Four Utah Warriors Named To USA Men’s XVs National Team Roster
CHERRY HILL, Colo. – The USA Men’s XVs National Team has announced their 30-man roster that features four members of the Utah Warriors. The roster will represent the United States on the team’s United Kingdom tour next month.
Among the 30 players selected to travel with USA Rugby are Utah Warriors fullback Mikey Te’o, wing Mika Kruse, scrum-half Michael Baska and prop Paul Mullen.
“It’s a great honor to have two previous Eagles on our roster in Paul Mullen and Mikey Te’o and it’s equally exciting to see the adventure that Micahel Baska and Mika Kruse are about to begin in international rugby,” said Utah Warriors General Manager Brandon Sparks. “These four selections reinforce the culture we are creating here in Utah and the process we have begun of becoming the epicenter of rugby in North America.”
The team will travel to the United Kingdom to face off against England on July 4 and Ireland on July 10. The two matches will mark the first time the Eagles have played since Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
“It’s great to see so many Utah Players being selected to the Summer tests,” said Warriors Head Coach Shawn Pittman. “We’re really fortunate to have these four players be a part of our program and the rest of the team is backing them 100%. With this being Michael Baska’s and Mika Kruse’s first selection to the tour roster, I’m looking forward to those two being a part of the program for years to come. Mikey Te’o and Paul Mullen have worked really hard over the last few months to get back into test match shape and you can really see them coming into form now, so I can’t wait to see how they perform for the Eagles.”
Mullen, a first-year prop for the Warriors, is USA Eagle #525 after making his debut on June 9, 2018 against Russia.
“It’s a tremendous honor to represent the USA,” said Mullen. “It’s been almost a year-and-a-half since the national team has played together and I could not be more excited to link up with the lads again for the Summer tour.”
Joining Mullen on the tour will be USA Eagle #476 and Warriors’ back-three player Mikey Te’o, who is currently tied for sixth-most tries scored in Major League Rugby this season with six.
“I am excited to represent my Country, my family all over the world, my Utah Warriors team and everyone that has helped push me get to this amazing dream that I am living especially my wonderful wife Clara,” said Te’o. “It is always a special moment to put on the USA jersey and I hope I can bring the many God given talents to the team for this tour.”
Utah Assistant Coach Shaun Davies says that he’s pleased to see four Warriors named to the USA 31-man roster after Utah has emphasized developing domestic talent.
“It’s very exciting to have four of the guys be selected to travel with the USA rugby team this summer, we’re a team that wants to develop domestic players and I’m extremely proud of that,” said Davies. “I expected Mikey and Paul to make the traveling squad as they’re senior players. But to have two first-time selections is special.”
While Mullen and Te’o have previous USA Eagle experience, wing Mika Kruse and scrum-half Michael Baska are looking to make their first-ever appearance for the USA Men’s XVs National Team.
“Since I started playing rugby in 2011 it has been my dream to play for the Eagles,” said Baska. “I am extremely honored and excited for the opportunity to represent my country this summer.”
“Mika has all the talent in the world and I’m expecting big things from him at the next level,” said Davies. “He has that something you can’t coach. Every time he gets the ball you’re sitting on the edge of your seat expecting something to happen. And I am especially proud of Baska and the work he’s put in to make this goal a reality. No one deserves a shot at that level more than him and I expect him to perform very well in the USA rugby systems they have.”