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Checking in With North Americans Overseas

Friday Jul 31, 2009 in Elite Level Rugby Overseas Pros

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(Salesi Sika back at Castres)

The fall season for North Americans playing overseas is fast approaching, and of course has started for some in the Southern Hemisphere.

USA captain Todd Clever got his first taste of Currie Cup a week ago, stepping on a sub on the wing, of all places.

“Not ideal but it was great just being out there,” Clever told ERugbyNews. “I had a few touches of the ball and we won with a bonus point so it was happy days.”

Clever will not be in the lineup this weekend, as he still needs to recover from a hectic USA campaign and is working on bulking up for the grueling Currie Cup campaign. He is expected to play against Boland on Friday, August 7.

Also in South Africa, Chad Erskine is with Eastern Province in the Currie Cup DI. They do not play this weekend.

Currently, there are 40 North Americans playing professionally or in other serious-level competitions overseas (17 American, 23 Canadian). Among those who have made moves, previous USA flanker Inaki Basauri, who struggled for playing time with Agen, has moved to Lannemezan, newly promoted to France’s Pro D2.

USA scrumhalf has switched from Esher to Bristol for the 2009-2010 season.

“Robbie Shaw will bring a running threat at scrumhalf and no will doubt learn a lot from Jason Spice,” said Bristol coach Paul Hull.

And Hanno Dirksen has moved from Truro College to the Swansea Academy. Word is former USA head coach Scott Johnson, who invited Dirksen to the academy, is grooming Dirksen to switch from the USA to Wales.

Johnson, who said when he left for the Ospreys job that he would do everything he could to help American players, apparently meant something other than what most assumed.

Meanwhile some other players are examining options. Paul Emerick is serving out his 10-week suspension, after which it’s expected he will have found a club to play for. USA prop Shawn Pittman, who played last season in Canada, is reported to be looking for a position overseas, and as a young tighthead he is in demand. Pat Danahy, who spent last season with Trinity in Ireland, is moving on.

North American players overseas (Red=Canadian, Blue=American)

Magners League  
Kevin Tkachuk - Glasgow Warriors 
DTH Van der Merwe – Glasgow Warriors

Guinness Championship      

Mike MacDonald – Prop – Leeds
Hayden Smith – Lock – Saracens
Chris Wyles – Wing/FB – Saracens
James Pritchard – Fullback - Bedford Blues        
Scott Franklin – Prop - Cornish Pirates      
Justin Mensah-Coker – Wing – Moseley 
Bryn Keys – Centre - Moseley       
Sean Michael Stephen – Back Row - Plymouth Albion 
Tyler Hotson – Lock - Plymouth Albion 
Stu Ault - Lock – Birmingham & Solihull 
Ryan Tomlinson - Centre - Birmingham-Solihull  
Oliver Atkinson – Lock – Coventry 
Aaron Carpenter - #8 – Coventry 
Phil MacKenzie – Wing - Coventry  
Adam Kleeberger – Back Row - Rotherham Titans 

English National Division One   
Chuck Baumberg – Flyhalf – Esher 
Robbie Shaw – Scrumhalf - Bristol
Tim Usasz – Scrumhalf - Nottingham
French Top 14  
Jamie Cudmore - Clermont Auvergne 
Takudzwa Ngwenya – Wing - Biarritz
Charles Sika  - Wing - Castres

French Div 2  
Inaki Basauri – Flanker - Lannemezan 
Josh Jackson – Lock - Bordeaux-Begles 
Luke Tait – Lock - Stade Montois 

Italian Super 10 
Phil Murphy – No. 8 – Viadana 
Michael Barbieri – Prop – Benetton Treviso 
College Players 
Scott LaValla -  Lock/Flanker/8 - Trinity
Will Johnson -  Prop  - Oxford
JJ Gagiani -  Flanker - Cape Town University
Stan McKeen – Flanker – Oxford University Law 
Matt Evans – Wing/FB - Hartpury College 

Academy Sides 
Hanno Dirksen – Flyhalf/Center – Swansea Academy
Richard Townsend – Gloucester Academy/Hartpury College

South Africa Currie Cup Premier
Todd Clever – Back Row – Xerox Lions

South Africa Currie Cup DI
Chad Erskine – Scrumhalf – Mighty Elephants

New Zealand Otago Premiership
Kelly Kolberg – Wing/Center - Harbour

Australia Queensland Premier
Mike Hercus – Flyhalf – Suncoast Stongrays

Australia Sydney Premier
Brian Doyle – Lock – Northern Suburbs

- Alex Goff
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