Leeds Carnegie prop Mike MacDonald admits he is excited about the forthcoming World Cup in New Zealand, the third of his career for the USA.
MacDonald has returned to Yorkshire for a fortnight to join up with his club mates for pre-season training after a well earned holiday back in California. He will then meet up with Eddie O'Sullivan's Eagles for warm up games against old adversary Canada and Japan before they the tournament gets underway in New Zealand.
Looking ahead to the tournament MacDonald said, "I am really looking forward to being involved with the USA again having missed out on the Churchill Cup this summer. Our aim will be to keep building on our performances during the tournament, I think we will get stronger with the more games we have together and there are couple of games against Russia and Italy that will be big challenges for us as well as taking on the might of Ireland and Australia."
MacDonald is now one of the longest serving players at Leeds Carnegie having agreed to stay at the club following relegation from the Aviva Premiership last season. He originally joined Leeds back in 2006 and says that he is looking forward to coming back to the club to help with the promotion drive this season. He added, "I think the biggest difference between this squad and previous ones I have been part of is that we are a very young squad. I think we have probably brought the average age of the squad down by a three or four years this summer but there is a fantastic atmosphere within the group. Everyone is passionate about the job we have to do this year and I am looking forward to coming back after the World Cup and helping us with the challenge we have in front of us."
Yorkshire Carnegie stars Jonah Holmes and Ryan Burrows both missed out at the RPA Players Awards 2016 to Bristol Jack Lam as the Greene King IPA Championship Player of the Year, as voted for by their fellow players.