Eagles in Brazil For Americas Rugby Championship Match

February 27, 2016

Eagles in Brazil For Americas Rugby Championship Match


Doug Coil

The Men’s Eagles will take on Brazil in a fourth round Americas Rugby Championship match at Arena Barueri in São Paulo, Brazil Saturday, Feb. 27th and may be viewed live on ESPN 3 (WatchESPN.com) beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

The USA Men’s Eagles have opened the ARC with a home draw to Argentina, followed by wins at home against Canada and Chile and lead the standings with 13 points.

Head Coach John Mitchell and his coaching staff have seen many players earning new caps in this series, with professionals mainly available for a portion of the first three matches. While the overseas professionals have returned to their clubs, the  Newcastle Falcons have allowed Eric Fry to continue to represent his country throughout the remaining two matches in South America. The USA appreciates this, as Chris Baumann was injured last week and potential props are in short supply.

Fry has had very strong performances for the Eagles and is a leader in the forwards. He will begin the match as a reserve and be available as needed. Demecus Beach will earn his second cap for the USA at prop. Olive Kilifi will team with him at prop and captain the side.  Joe Taufete’e  will start at hooker for the third time in this competition.

John Mitchell praised the team and Olive and Joe, in particular saying that “the guys are getting better at ownership,because there’s an understanding, and Oli and Joe are two guys that love their teammates and care for them. Certainly guys that lead by example.”

The scrums have been very stable in this competition and the forwards have proven to be a force. Both Ben Landry and Brodie Orth have assisted in this at Lock. David Tameilau continues to perform well at No. 8.

This week will see the debut of flankers James King and Aladdin Schirmer. King has experience playing with the Blues and Rebels of Super Rugby, and has spent time in Japan’s Top League. Schirmer won the 2012 World Rugby U20 Trophy with the AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans alongside Kingsley McGowan and Mike Te’o, and has been capped on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The tournament has also taken its toll on the centers. Chad London has been outstanding, but will find himself as a reserve. Andrew Suniula, who holds the most international appearances in the XV joins the team for the South American portion of the tour. Suniula was with the Eagles at Rugby World Cup 2015, and brings a veteran presence of two World Cup appearances and 38 caps.

Joining him as a center will be Mike Garrity. Mike returns to the lineup after a game’s absence. Ryan Matyas and Kinsley McGowan will patrol the wings. Jake Anderson will start his second match at full back.

The remaining starting backs will see Niku Kruger at scrumhalf and James Bird at flyhalf. Both have exhibited clutch performances. Tom Bliss is not available for Saturday’s match due to injury, but JP Eloff, Mike Te’o, Chad London and Tim Stanfill are available as reserves.

John Mitchell has used the ARC to gain insight into players and their performance under fire. He said “it’s a bit of a mixture of managing guys that have a lot of load and also looking forward to giving other players the opportunity. We’re also looking forward to seeing if they’ve learned from their previous performances in some of the areas of the game that we wanted improved.”

Two weeks ago, the USA MJAAs won the U20 Trophy qualifier in dramatic fashion over Canada. Hanco Germishuys, was all over the pitch in that effort. He and All-American Cameron Falcon could earn their first caps from the reserves Saturday. Should Germishuys enter the match, he would join MJAA Lorenzo Thomas in making his Eagles debut during the competition.

Cameron Falcon and Mike Sosene-Feagai are both Hooker replacements.

The Eagles are a young and hungry team. Twenty new caps have been awarded in two win against Canada and Chile. The match against Argentina was not considered a test match, as many of their players are playing for the Jaguares in Super Rugby. The starting XV average less than 25 years of age.

Mitchell added “the more we look at [the Chile win]– we were very honest and not okay with our overall performance regardless of outcome. This week’s been a challenge, as well, because we’ve had players departing and bringing in younger players. It’s almost like a brand new week of installation.”

“But the culture and the climate of the group has been fantastic. There’s a sense within the group that, when you put on the American jersey, you’re going to give it everything and stick to what this team has started.”

The match against Brazil is an historic one. It is the first time that the teams have met in an international competition. The Eagles enter the match ranked 16th by World Rugby, while Brazil is 42nd.

The Eagles are in first place in the Americas Rugby Championship standings with 13 points, while Brazil is in sixth place with 2 points. Brazil have one win in the last ten international matches and that was against Colombia in December. They have had two narrow losses in this competition to both Chile and Uruguay and hope that the home crowd will see them perform well.


Brazil’s head coach Stefano Ambrosio has made seven changes in their squad from their loss last week to Canada. Wilton Rebolo, Yan Rosetti, and Lucas Abud will be the new fron row.  João Luiz da Ros will captain the Tupis at flanker and he will be joined by André Arruda who debuts.

The backs have returning starters brothers, Lucas and Moisés Duque at scrumhalf and flyhalf. Moisés previously was at center. Instead Martin Schaefer will be at inside center. Laurent Bourda-Couhet will be on the wing.

Diego López, Gabriel Paganini, and U20 standout Robert Tenório could see their first ARC action if they enter as reserves.

Brazil will miss David Harvey at flyhalf and as a kicker. His status for the remainder of the tournament is in doubt.

The Americas Rugby Championship has indicated that “with 26 places separating USA in 16th and Brazil in 42nd in the World Rugby Rankings, it is not possible for the Eagles to gain any rankings points with victory in São Paulo this weekend. However, a loss to the lower-ranked Tupis would see them leapfrogged by a victorious Romania. The Oaks play local rivals Russia on Saturday in the European Nations Cup.”

“With anything from two to three full rankings points on offer, Brazil will be well-rewarded for victory. A win of 15 points or less would see them climb four places to 38th. A win by an even bigger margin would result in an eight-place improvement.”

The match takes place at Arena Barueri in São Paulo, kickoff at 8pm local, 6pm EST. It may be viewed live on ESPN 3 (WatchESPN.com).

Referee: Chris Assmus (Canada). Assistants: Henrique Platais and Ricardo Sant’ Anna (both Brazil)

USA Men’s Eagles: 1 Demecus Beach 2 Joe Taufetee 3 Olive Kilifi (cap) 4 Brodie Orth 5 Ben Landry 6 James King 7 Aladdin Schirmer 8 David Tameilau 9 Niku Kruger 10 James Bird 11 Ryan Matyas 12 Andrew Sunuila 13 Mike Garrity 14 Kingsley McGowan 15 Jake Anderson 16 Cameron Falcon 17 Mike Sosene-Feagai 18 Eric Fry 19 Hanco Germishuys 20 Mike Te’o 21 JP Eloff 22 Tim Stanfill 23 Chad London

Men’s Eagles Coaching Staff: John Mitchell – Head Coach, Ass’ts: Phil Greening, Marty Veale, Rob Hoadley, Strength and Conditioning – Dave Williams, Video Analyst – Paul Goulding and Team Mgr: Sean Lindersmith

Brazil: 1 Lucas Abud 2 Yan Rosetti 3 Wilton Rebolo 4 Lucas Piero Moraes 5 Luis Vieira 6 Andre Arruda 7 Joao Luiz das Ros 8 Nicholas Smith 9 Lucas Duque 10 Moises Duque 11 Laurent Couhet 12 Martin Schaefer 13 Felipe Sancery 14 Stefano Giantorno 15 Daniel Sancery. Res: 16 Daniel Danielewicz 17 Caique Silva 18 Jonatas Paulo 19 Diego López 20 Gabriel Paganini 21 Guilherme Coghetto 22 Johannes Beukes Cremer 23 Robert Tenorio

Other Americas Rugby Championship matches this weekend include Chile v Uruguay and Argentina v Canada.

Men’s Eagles Americas Rugby Championship 2016
v. Argentina – D 35-35
v. Canada – W 30-22
v. Chile – W 64-0
v. Brazil – Saturday, Feb. 27 @ 6 p.m. ET – Arena Barueri (São Paolo, Brazil)
v. Uruguay – Saturday, March 5 @ 4:10 p.m. ET – Charrua Stadium (Montevideo, Uruguay)


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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant