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The USA Men’s National Team is in Uruguay after a brief stopover in Florida to bring all of the players together from various states and countries.
For Mike Petri this will be a return engagement at Montevideo. He was with the USA in 2009 when they beat Uruguay 27-22, as was Chris Wyles, Phil Thiel, Hayden Smith, Lou Stanfill, and Todd Clever. Petri, in fact, earned a rare yellow card in that game.
"We have the same training facility here in Florida and Uruguay so that's good," said Petri. "It's a long trip down, a competitive environment and Uruguay is a team that plays very physical, very aggressive, very passionate, and they definitely won't back down playing on home soil."
The Uruguay team is populated by players from one relatively small league where all the top players play against each other. For the USA, For the USA, it's a little different, of course, so team chemistry is key.
"The vibe in camp is really, really good. And [our early] training sessions were really good with our full squad in now," said the NYAC scrumhalf.
Petri was reunited with his former NYAC teammate Toby L'Estrange, the flyhalf who is now with London Welsh, and his friend and competition for the scrumhalf job, Robbie Shaw. Also competing for a flyhalf spot is a guy with plenty of scrumhalf experience, Shalom Suniula.
"There's a lot of competition for spaces now throughout the team," said Petri. "Selection-wise nothing's written in stone, so everyone has equal reps and that keeps the quality up. It's been good to see Toby again and to see him get his opportunities and do well at London Welsh. Good to see Robbie again. I've met Shalom a few times although I know his brothers better, but Shalom's a really good guy to have in camp and brings a different skill set."
For Petri it's like he was just here. His last serious rugby game was with the USA in November, but for others who have been playing in warm weather or overseas, it may seem like a long time since the Eagles assembled.
"There's a transition," said Petri. "But having said that, Hayden Smith's been away a long time and he walked in and it was like he'd never left."
All of the players now have one goal – win these two World Cup Qualifiers and get on the road to England 2015.
"Right now it's just about getting everybody in the same mentality and on the same page," said Petri. "We're ironing out those little things so we can get over the advantage line, and execute and put in the kind of performance we know we can."