With the news of Mike MacDonald retiring we thought it was time to look back at the top five retired Eagles.
5. Alex Parker: It’s easy to forget that Parker has the third most caps in Eagles history. He was never fancy but he always put everything he had on the field. His ability to stay healthy and fit was his hallmark as a player. It says a lot that he was still on the fringes of making the team for the 2011 World Cup. Of course, fitting for Parker, we was a key part of Taku Ngwenya’s try of the World Cup in 2007.
4. Luke Gross: Until MacDonald passed him at the 2011 World Cup Luke Gross was the most capped Eagle of all time with 62. After transferring from basketball Gross went on to have a stellar international career representing the U.S. at two World Cups. Professionally he was also a pioneer for Americans by spending time with Harlequins, Scarlets, Newcastle, and others.
3. Paul Emerick: Tied for number five on the all-time cap list with Dave Hodges at 53, Emerick embodied what it meant to be an Eagle. From an unheralded small university in Iowa he made his impact felt everywhere he went. Three World Cups, numerous professional clubs, and a tireless work rate. Sure, he would pick up a red card now and then but he was too valuable not to have on the team.
2. Mike MacDonald: Without question MacDonald will go down as the greatest prop in American history. The guy was simply a force on the rugby field. Even from his early days at Cal right up until his last match with the Eagles he always gave his best performance. Another veteran of three World Cups he arguably saved his best performance for the last when he was the Eagles player of the tournament. To top it off he earned the praise of many overseas and was named the captain of Leeds.
1. Dan Lyle: Crazy to think that Lyle didn’t take up rugby until he was 23 years old. Had he taken up the sport earlier there is no question he would have racked up more caps and more accolades. During his time as captain of the Eagles there was no one better. You aren’t named captain of Bath without earning it.
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