USA Men’s Eagles vs. Chile: Americas Rugby Championship Preview

February 23, 2017

USA Men’s Eagles vs. Chile: Americas Rugby Championship Preview


Doug Coil

USA Men’s Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell has made six changes to the starting XV for the week four Americas Rugby Championship match Saturday, February 25 against Chile at Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo.The kick off in Santiago is at 1:40 p.m. ET. The live broadcast will be available to subscribers of The Rugby Channel.

The U.S. hope to improve to 4-0 at the conclusion of the match and will look for a bonus point win. Should Argentina XV do\ the same against Brazil on Saturday, then that will mean the winner of their match on March 4 will claim this year’s title.

With the emphasis on shared leadership, Nate Augspurger will captain the side and Todd Clever will be the vice captain. The Eagles take a 3-0 record into week four and are the co-leaders in the Americas Rugby Championship standings with 14 points. Chile meanwhile is looking for it’s first victory.

While there are two rotational changes in the front row with Ben Tarr at loose head prop and James Hilterbrand at hooker, while Chris Baumann returns at tight head prop.The two locks are a different matter. The combination of Nate Brakeley and Nick Civetta, were outstanding in the first three matches, however Nate has returned to work and Nick has returned to the Newcastle Falcons. Both will be missed. In their place, Matt Jensen returns to the squad for the South America leg and performed well as a replacement against Uruguay. Siaosi Mahoni also came on as a replacement last week against Canada and will start for the first time this week. The backrow was very effective last week against Canada and Todd Clever and Tony Lamborn return as flankers and Cam Dolan at No.8.

In the backs, there are two changes. Ben Cima returns to the starting XV following his debut at flyhalf against Uruguay in week one. Cima has scored 17 points in the three matches he has played. Spike Davis debuted at wing against Brazil in week two, scoring a try in the first three minutes of the match, while last week against Canada, he was a reserve.

Linking with Cima is Shaun Davies who will be making his fifth appearance as an Eagle. The centers will be JP Eloff and Bryce Campbell, with the shifty Nate Augspurper at win and Mike Te’o at full back. Last week Te’o had a hat trick performance and it is hoped that this streak continues.

In the reserves, Olive Kilifi should see action in the front row as he returns to the Eagles after recovering from a injury earlier in 2016. He will be joined at prop by Tony Purpura, who has impressed at front row in this year’s ARC. Peter Malcolm has also performed well at hooker ,where he has been accurate with his lineout throws and has also added an offensive dimension when linking in the attack.

David Tameilau joined the team last week against Canada and he provides a strong backrow presence off the bench at backrow or lock. Joining him at backrow is Hanco Germishuys, who could come in at hooker, if needed. In the backs, Calvin Whiting and Andrew Turner could earn their first international test caps.


Chile Head Coach Bernard Charreyre has made 12 changes to the starting XV from last week’s loss to Argentina XV. Matías Contreras will debut in the 2017 ARC at wing, while Ernesto Ugarte will also play in his first match of the series should he enter from the bench.

Two other changes in the forwards were caused as the result of infractions against Argentina XV last week. Claudio Zamborano received two yellow cards and is suspended from the resulting red card. Benjamin Soto also is not available as the result of a card, as  a hearing is still pending. Vittorio Lastra replaces Zamb0rano at loose head prop and Manueal Dagnino replaces Soto at No.8.

In the forwards, only Manuel Gurruchaga at hooker, Mario Mayol at lock and Anton Petrowitsch at flanker, remain as starters. Gurruchaga will captain the side, while Petrowitsch has been the only player who has started all four matches. Joining the front row is José Tomás Munita at tight head prop who takes the place of the injured Gonzalo Martinez. Mayol will be paired at lock with Nikola Bursic and Arturo Seeman will be the other flanker.

Wholesale changes have been made in the backs. The halfbacks will be a youthful pairing with Sergio Bascuñán and Francisco González at scrumhalf and flyhalf, respectively.Simón Pardakhty and Franco Velarde will be the centers, Tomás Ianiszewski and Matías Contreras the wings, while Pedro Pablo Verschae will be the fullback.

USA Men’s Eagles v Chile: 1 Ben Tarr 2 James Hilterbrand 3 Chris Baumann, 4 Matt Jensen 5 Siaosi Mahoni 6 Todd Clever 7 Tony Lamborn 8 Cam Dolan 9 Shaun Davies 10 Ben Cima 11 Nate Augspurger (capt.) 12 JP Eloff, 13 Bryce Campbell, 14 Spike Davis 15 Mike Te’o 16 Peter Malcolm 17 Anthony Purpura 18 Olive Kilifi 19 Hanco Germishuys 20 David Tameilau 21 Will Magie 22 Calvin Whiting 23 Andrew Turner

Chile v. USA 1. Vittorio Lastra 2. Manuel Gurruchaga (Capt.) 3. José Tomás Munita 4. Mario Mayol 5. Nikola Bursic 6. Arturo Seeman 7. Anton Petrowitsch 8. Manueal Dagnino 9. Sergio Bascuñán 10. Francisco González 11. Tomás Ianiszewski 12. Simón Pardakhty 13. Franco Velarde 14. Matías Contreras 15. Pedro Pablo Verschae 16. Rodrigo Moya 17. Sebastián Valech 18. Ernesto Ugarte 19. Nelson Calderón 20. Eduardo Orpis 21. Beltrán Vergara 22. Jorge Castillo 23. Mauricio Urrutia

USA Eagles – Americas Rugby Championship

v. Uruguay – W 29-23
v. Brazil – W 51-3
v. Canada – W 51-34
v. Chile – Saturday, Feb. 25
v. Argentina XV – Saturday, March 4

Chile – Americas Rugby Championship

v. Brazil– L17-3 – Feb. 3
v. Canada– L 36-15
v. Argentina XV –L45-10
v. USA– Saturday, Feb. 25
v. Uruguay – Saturday, March 3, Estadio Charrua

2017 Americas Rugby Championship Standings (through three rounds):

  • Argentina – 14 points
  • USA – 14 points
  • Canada – 6 points
  • Uruguay – 6 points
  • Brazil – 4 points
  • Chile – 0 points

About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant