard gridiron lineman.
In the backs, the story, then, is that 14 players are in Japan:
Eddie O’Sullivan may well have picked three scrumhalves, which is good news for Robbie Shaw. James Paterson now seems a shoe-in as his progress has been very good. Paul Emerick, Nese Malifa, Taku Ngwenya, Mike Petri, Blaine Scully, Andrew Suniula, Roland Suniula, and Tim Usasz are also secure.
If Wyles is till in the mix, and most fans hope he is, that also means that theis week comes down to a group of seven players working toward six slots: Tai Enosa, Colin Hawley, Robbie Shaw, Junior Sifa, Kevin Swiryn and Chris Wyles.
Unless O’Sullivan decides to upset the 16-14 split of forwards and backs, one of those players will not be going to New Zealand.