The first two years of the Americas Rugby Championship saw both Argentina XV and the United States winning the 2016 and 2017 titles, respectively, with each team drawing against each other. This year, the USA has an opportunity to defend its title if it wins its fifth match in a row in 2018 against Uruguay. With a win, they would also be unbeaten in 10 matches.
Uruguay was the last team to beat the Eagles in the Americas Rugby Championship on March 5, 2016, at the same Estadio Charrúa where they will play on Saturday. The Eagles currently lead the standings with 19 points, which is three points over Argentina XV, with Uruguay two points further back.
The USA will defend the title with a win or a draw, while they could even lose and claim two bonus points to take home the trophy. Should they lose with only one bonus point, then they will need to wait until later that day to see if Argentina XV gains a needed bonus point win over Brazil to claim the title themselves.
The Eagles began the Americas Rugby Championship with three consecutive home wins, beating Argentina XV, Canada, and Chile. They then began the South American legs with a win last weekend against Brazil.
Since Uruguay played a higher ranked opponent in Chile last weekend, they climbed above the USA into 17th in the World Rugby Rankings. A win for the Eagles would reverse they rankings.
After the first two ARC matches, many of the European professionals went back to play with their clubs. For the South American legs, the Eagles added Chris Baumann and Nick Civetta against Brazil. Unfortunately, Civetta has been suspended since then. Dino Waldren also has been added as a replacement against Uruguay.
Both previous matches between the Eagles and Uruguay have been close matches. Look for the same this week. In 2016, Uruguay came back in the second-half to defeat the Eagles 29-25, while the following year ended with a 29-23 win for the USA.
USA Men’s Eagles
Head Coach Gary Gold has made three changes in his starters against Uruguay from the side that won 45-13 over Brazil.
Brendan Daly will start at lock in place of Nick Civetta, while Tany Lamborn returns as a starter in place of Psalm Wooching at flanker.
Paul Lasike will get his first start at inside center. This necessitated some positional changes with Mike Te’o moving from fullback to wing, Nate Augspurger swapping sides at wing, Bryce Campbell moving to outside center, and Dylan Audsley moving to fullback. Josh Whippy moves to the reserves.
Once again, Nate Augspurger will captain the side.
Uruguay beat Chile last week 67-15, their 14th consecutive test match in a row. They did lose to Argentina XV in an ARC 2018 match, but that does not count toward World Rugby rankings. As a result of the win, Uruguay moved to 17th, pushing the United States to 18th place.
Uruguay with a 3-1 record and 14 points in the ARC standings, hosts the USA, who is undefeated with a 4-0 record and 19 points, in the final match of the 2018 competition. Both teams will be looking for a bonus win, while Uruguay will need a bonus point, without the Eagles gaining a bonus point, and then will need Brazil to beat Argentina XV to have a chance at the title.
Argentina XV will play Brazil already knowing the result of the match between Uruguay against the USA and could provide all the motivation it would need if they smell a second title.
Uruguay has made four changes, along with three positional changes from their 67-15 win last week against Chile. Four starters return to the squad in captain Juan Manuel Gaminara, with Rodolfo Garese switching from flanker to lock. Juan Diego Ormaechea and Manueal Diana also swapped positions wih Ormaechea at flanked and Diana at No. 8.
In the back, Nicholas Freitas returns at wing and Juan Manuel Cat is at outside center. Carlos Pombo has also been added to the squad as a prop.
Uruguay: 1 Mateo Sanguinetti 2 Germán Kessler 3 Juan Echeverría 4 Ignacio Dotti 5 Rodolfo Garese 6 Juan Manual Gaminara (cap) 7 Manuel Diana 8 Juan Diego Ormaechea 9 Santiago Arata 10 Germán Albanell 11 Nicholás Frietas 12 Andrés Vilaseca 13 Juan Manuel Cat 14 Leandro Leivas 15 Rodrigo Silva 16 Matías Benítez 17 Carlos Pomba 18 Felipe Inciarte 19 Diego Ayala 20 Diego Magno 21 Joaquín Prada 22 Tomás Inciarte 23 Gastón Mieres
USA: 1 Huluholo Mo’ungaloa, 2 Dylan Fawsitt, 3 Chris Baumann, 4 Brendan Daly 5 Ben Landry 6 Hanco Germishuys, 7 Tony Lamborn, 8 Cam Dolan, 9 Shaun Davies, 10 Will Magie, 11 Nate Augspurger (cap), 12 Paul Lasike 13 Bryce Campbell, 14 Mike Te’o 15 Dylan Audsley, 16 Peter Malcolm, 17 Tony Purpura,18 Din Waldren 19 Matt Jensen, 20 Psalm Wooching, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Ben Cima, 23 Josh Whippy
Gary Gold: Head Coach
Greg McWilliams: Assistant Coach – Backs & Attack
Scott Lawrence: Assistant Coach – Defense
Shawn Pittman: Assistant Coach – Set Piece
Chris Hanson: Team Manager
Dave Hodges: Men’s Eagles General Manager
Jimmy Harrison: Performance Analyst
Kevin Ng: Head ATC
Dr. Jeff Mjaanes: Team Doctor (Feb. 18 – Mar. 4)
USA MEN’S EAGLES SCHEDULE 2018 AMERICAS RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
- vs Argentina XV – 17-10 (W)
- vs Canada – 29-10 (W)
- vs Chile – 45-13 (W)
- vs Brazil – 45-16 (W)
- vs Uruguay Sat, Mar. 3 – 1:40 PM ET Estadio Charrua, Montevideo, Uruguay