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NZ-born former NFL player Paul Lasike named in USA's Rugby World Cup squad

New Zealand-born former NFL player Paul Lasike has been named in a forwards-heavy USA Rugby World Cup squad this morning.

Lasike is one of just 13 backs selected for the Eagles' campaign in Japan after head coach Gary Gold opted for 18 forwards in his squad due to his expectations of a physical competition.

"We think that the attrition for this rugby World Cup, especially our pool, is going to take it out of our forwards, so we've gone with an extra forward," Gold said.

Lasike, 29, was selected after making his international debut in the midfield with the Eagles last year. Prior to that, he played two seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears as a fullback in the offence.

Gold said despite the disaparity in selections, he believes the team are covered across the board.

"We've got good depth in almost every position, I think we're well covered. Where I think we are very lucky is that we've got quite a few guys who can play in multiple positions."

The USA squad features players who have accumulated 677 test caps among them, including 10 who have played in a previous World Cup and three selected for a third campaign - captain Blaine Scully, Eric Fry and Thretton Palamo.

The Eagles are in a tough Group C, with England, France, Argentina and Tonga. They play their opening match against Eddie Jones' highly-fancied England in Kobe on September 26.

USA Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards: David Ainu'u, Malon Al-Jiboori, Nate Brakeley, Nick Civetta, Cam Dolan, Dylan Fawsitt, Eric Fry, Hanco Germishuys, James Hilterbrand, Olive Kilifi, Tony Lamborn, Titi Lamositele, Ben Landry, Paul Mullen, Gregor Peterson, Ben Pinkelman, John Quill, Joseph Taufete'e

Backs: Blaine Scully, Nate Augspurger, Marcel Brache, Bryce Campbell, Shaun Davies, Ruben De Haas, Will Hooley, Martin Iosefo, Paul Lasike, AJ MacGinty, Will Magie, Thretton Palamo, Mike Te'o.

Paul Lasike fends off a player in USA's match against Chile. Source: Getty