The Summer Test Series is a final proving ground for players trying to make the roster for the Rugby World Cup, for a few players it’s the first and only chance to make the squad.
For the last 18 months, Nick Civetta made the lineout calls for the Eagles. Civetta health is now in doubt after an ankle injury suffered July 27 against Canada.
The Eagles not only need a lineout jumpman, but a player with the expertise to make the calls. Could there be a solution waiting to join the team in the upcoming camp?
Riekert Hattingh - (USA, Seawolves)
Riekert Hattingh is uncapped, but only because of World Rugby residency rules. On June 1st, Hattingh was granted eligibility giving him just one month to make the Eagle roster.
Hattingh is a native South African loose forward and two-time MLR champion with the Seattle Seawolves. Hattingh led the Ohio Aviators to the championship match as the starting no. 8 in PRO Rugby's first and only season.
For the inaugural MLR season, the Seawolves prospective head coach was turned away due to an issue with his visa and Hattingh was called upon to pull double duties as a player and forwards coach.
Hattingh is the biggest unknown on Gary Gold’s Rugby World Cup preliminary training squad, but with Civetta out for the foreseeable future and Samu Manoa's recent retirement, the Eagles options grow thin.
At 6’5” 235lbs Hattingh is hard to miss on the pitch, especially at the very peak of the lineout. Hattingh is a capable ball carrier, but it is his expertise in the lineout and authority in the maul that will help him challenge for a spot in the lineup against Canada on September 7, and potentially to Tokyo.