The USA Selects team for the ARC is full of players eager to make an impact.
Of the guys who have impressed, perhaps the one with the most pressure was Cam Dolan. Long mentioned as “the next big thing,” Dolan was captain of the USA U20s, and has been an All American and in the USA 7s and 15s camps. But there’s always been this question about whether he has matured enough to handle life in international rugby.
Head Coach Mike Tolkin laid his cards on the table.
“Before camp I set forth our expectations for him was to step up to the next level,” said Tolkin. “He has been in the system for a few years. I told him we thought he was a very good athlete and rugby player with excellent potential and we wanted him to step it up and show it in this camp, and we think he did.”
As a result, Dolan will captain the USA team when they run out tomorrow evening at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC.
“He has earned the captaincy for this game,” said Tolkin.
The coach has pointedly not chosen a captain for the tournament as a whole, and said Dolan won’t necessarily be captain for the next match on Tuesday.
Other players have turned head, as well. Gearoid McDonald arrived as advertised – a smart leader who knows how to handle the #10 jersey and knows how to kick. Zach Pangelinan “is athletic, got a good foot and good acceleration. He calls a pretty good game, too,” said Tolkin.
Both can’t be flyhalf, and Pangelinan slots in at wing. On the other wing, Cornleius Dirksen has shown a huge work rate.
John Quill finishes off a solid back row that includes Dolan and three-cap Taylor Mokate, who is in at No. 8.
And Zach Fenoglio has probably emerged as the most impressive scrummager up front. Fenoglio could play hooker, but has been excellent at tighthead, as well, where he starts Friday, alongside Derek Asbun and Nick Wallace. It’s interesting to note that none of these front-rowers have been exclusively at the position they will play tomorrow. Asbun spent most of his college career as a flanker/No. 8. Wallace has usually been a prop, but played a decent amount of lock for St. Mary’s. And Fenoglio has usually been a hooker, but starts at prop.