Rugby World Cup 2019: Kiwi Paul Lasike included in USA's 31-man squad

Kiwi and former NFL player Paul Lasike has been named in the 31-man USA quad for the looming Rugby World Cup in Japan.

He is one of two NZ-born players to feature, along with loose forward Tony Lamborn. 

Overall, coach Gary Gold opted to select an extra forward in their team, saying he made the decision in the expectation of an attritional campaign.

"We've gone with 18 forwards and 13 backs," Gold said.

"We think that the attrition for this rugby World Cup, especially our pool, is going to take it out of our forwards, so we've gone with an extra forward.

"We've got good depth in almost every position, I think we're well covered. Where I think we are very lucky is that we've got quite a few guys who can play in multiple positions."

The Eagles are in a tough Group C, with England, France, Argentina and Tonga.

They play their opening match against Eddie Jones' highly-fancied England in Kobe on September 26.

The USA squad features players who have accumulated 677 test caps among them, including 10 who have played in a previous World Cup and three selected for a third campaign - captain Blaine Scully, Eric Fry and Thretton Palamo.

In 2007, centre Palamo was the youngest to ever play in a World Cup.

The Eagles have played in all-but one World Cup since the event's inception in 1987, but have never won more than one game in a single campaign.

Yet the Eagles will head to Japan encouraged by the way they came from behind to claim a dramatic 20-15 victory over Canada in Vancouver, their third win over their North American rivals this year.

Afterwards, coach Gold said that his team would still need to improve to compete with the game's big dogs.

"The lessons we learned tonight were very clear," he said. "We can't be making errors like that, giving penalties away and giving teams like Canada field position, where they can play and put us under pressure.

"With respect, in our pool, if we do that against teams we are going to play against, it's going to be a very long night."

USA World Cup squad:

 

Forwards: David Ainu'u, Malon Al-Jiboori, Nate Brakeley, Nick Civetta, Cam Dolan, Dylan Fawsitt, Eric Fry, Hanco Germishuys, James Hilterbrand, Olive Kilifi, Tony Lamborn, Titi Lamositele, Ben Landry, Paul Mullen, Gregor Peterson, Ben Pinkelman, John Quill, Joseph Taufete'e

Backs: Blaine Scully, Nate Augspurger, Marcel Brache, Bryce Campbell, Shaun Davies, Ruben De Haas, Will Hooley, Martin Iosefo, Paul Lasike, AJ MacGinty, Will Magie, Thretton Palamo, Mike Te'o.

Reuters 

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