Tolkin Picks Eagles Starters To Face The All Blacks
As expected the Eagles have named their top team to face the All Blacks on Nov 1st
Via thisisamericanrugby.com Photo: Janet Young
The strongest area of the team will once again be lock and back-row. There were some questions whether Samu Manoa would start at lock or in the back-row but those have been answered as he’ll slide in at lock along with Hayden Smith.
The back-row has one surprise with Danny Barrett getting the nod at number eight over Cam Dolan who is not in the line-up thanks to a knee injury.
Todd Clever and Scott LaValla will return as flankers. Clever will once again captain the team. With few options otherwise the halfback pairing will be Adam Siddall and fly-half and Mike Petri at scrumhalf. For Siddall it will be his first return to the team since concussion issues kept him out of the summer tour. Last fall he was very strong and the team hopes he keeps up the same level of play.
Petri gets the nod at scrum half. After a shaky 2013 he rebounded with a solid summer showing.
The rest of the backs are as you would expect. Chris Wyles will line-up in his usual fullback spot while Blaine Scully and Brett Thompson are the wings. Andrew Suniula is once again the inside center and he’ll be paired with Seamus Kelly, who beat out Folau Niua for the spot. Niua is on the bench.
Up front will be the biggest worry for the Eagles in the match despite New Zealand staffing that area of the pitch with their least experienced players.
Head coach Mike Tolkin has elected to go with two of his best scrum players in Ollie Kilifi and Eric Fry. Phil Thiel will start at hooker. The bench will see Shalom Suniula provide cover at both scrumhalf and fly-half if needed. Nick Wallace and Mate Moeakiola, along with Tom Coolican are the options in the front row.
The rest of the bench sees Troy Hall and Niua as the only other options in the back with Lou Stanfill and Tai Tuisamoa filling in along the back-row and in the locks.
Forwards: Eric Fry, Phil Thiel, Ollie Kilifi, Samu Manoa, Hayden Smith, Todd Clever, Scott LaValla, Danny Barrett Backs: Mike Petri, Adam Siddall, Brett Thompson, Andrew Suniula, Seamus Kelly, Blaine Scully, Chris Wyles Bench: Tom Coolican, Nick Wallace, Mate Moeakiola, Tai Tuisamoa, Lou Stanfill, Shalom Suniula, Folau Niua, Troy Hall