The USA makes its debut at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and will face England in a Pool C match at Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City. Kickoff is at 19:45 (06:45 ET).
The match may be viewed in the U.S. on NBCSN live and on-demand on NBC Sports Gold, as part of an RWC subscription package.
England defeated Tonga 35-3 on 22 September to top Pool C with 5 points, with France in second place with 4 points after a narrow 23-21 win over Argentina the day before. Argentina gained a bonus point in their loss.
England will enter the match on a short week, having beaten Tonga last night 35-3 after a close opening 20 minutes. The Eagles have spent the past week in Okinawa focused on preparation away from the hustle and bustle of the main Rugby World Cup match cities.
USA Head Coach Gary Gold indicated that “We’ve had a very good week in Okinawa where the facilities and hospitality have been exactly what we needed to focus on ourselves before this first game.
“We have massive respect for England as they are a very well-coached and talented rugby team. These are exactly the kind of competitive test matches we want to play to continuously test ourselves and grow as a rugby nation.”
“Our guys have worked tirelessly over the past several months. We are really excited to get out on the field and show what we can do, not only for the incredibly supportive rugby fans in Japan but also for our community back home in the USA.”
Fourteen players will make their Rugby World Cup debut against England on Thursday including Toulouse’s David Ainu’u who stands as the youngest player in the group at 19.
Led by Captain Blaine Scully in his third World Cup, the strong U.S. side features a total of 519 cumulative test caps with a number of notable players to feature in the starting XV.
Among them is hooker Joe Taufete’e, the highest-scoring hooker in international rugby; as well as No. 8 Cam Dolan who moves closer to his 50th test cap and flyhalf Aj MacGinty who serves as the leader in points within the current squad.
England Head Coach Eddie Jones has made 10 changes, the most ever by England at a World Cup, for their second Pool C game. Regular captain Owen Farrell is a reserve with George Ford at fly-half. Ford will lead the side for the fifth time against the USA in Kobe on Thursday in the short 4 days turn around.
Bath winger Joe Cokanasiga makes his first Rugby World Cup 2019 along with fellow wing Ruaridh McConnochie, who plays for England’s Sevens Team.
Henry Slade is out with a slight knee injury and England will have a center combination of Piers Francis and Jonathan Joseph.
Joe Launchbury and George Kruis, who are England’s heaviest second rows, take over from Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes.
Dan Cole, the Leicester prop, will equal Jonny Wilkinson’s total of 91 England caps, moving him up to joint third place in the all-time list.
Coach Eddie Jones indicated that “The USA is a tough, physical team who are extremely well-coached by Gary Gold. There are a number of players who our guys know really well and they are a team we respect. They have prepared two weeks with the marines for this game so they will be fit, tough and be playing for the pride of their country.”
England: 1. Joe Marler 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie 3. Dan Cole 4. Joe Launchbury 5. George Kruis 6. Tom Curry 7. Lewis Ludlam 8. Billy Vunipola 9. Willi Heinz 10. George Ford (capt) 11. Joe Cokanasiga 12. Piers Francis 13. Jonathan Joseph 14. Ruaridh McConnochie 15. Elliot Daly 16. Jack Singleton 17. Ellis Genge 18. Kyle Sinckler 19. Courtney Lawes 20. Mark Wilson 21. Ben Youngs 22. Owen Farrell 23. Anthony Watson
USA: 1 David Ainuu2 Joe Taufete’e 3 Titi Lamositele 4 Ben Landry 5 Nick Civetta 6 Tony Lamborn 7 John Quill 8 Cam Dolan 9 Shaun Davies 10 AJ MacGinty 11 Martin Iosefo 12 Paul Lasike 13 Marcel Brache 14 Blaine Scully (C) 15 Will Hooley 16 Dylan Fawsitt 17 Olive Kilifi 18 Paul Mullen 19 Greg Patterson 20 Hanco Germishuys 21 Ruben de Haas 22 Bryce Campbell 23 Mike Te’o
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