Wed 09 May
The American National Rugby League has named a 19-man USA Tomahawks squad for the Ohana Cup Test match against Tonga.
The squad, which includes 13 selected from the successful Donnybrook Cup side, is dominated by Hawaii-based players as the game, to be played on Saturday, May 12, will be staged in Honolulu.
Seven of them have been bracketed in the squad, including former University of Hawaii and NFL player Leonard Peters. The ex-Warriors star, who was on the Chicago Bears practice squad, has been part of USA Rugby Eagles teams in the past three years.
Also in the squad from Hawaii are Dusten Umeda, a USA Sevens pool player and Tala Esera, another former football player from UH who had stints professionally with NFL teams Miami and Philadelphia.
Anthony Sunia, who previously played in the AMNRL and who has relocated to Hawaii and Mosese Uitalia are listed as shadow reserves.
American Samoa is also represented with two players in the 19. The vastly experienced Keiki Misipeka and teenager Henry Leatio'o have been drafted into the squad from the US Pacific colony. At 6’ 4” and 240lbs, 19-year old Leatio'o is literally a huge talent.
“I’m really looking forward to working with much of the same squad of players from the Donnybrook Cup with the inclusion of new players from Hawaii and American Samoa,” said Tomahawks coach Marcus Vassilakopoulos.
“We have such a diverse wealth of talent to choose from these days, it will definitely make our job harder to pick a squad for future matches with every game an audition for 2013 World Cup spots.”
The squad will be trimmed to a 17-man game day line-up for the match. The inaugural Ohana Cup Test is set for a 7pm kickoff local time at Kaiser Stadium in Honolulu.
USA TOMAHAWKS SQUAD:
Kenny Britt (FL), Apple Pope (FL), Keiki Misipeka (American Samoa), Henry Leatio'o (American Samoa), Curtis Cunz (CT), Matt Walsh (CT), Sean Taylor (NY), John Dykeman (NY), Justin Ripley (NY), Andrew Kneisly (PA), Vai Notoa (HA), Kelly McGill (HA), Salesi Tongamoa (GA), Tala Esera (HA), Dusten Umeda (HA), Ian Elliott (NY), Leonard Peters (HA), Mosese Uitalia (HA)*, Anthony Sunia (HA)*
*denotes shadow reserve
Coach - Marcus Vassilakopoulos
Assistant Coach/Manager - David Niu
Presented by the American National Rugby League
USA Tomahawks v Mate Ma'a Tonga
Saturday, May 12 at Kaiser Stadium at 7:00pm