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Ex-Connacht academy back Leader receives USA Eagles call-up

The Galway native qualified through residency last September.

FORMER CONNACHT ACAMDEY back Tadhg Leader has joined the growing number of Irish exiles in the USA Eagles squad, after the Galway native received a call-up for the Rugby Americas Championship.

26-year-old Leader qualifies for the US under residency rules having spent the last four years Stateside. He currently plies his trade for Major League Rugby outfit the New England Free Jacks.

Tadhg Leader Leader with the Eagles squad at the Aviva Stadium last November. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Out-half Leader is in line to make his international debut for the Eagles when Gary Gold’s side begin the defence of their Rugby Americas Championship title against Chile on Saturday 2 February.

Leader, who is an older brother of Connacht fullback Daragh, is joined in Gold’s 38-man panel by AJ MacGinty, Dylan Fawsitt, Paul Mullen and John Quill.

Sale out-half MacGinty is nearing his comeback following shoulder surgery and is return to fitness will be a big boost for the Eagles, who are coming off the back of their most successful season in 2018.

As well as winning all five of their Rugby Americas Championship matches, Gold’s charges claimed first-ever wins over Scotland and Samoa, while pushing Joe Schmidt’s Ireland in the November Test at the Aviva Stadium, before the hosts cut loose in the second half. 

USA face Chile in Santiago before games against an Argentina XV, Brazil, Uruguay and Canada as they bid to win a third consecutive title.

USA Eagles squad:

David Ainuu (Toulouse), Malon Al-Jiboori (Glendale Raptors), Nick Boyer (San Diego Legion), Marcel Brache (Western Force), Bryce Campbell (London Irish), Nick Civetta (Doncaster Knights), Shaun Davies (Glendale Raptors), Ruben de Haas (Free State Cheetahs), Cam Dolan (NOLA Gold), Dylan Fawsitt (Rugby United New York), Hanco Germishuys (Glendale Raptors), James Hilterbrand (Manly Marlins), Luke Hume (Rugby United New York), Will Hooley (Bedford Blues), Titi Lamositele (Saracens), Ben Landry (Ealing Trailfinders), Paul Lasike (Harlequins), Tadhg Leader (New England Free Jack), AJ MacGinty (Sale Sharks), Will Magie (Glendale Raptors), Peter Malcolm (Austin Elite), Samu Manoa (Unattached), Ryan Matyas (San Diego Legion), Tim Maupin (NOLA Gold), Gannon Moore (Utah Warriors), Paul Mullen (Houston Sabercats), Greg Peterson (Bordeaux Bégles), Kapeli Pifeleti (San Diego Legion), John Quill (Rugby United New York), Tevita Tameilau (Glasgow Warriors), Joe Taufete’e (Worcester Warriors), Mike Te’o (San Diego Legion), Duncan Van Schalkwyk (Life University), Dino Waldren (London Scottish), Chance Wenglewski (Lindenwood University). 

Ahead of the final weekend of European pool games, Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey look at what each of the provinces can expect, and who impressed last weekend:

Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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Ryan Bailey

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