The USA Tomahawks have a few late changes to the lineup to face the Canadian Wolverines at Lamport Stadium this Saturday in Game One of the Colonial Cup at 7pm. In line with the policy to blood new talent and evaluate different players in each game of the series with Canada, the US coaching staff have listed a squad full of players keen to impress on the international stage.
The US lineup will feature no fewer then eight players playing in their first or second full international. Vai Natoa and Kevin Wiggins are withdrawls from the eighteen man lineup giving Bulls flyer Alejandro Valentin the opportunity to come into the squad of seventeen. The inexperienced American players will be fully challenged by their northern neighbors in what will be an ideal test of their skill and toughness.
Nineteen year old Dennis Schmeiler is an outstanding young talent who has caught the eye of selectors with his dazzling speed and footwork. He will make his international debut on the wing along with fellow Wildcat Mike Schacter. Schacter has been a dominant force in the front row in club rugby league for the past couple of seasons and has a big future standing at 6'3" and weighing 240lbs. Ben Sadgrove and Todd Fisher will be the other debutants after starring for the New York Knights. Sadgrove is a big, hard hitting second row who will be a handful for the Canadians with his charging runs and brutal front on defence. Fisher is one of the most skillful and crafty play makers in the US who won't be overawed by the occassion in the role of guiding the US team around the paddock. Dusten Umeda will get a chance to display his electric speed and footwork having relocated from Hawaii to Connecticut. His last international was against Tonga where he showed that given half an opening he will make the opposition pay.
Bryan Confer makes a return to the international game after appearing for the US on the tour of England for the 2008 RLWC Qualifier against Samoa. An experienced, whole hearted performer, he will be called on to share the workload up front with hardened internationals Kelly McGill, John Dykeman, and Justin Ripley. Confer is not the only player who has forced his way back into the team through high level play in the domestic competition. Fitz James Adams will have a chance to show his class at fullback after previously playing on the wing. A dynamic returner of kicks and support runner he will be determined to push his claims for future selection. Louis Tulio, Gareth Baxendale and Curtis Cunz will provide the experience and leadership having won Atlantic Cups and prior victories over Canada.
Matt Walsh, Luke Collins, and Sean Taylor will provide the direction and thrust for the US offense. Experienced and skillful, all three will be called on to lead the young and inexperienced American team in what should be a thrilling battle with the Wolverines.