The Americas Rugby Championship was an opportunity for up and coming players, as well as players on the fringe of the Eagles, to impress Mike Tolkin and his staff and potentially earn a place on the Eagles fall roster. So now that the tournament is over, let’s take a look at whose stock went up and whose went down.
Cam Dolan: Tapped to be a leader for the Selects, in the one and half matches that Dolan played he was exactly what he needed to be. On a team that often lacked a rugby IQ, he made smart decisions. Further, he was strong on defense and could very well have played himself into a spot on the Eagles fall tour if he wasn't injured.
Shaun Davies: There is an opening to be Mike Petri’s back-up on the Eagles and Davies strong showing at the ARC, following up on a strong summer, should help him cement that role. He was active, quick with the ball, and made good decisions. Most importantly he played with passion. He was into the matches and into succeeding as an Eagle. That drive should earn him more time.
Eric Duechle: Despite not making the opening day roster against Argentina (injury perhaps?) Duechle ended up being one of, if not the, best back-row players for the Eagles on the weekend. He is absolutely massive and laid out opponents on several occasions. He also showed himself to be a strong runner, scoring the team’s only try after fighting off several Uruguayan defenders.
Jack Tracy and Dean Gericke: Both Tracy and Gericke stepped up when called upon and put together some very solid outings. They weren’t world-best at the tournament but they did the things they needed to and were smart in possession. Their defense was solid and they showed that they can break out on offense. With some spots opening up in the Eagles for the fall tour, it’s not out of the question that either one of these players could make the squad.
Nick Civetta and Graham Harriman: In all honesty, not much was expected from either Civetta or Harriman heading into the tournament, but both were mildly pleasant surprises. Their scrimmaging was bad just like the rest of the team, but they were alright in the field and good in the lineouts. Both are still young and if they can show improvement over the next year, especially in the scrum, they could get a shot at the Eagles. They definitely have a long way to go, but they showed potential.
Miles Craigwell: Coming into the tournament known as a 7’s player, Craigwell showed himself to be a good XV’s player as well. He didn’t see much of the ball, but when he did he was solid. This tournament may not put him into the Eagles, but if the team were to suffer injuries, it’s nice to know that Craigwell would at least be solid.
Chris Chapman: Chapman played well when he had the ball and was one of only a few players to be able to deal with the pace of play at the tournament. He played strong defense and had good runs. However, coming in as one of the more touted players on the team, he didn’t quite live up to expectations.
Derek Asbun: As one of the few capped Eagles on the team, Asbun was looked to be one of the better players for the team. While he didn’t shine as one of the best players at the tournament, he wasn’t bad either. An ankle injury limited his time on the pitch, which was unfortunate, but when he played he showed that he has improved as a hooker. His scrimmaging will need improvement.
Tom Katzfey: Again, solid but not spectacular. Katzfey showed some versatility at the tournament which should help him gain consideration for the Eagles.
Gearoid McDonald: The young fly-half did some things well, but also struggled mightily in other aspects, especially goal-kicking. However, he’s still very young and came into the tournament as a last minute call-up. He may not have shown himself as a player that could immediately contribute for the Eagles, but he didn’t show himself to be a waste of time either.
Kris Headlee and Zach Mizell: Good, but not great. They played well at times and seemed to adjust to the pace of play better than others. Still, they need to show more.
John Quill: Quill actually played well on his U.S. debut, but getting a reckless red card was the last thing the Selects needed. Quill should learn from the mistake and should be on the Eagles fall roster.
Cornelius Dirksen: Like the other wings on the team, Dirksen didn't see much of the ball. However, he did show himself to be an intelligent player and could earn a call-in.
Nick Wallace and Tim Paulsen: With good props desperately needed in the Eagles pool, Wallace and Paulsen had some positive moments, but were overall not up to the task. Wallace is still young and has room to improve while Paulsen was the best scrummager on the team. Still, it wasn’t enough.
Benny Mateialona: It was an alright first look for Mateialona, but he didn’t really make himself shine. It could cost him another opportunity at a call-up.
Zach Pangelinan: Coming back from the kind of injury that Pangelinan suffered is not easy. It might be best for him to stick to 7’s right now. Maybe in a couple of years he’ll get a chance to return. His kicking was decent.
Zach Fenoglio, Stan Moaalii, and Anthony Purpura: Simply, this group of players failed to grab their opportunity and it’s hard to see them getting another look, at least for awhile.
Taylor Mokate: Injuries took Mokate out of much of the tournament, but when he was in the game Mokate had a difficult time. In particular, he continually knocked the ball on, killing many opportunities for the Selects to attack and gifting their opponents’ opportunities. He did this in the summer as well. More was expected out of Mokate this tournament and he seemed to go backward.
Joe Cowley and Casey Clark: The two players hardly played.
Aaron Fry and Will Haydock: Called in as last-minute injury replacements and didn’t have an opportunity to show much.
Volney Rouse: Injury-forced him off the roster before the tournament began. It’s too bad as he was finally going to get a second opportunity to prove himself.
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