Are we getting our money’s worth from developmental national teams? You decide.
High School and Age-Grade Origins
Of the 36 players named to the USA squad to face Canada, 13 played for the USA U19 or U20 teams.
Another six played at least a little rugby as a U19 or high-schooler in the USA.
Top HS/U19 program represented? Jesuit of Sacramento with four (Lou Stanfill, Eric Fry, Colin Hawley, Blaine Scully). The other 15 are represented by 15 different programs.
College and All Americans
Eighteen players played rugby in college in the USA. Of those, 15 made All American, while Scott LaValla and Zack Test were named to the touring All American team in 2010 when they were in college overseas, but did not play due to injury. Two others, John van der Giessen and Nic Johnson, played rugby in college but were not All Americans.
(The numbers don’t seem to add up because Zack Test played rugby in college in the USA and in the UK.)
Top college presented? Do you have to ask? Cal with seven.
Seven players played a sport other than rugby seriously in college: Will Johnson (football), Taku Ngwenya (track), Mike Palefau (football), Nic Johnson (basketball), Hayden Smith (basketball), Pat Danahy (football), Zack Test (football).
The Overseas Experience
Twenty-four of the players have played significant time at a high-level overseas club or university. Of those, 16 now have pro contracts overseas.
Twelve of the players listed have not been born in the USA and grown up in the game here. Here’s how they qualify for the USA:
Mate Moeakioa – residency
JJ Gagiano – parentage
Tim Usasz – parentage
Robbie Shaw – parentage
Nese Malifa – American Samoa
Andrew Suniula – American Samoa
Rolan Suniula – American Samoa
Junior Sifa – American Samoa
Troy Hall – residency
Chris Wyles – born in USA
Takudzwa Ngwenya – residency
James Paterson – parentage
So the splits are relatively even:
High School Rugby in USA: 36%
College Rugby in USA: 50%
Recruited from other sports: 19%
Learned Rugby Overseas: 33%