Written by Alex Goff    Tuesday, 02 August 2011 00:20    PDF Print Write e-mail
Record Appearance Approaches for Big Mac
National Teams - USA Men
Mike MacDonald has been playing for the Eagles since 2000. Ian Muir photo

Mike MacDonald, Luke Gross Comparison

Position: MacDonald, Prop   -   Gross, Lock
Original Team: Lamorinda U19s  -  Cincinnati Wolfhounds
College Team: California - Played basketball for Indiana St., Marshall
USA Caps:   60                      -   62
Tries for USA:    6                  -     0
Games v. Canada:    14         -    13
Games v. Japan:        4         -      9
World Cups:              2         -      3* (injured in 2007 and dnp)

The most important thing for the USA National Team going into the next two months is to win as many test matches as possible.

Individual accolades can come later.

But it’s worth noting that one big record is about to be broken. USA prop Mike MacDonald, who was first capped by the USA as a 20-year-old in 2000, is set to break the all-time USA caps record.

MacDonald sits at 60 caps right now, two behind all-time great and Luke Gross. Gross is currently with the USA women’s national team working as a lineout coach. He played 62 times for the Eagles. His final appearance was in a non-cap game in 2007, but injury prevented him from appearing in the 2007 World Cup. Gross’s last capped match was against France in the 2003 World Cup.

MacDonald made his debut in 2000 against Fiji July 1 and has been a regular on the national team ever since. The only major interruption was spring of 2010, when he was dropped from the Churchill Cup squad.

Big Mac says he is aware of the record, but isn’t going to let is distract him.

“I know,” he said. “It’s been in the back of my mind. It’s something I have strived for and as a personal achievement I am proud of it. But it’s not going to stop me from doing what I need to do. If anything, it will make me train that much harder. I don’t want to be the guy hanging on for it. I want to rightfully earn it, and the chemistry around this team is that things aren’t handed to you – you have to earn everything you get.”

MacDonald, who played 19 times for the USA with Gross as a teammate, said the former USA lock is comfortable with the prospect of losing his record.

“I talked to Luke about it,” MacDonald told RUGBYMag.com. “He’s given me a lot of encouragement.”

The Leeds prop and former Cal All American needs two appearances for the Eagles to tie Gross, and his next appearance after that, whether it’s a start or as a sub, will be the record-breaker.