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Ronnie heading south to chase World Cup dream

Ronnie McLean’s hopes of winning a place in the USA Eagles squad for Rugby World Cup 2015 continue to grow after he was named in the Eagles Select XV Squad for the upcoming tour of South America.

McLean made his Test debut for the Eagles in their 20-14 loss to Fiji in November, a match in which he finished with four points having converted the USA’s two tries. 

Since then he took part in a training camp in Fort Lauderdale in February and he will again travel to Florida for a training camp. Following the camp the squad will head to South America where they will play Uruguay A in Montevideo and the Argentina Jaguars twice in Salta. 

“We’re in Uruguay for a week and Argentina for two weeks, so that will be pretty cool. I fly to Florida and we train as a team, then head off to Uruguay. 

“The Argentinians and the Uruguayans are hard men, so I’m anticipating a really physical tour.” 

The 29-year-old McLean will join up with a squad that features the instantly recognisable Eagles’ captain Todd Clever and their long-time scrumhalf Mike Petri. 

The likes of Northampton’s Samu Manoa, Saracens’ Chris Wyles and Stade Francais’ Scott La Valla will link up with the squad in the summer once the English and French league seasons are over. 

However, he hopes to be able to benefit from their experience by winning a place in the Pacific Nations Cup, where the USA will take on Canada, Tonga, Fiji, Japan and Samoa on the west coast of the States and Canada. 

“The biggest thing is to try and play as well as I can because the next tour is in July and that is the Pacific Nations Cup, ” he said. “If I do well now, potentially I will get involved with that tour and that tour will likely be the clincher for the World Cup squad. 

“This is crazy and such a good opportunity. The fact it could lead to the World Cup is brilliant. It will be tough – South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and Japan are in our pool – but I can’t really look that far yet.”

As someone who juggles a day job with training and playing, McLean has been fortunate that he has a sympathetic boss at Speakerbus Ltd, where he work as a production manager.  

“They’ve been amazing, ” he said. “We have a premises move and we’re busy at the moment, but I sat down with my boss and showed him the schedule and he said ‘we’ll do everything we can to get you out there’.”