USA Men’s National 15s head coach Gary Gold has added three more players to the Eagles squad for Chicago.
Tony Purpura returns to the fold at prop. The former University of Maine standout is a big rock of a player who will be there to add scrum and maul power.
Nate Brakeley, who played his high school rugby at St. John’s in Massachusetts and then was an All American at Dartmouth (before earning his Cambridge Blue), is a smart, versatile forward who can line up as a lock or at blindside flanker. Tall and strong, he defends well and is useful in the lineout.
Mika Kruse was a High School All American while at Bullard HS in Northern California. His younger brother, Isaiah, just played for the USA at the Youth Olympics. Kruse the older (and there are two more younger brothers, by the way) came to notice back in 2015 https://www.goffrugbyreport.com/news/bullard-finds-way-compete-tough-norcal-dii
He is a very elusive flyhalf/center who, at 20, was a key component of the Glendale Raptors MLR team. While the USA Selects didn’t play particularly well at the Americas Pacific Challenge, Kruse, who got a start against Argentina XV, was electric.
The selections are mostly about depth. Purpura fleshes out the front row; Brakeley can cover a large chunk of the pack; Kruse is adept at 10, 12, 13 and possibly more thanks to his quickness and skill set, and bravery in defense.
As FloRugby has said before, the USA is a little light in the centers, so who patrols the midfield will be an ongoing question.