USA Men's Eagles ready for final qualifier first round against Kenya as match day 23 is confirmed

Colton Strickler
Colton Strickler

The Men’s Eagles will enter their third opportunity at Rugby World Cup qualification this Sunday as they take the pitch against Kenya for the first of three round-robin matches at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai.

While USA vs Kenya is traditionally a sevens match up for USA Eagles fans, as this will be the first time these nations have ever met on the Men’s fifteens pitch, this match should prove to be just as explosive and inspiring with the physical talent on each side. USA vs Kenya kicks off at 7AM ET this Sunday, live and on demand on The Rugby Network.

Head Coach Gary Gold ahead of round one against Kenya:

“We’re very happy to finally be here in Dubai, there has been a lot of build up and preparation to this point, so we’re eager to get underway. We have the full group together now, with the European guys joining our core of players from South Africa. Both matches in Bloemfontein were a great assessment for us, working through our systems and combinations as we fine tune for these next few weeks.

The coaches and I have been really happy with the energy of the squad so far, this is a unique series as we play a group of teams we’re not traditionally paired with. Kenya will bring a fast-paced game, we expect them to be physical and take their chances with ball in hand, but the guys are altogether focused on their own game and playing to those strengths this Sunday.”

Match Preview

Having just joined the squad this week after his club duties in Bristol, AJ MacGinty will come off the bench and give way to veteran Marcel Brache as Captain for this first round. MacGinty said ahead of the match, "We feel pretty good, it is an incredible place and preparations have been very good. Qualifying means everything, as a young kid playing the game this is what you dream of. This opportunity ahead of us is a massive one, I feel privileged to be here and excited to get going. We have had five weeks to get there in camps, so the mood is good, the lads have worked really hard, building confidence, and we are excited about the games ahead."

Five USA Eagle debuts are on deck as Viliami Helu, Mitch Wilson, Jack Iscaro, Cory Daniel and Ryan Rees are named to the starting fifteen. Wilson played with the Senior National Team against the French Barbarians in Houston this past July, however this will be his test match debut. Cam Dolan moves from his traditional No. 8 position to Lock in the absence of injured Nick Civetta, though a familiar position Dolan played during the exhibition games in South Africa and a few times this season with NOLA Gold.

With a few sevens veterans on the Kenyan side, pace and physicality in space will be a factor come Sunday. Well conditioned after multiple weeks in assembly since September, the USA will otherwise match up well with the speedy play and make for an exciting 80 minutes.

1. Jack Iscaro Old Glory DC USA Debut
2. Dylan Fawsitt Rugby New York 20
3. Paul Mullen Utah Warriors 27
4. CC Mahoni Houston Sabercats 7
5. Cam Dolan NOLA Gold 60
6. Viliami Helu Rugby ATL USA debut
7. Cory Daniel Old Glory DC USA Debut
8. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz Old Glory DC 6
9. Ryan Rees Rugby ATL USA Debut
10. Luke Carty MLR 8
11. Nate Augspurger San Diego Legion 33
12. Paul Lasike Utah Warriors 19
13. Marcel Brache (C) San Diego Legion 30
14. Christian Dyer Houston Sabercats 8
15. Mitch Wilson New England Free Jacks USA Debut
16. Mikey Sosene-Feagai Agen (FRA) 7
17. David Ainu’u Toulouse (FRA) 17
18. Nate Sylvia San Diego Legion USA Debut
19. Greg Peterson Newcastle (UK) 36
20. Tesimoni Tonga’uiha NOLA Gold 3
21. Ruben De Haas Saracens (UK) 25
22. Bryce Campbell MLR 41
23. AJ MacGinty Bristol Bears (UK) 32


Head Coach | Gary Gold

Assistant Coach | Mario Ledesma

Assistant Coach | Steve Brett

Assistant Coach | John Plumtree

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan

Strength & Conditioning Coach | Calvin Morris

Analyst | Jimmy Harrison

Head Physiotherapist | Kristen Douhan

Physiotherapist | Ron Klingensmith

Sports Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz

Team Doctor | Marc Kowalsky

Team Manager | Oscar Alvarez

USA vs Kenya

Sunday, Nov 6 | 7:00 AM ET

Live on The Rugby Network

USA vs Hong Kong

Saturday, Nov 12 | 9:30 AM ET

Live on The Rugby Network

USA vs Portugal

Friday, Nov 18 | 10:30 AM ET

Live on The Rugby Network