USA Rugby  

After finishing his club commitments in Italy, lock Luke Gross rejoined to the USA team for the second half of the Epson Cup campaign, including one home match against Samoa in San Francisco, CA.
Courtesy of Weber Shih, USA National Rugby Team
Cap Happy

Team Spirit, November, 2000

Eagles lock Luke Gross is closing in on the record for most appearances for the USA.

With 41 caps to his name, Gross is just four shy of the current mark held by wing Vaea Anitoni, who has hung up his international boots. Gross, meanwhile, will likely add a couple more notches to his belt on the November tour to Scotland and Wales.

If (or maybe ‘when’) Gross, reaches the record, it will be an exclamation point in a career that looks something like every boy’s sporting dream.

After a college basketball career at Indiana State, the 6’9” Gross took up rugby, and soon had a professional contract with London’s famed Harlequins. He now plays in Italy for Roma, who won Italy’s 1999-2000 club championship in June and are off to a good start in the new season.

“We’re in first place in our group after four rounds,” says Gross, “including a win against one of main rivals, Viadana. We played that one at our place, but we’re at their place in December which will be tough.”

At the international level, meanwhile, Gross has his eyes on the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He’s proved something of ironman for the Eagles since his debut in ’96, never missing a game through injury, and another Cup campaign seems more than possible. “I’d be 33, which is not too old,” muses Gross. “As long as I’m competitive and I’m enjoying the rugby, I’ll keep going.”

He also enjoys a good whiskey after a day’s work on the pitch. Presumably a dram will taste particularly smooth when Gross claims that American record.

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