Americas Rugby Championship Preview: USA Eagles – Canada

February 12, 2016

Americas Rugby Championship Preview: USA Eagles – Canada

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Doug Coil

The United States Men’s Eagles play rival Canada Saturday at 7pm ET at Dell Diamond Stadium in Round Rock, Texas. The match may be viewed on ESPN 3 at WatchESPN.com and re-aired on ESPN Sunday at 8:30pm ET.

The Eagles enter the match tied with Argentina for third in the Americas Rugby Championship with 3 points after an exciting 35-35 draw against Argentina XV last week. Read DJCoil Rugby recap article. Canada won their match against Uruguay 33-17 and are in first place with 5 points.

Ten new caps will be awarded for the USA Men’s Eagles Saturday. Todd Clever will captain the side and Eric Fry (Prop) and Lemoto Filiktonga (Inside Center) will serve as Vice captains.

John Mitchell indicated that “we want to grow the leadership group. It’s not just about one person – he needs to be supported by others. We have some diversity in our group, as well. Shared leadership, a sort of co-captaincy, is something that suits certain groups these days and we have the right people to help the younger players through something that’s new for them.”

Todd Clever, Eric Fry, Chris Baumann, Chad London and Luke Hume has previous caps for the Eagles, while the other ten starters will receive their first this match. The changes reflect just six through from last week’s match against Argentina, as the match did not count as a test match. More more reserves could also gain caps if they enter the match. The players include Patrick Blair, JP Eloff, Mike Garrity, Alec Gletzer and James Hilterbrand.

Last week Eric Fry had a tremendous match. He has been a leader in the pack for some time. It is good to see that leadership recognized and rewarded under John Mitchell.

Several of the USA professionals returned to their clubs in Cam Dolan, Taku Ngwenya, Grep Peterson, Blaine Scully and Titi Lamositele. Mitchell went on to say “the way we think now is actually about creating a team mix as we’re not in a position where we know what our No. 1 team is. It’s a matter of developing the depth and making sure we get to see everyone under pressure.”

“We’ve got five matches [in the competition], so obviously we want people fresh in there, as well. We don’t want to tailor off; we want to get better as we go – physically, mentally, and in rugby performance.”

The USA squad will include three additions in Nate Brakely and Aaron Davis (NYAC) and Cameron Falcon (USA Sevens Pool). Bruce Thomas (SFGG Rhinos) and Matt Trouville (Seattle Saracens) are injured, while Titi Lamositele returns to the Saracens.

The backrow will have an imposing presence as David Tameilau and Todd Clever had stellar performances last week. They are joined by Nate Brakely from NYAC. Brodie Orth also impressed at Lock and returns to start again.

Mike Te’o will distribute the ball from scrumahlf. He entered the match late last week in place of Niku Kruger. Old Blue’s James Bird will link up with Te’o at flyhalf and is a kicking force. He accounted for 15 of the 35 points against Argentina and also assisted the attack with his strategic kicking. It will also be good to see Like Hume return to the team on wing. He is healthy now and is a seasoned veteran who last played in 2014.

Canada

Canada’s Senior Men’s interim head coach Francois Ratier has made just one change ahead of Saturday’s Americas Rugby Championship test match against the USA.

Alistair Clark, who scored a try on debut last weekend in Canada’s 33-17 win over Uruguay, replaces Kyle Gilmour, who is unavailable due to an injury, at openside flanker in the starting XV. Liam Chisholm was added to the bench.

“We arrived Tuesday and so far training has gone very well,” Ratier said. “We’re keen to build off of our performance against Uruguay.

“Besides Kyle, the team is healthy so we had no reason to change the roster. The more they play together the more they will find their timing.”

The tight five remain the same, as Captain Hubert Buydens, Ray Barkwill, Jake Ilnicki, Callum Morrison and Paul Ciulini remain starters. Clark is joined by Lucas Rumball at blindside flanker with Clay Panga at no.8.

The scrum half to flyhalf connection will be Gordon McRorie, who kicked eight points against Uruguay, and Gradyn Bowd. Dan Moor and Phil Mackenzie are the wings with Mozac Samson and Nick Blevins as the centers. Pat Parfrey starts at fullback.

Canada ran in five tries against Uruguay. Debutant Dan Moor had a pair of tries while Clark also touched down less than two minutes into his test debut. Veterans Mackenzie and Blevins also scored tries.

Ratier commented on the Eagles, “we know that they are a physical side and are efficient at the breakdown.They will provide strong opposition for us.”

Men’s Eagles:  1. Eric Fry 2. Mike Sosene-Feagai 3. Chris Baumann 4. Brodie Orth 5. Ben Landry 6. Nate Brakeley 7. Todd Clever (C) 8. David Tameilau 9. Mike Te’o 10. James Bird 11. Kingsley McGowan 12. Lemoto Filikitonga 13. Chad London 14. Luke Hume 15. Jake Anderson 16. Joseph Taufete’e 17. Olive Kilifi 18. James Hilterbrand 19. Patrick Blair 20. Alec Gletzer 21. Niku Kruger 22. JP Eloff 23. Mike Garrity

Canada: 1 Hubert Buydens (C) 2 Ray Barkwill 3 Jake Ilnicki 4 Paul Ciulini 5 Callum Morrison 6 Lucas Rumball 7 Alistair Clark 8 Clay Panga 9 Gordon McRorie 10 Gradyn Bowd 11 Dan Moor 12 Nick Blevins 13 Mozac Samson 14 Phil Mackenzie 15 Patrick Parfrey 16 Eric Howard 17 Djustice Sears-Duru 18 Rob Brouwer 19 Kyle Baillie 20 Liam Chisholm 21 Mike Hamson 22 Andrew Ferguson 23 Duncan Maguire

Other Americas Rugby Championship Matches

Brazil – Uruguay Preview- Feb 12

Argentina – Chile Preview -Feb 13

Americas Rugby Championship February 6 – March 5, 2016

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant