Eagles Travel to Canada: Americas Rugby Championship Preview

February 17, 2017

Eagles Travel to Canada: Americas Rugby Championship Preview


Doug Coil

The USA Rugby Men’s Eagles travel to Burnaby, Canada for the third leg of the Americas Rugby Championship at Swangard Stadium on Saturday. The Eagles are tied for first place with Argentina XV with a 2-0 record and nine points in the standings. Canada is in third place with a 1-1 record and five points in the standings.

The match may be see live in Canada on TSN GO at 8pm ET/5pm PT and also on The Rugby Channel.

USA Men’s Eagles

Head coach John Mitchell has made six changes for the match swapping out the front row with Anthony Purpura, Peter Malcolm, and Chris Baumann returning as starters, as they did against Uruguay. All three were reserves last week against Brazil. Todd Clever, a reserve last week, returns at blindside flanker and will captain the side. Cam Dolan, will also start at eight-man.

The combination of Nate Brakeley and Nick Civetta has been very effective in set pieces in the first two matches and this continues this week before Civetta returns to Europe. Tony Lamborn has been a force around the pitch and added two tries last week. He will be at openside flanker.

In the backs, Ryan Matyas will make his first appearance since last year’s Amercias Rugby Championship at wing moving Spike Davis to the reserves.

The reserves will have two new players to this year’s series in backrow player David Tameilau and lock Siaosi Mahoni. Should Mahoni enter the match he would earn his first international test cap.

The other reserves include last weeks starting front row with Ben Tarr and Dino Waldren at prop and James Hilterbrand, who captained the side at hooker. John Quill is a sparkplug player at flanker. In the backs, Ben Cima will likely enter at flyhalf during the second half, as if a match should be on the line, he is the most accurate kicker. Spike Davis scored a try in the first three minutes of the match against Brazil. As players begin to tire, Canada will be tested by this powerful runner and PRO Rugby’s leading try scorer.

Mitchell said to USA Rugby that “In terms of this contest, getting our front-row mixes right is important. We’re into creating healthy competition, which wasn’t always the case in year one of the ARC. Both sets will play vital roles in the match. It’s not that one person’s ahead of the other, but more around the strategy of our groupings.”

Luke Hume and Andrew Turner were expected to join the team this week, but injuries have affected their inclusion.  Mitchell continued saying that “Working with a limited squad of 26 and reacting to injuries, we’re genuinely trying to give most people a week in before they get a start. It’s kind of like trying to balance all balls; getting a look at some people that we haven’t seen a lot of because clearly this match is going to be a lot different than what we’ve played so far with conditions and, naturally, the rivalry between to the two countries.”

“We’re just focusing and concentrating on our processes. Guys understand what’s coming. As a result of this performance and the next two weeks I’m going to solidify my Rugby World Cup Qualifying group. It’ll give me a good indication of how resilient people are away from home.”


Canada’s head coach Mark Anscombe has made five changes ahead of Saturday’s Americas Rugby Championship clash against the USA. Anscombe said to Rugby Canada that “Both teams will have a number of players out for this weekend’s game. But you want to go into the game with confidence so both teams will want to get one up. It won’t have a major factor but it will give confidence to the winning team.”

Ray Barkwill, is a warrior and will captain the side. He is a World Cup veteran and has 36 caps. He played last year for PRO Rugby’s the Sacramento  Express and represents Ontario at hooker. He is joined by fellow Ontario players Rob Brouwer and Matt Tierney at prop with Brouwer being one of the changes from the side that defeated Chile last week.

Reegan O’Gorman will earn his first cap at lock and pairs with Conor Keys as the youngest locks to represent Canada at age 20. The back row will remain the same with Lucas Rumball and Ollie Nott at flankers and Admir Cejvanovic at eight-man.

Mark Anscombe will also use a new halfback combination in Phil Mack at scrumhalf and Robbie Povey, who will earn his first cap, at flyhalf. Both were effective off the bench. Last halfback combinations of Gordon McRorie and Gradyn Bowd are reserves.

Taylor Paris scored a hat trick against Chile last week and Canada will be looking to get the ball wide to him on the wing to test the Eagles. Dan Moor will be the other wing with Nick Blevins and Guiseppe du Toit in the centers with Brock Staller at fullback.

Lucas Albornoz is a replacement and could make his test debut Saturday if he plays.

Canada: 1 Rob Brouwer, 2 Ray Barkwill (capt.), 3 Matt Tierney, 4 Conor Keys, 5 Reegan O’Gorman, 6 Lucas Rumball, 7 Ollie Nott, 8 Admir Cejvanovic, 9 Phil Mack, 10 Robbie Povey, 11 Taylor Paris, 12 Guiseppe du Toit, 13 Nick Blevins, 14 Dan Moor, 15 Brock Staller 16 Benoît Pifféro, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Cole Keith, 19 Liam Chisholm, 20 Lucas Albornoz, 21 Gordon McRorie, 22 Gradyn Bowd, 23 George Barton

USA Eagles: 1 Anthony Purpura, 2 Peter Malcolm, 3 Chris Baumann, 4 Nate Brakeley, 5 Nick Civetta, 6 Todd Clever (capt.), 7 Tony Lamborn, 8 Cam Dolan, 9 Shaun Davies, 10 Will Magie, 11 Nate Augspurger, 12 JP Eloff, 13 Bryce Campbell, 14 Ryan Matyas, 15 Mike Te’o 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Dino Waldren, 18 Ben Tarr, 19 Siaosi Mahoni, 20 John Quill, 21 David Tameilau, 22 Ben Cima, 23 Spike Davis

Canada – Americas Rugby Championship

v. Argentina XV – L20-6 – Feb. 4, Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC
v. Chile – W 36-15 — Feb. 11, Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC
v. USA – Saturday, Feb. 18 Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, BC
v. Uruguay – Saturday, Feb. 25, Estadio Domingo Burgueno, Uruguay
v. Brazil – Saturday, March 3, Pacaembu Stadium, Brazil

USA Eagles – Americas Rugby Championship

v. Uruguay – W 29-23
v. Brazil – W 51-3
v. Canada – Saturday, Feb. 18 @ Swangard Stadium
v. Chile – Saturday, Feb. 25
v. Argentina XV – Saturday, March 4

2017 Americas Rugby Championship Standings (through two rounds):

  • Argentina – 9 points
  • USA – 9 points
  • Canada – 5 points
  • Brazil – 4 points
  • Uruguay – 1 point
  • Chile – 0 points


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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant