The USA faces France in a Pool C match at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka City on Wednesday 2 October. Kickoff is at 16:45 (03:45 ET). In the U.S., the match may be viewed on NBC Sports Gold on-demand as part of an RWC subscription package.
A decision about playing the match was made with the full support of the host city Fukuoka and the two teams. Weather information experts and the Japan Meteorological Agency were consulted and confirmed that Typhoon Mitag was lessening in strength, tracking further westward away from Japan’s coastline and therefore will not impact the match.
Prior to the decision to play the match was made, World Rugby indicated if Typhoon Mitag canceled the match, that the match would not be replaced and would have resulted in a draw with both teams gaining 2 points in the standings.
In the first round, the USA lost to England 45-7, while France edged Argentina 23-21.
USA Head Coach Gary Gold has made five changes in his starters from the team’s opening loss to England. Another three changes were made in the reserves.
Prop Eric Fry and second-row Nate Brakeley will play their first match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Fry replaces David Ainuu, who sustained a tournament ending injury against England and resulted in the call-up of Chance Wenglewski as a replacement to the squad.
Other changes include Hanco Germishuys at flanker, replacing John Quill who was suspended for three matches after the match against England. Bryce Campbell and Mike Teo move from the reserves to replace the injured pair of center Paul Lasike and full-back Will Hooley.
Thretton Palamo will be playing in his third Rugby World Cup if he enters the match against France from the reserves. USA center Palamo was the youngest player at Rugby World Cup 2007 in France. He is one of just 15 players from that tournament who have made it to Japan 12 years later. He missed the 2011RWC in New Zealand after accepting a college scholarship to play American football and complete his education.
Will Magie, who can cover both flyhalf and full back and Ben Pinkelman, USA Sevens player and flanker could enter the match as reserves.
France coach Jacques Brunel has made 12 changes to France’s starting XV that triumphed 23-21 over Argentina. No.8 Louis Picamoles will captain the side for the first time in his ninth World Cup match and his 81st cap in total. Hooker Guilhem Guirado, who had this role against Argentina will be a reserve against the USA.
Inside-center Gael Fickou, who was Player of the Match against Argentina, will earn his 50th cap for Les Bleus.
Arthur Iturria is retained in the starters, but switches from lock to flanker. Yoann Huget also returns at wing.
Foul Play in the USA vs England Match
England center Piers Francis attended a disciplinary hearing on 29 September for his hit on Will Hooley during the first minute of play. He admitted that he had committed an act of foul play but denied that it reached the red card threshold. The panel determined that the act ought to have resulted in a yellow card on-field and is eligible to play immediately.
Later in the match, John Quill was issued a red card for foul play against Owen Farrell, but his six-week suspension was reduced to three weeks, which equated to the remaining Pool matches, and was sent home.
While the disciplinary actions at the Rugby World Cup so far, have been consistent with fouls involving the head, the determination with Francis may be construed as favoring a Tier 1 nation.
When Will Hooley collided with an England player in the air later in the match, he was stretchered off the pitch with play continuing afterward without any infractions.
France: 1. Cyril Baille 2. Camille Chat 3. Emerick Setiano 4. Bernard Le Roux 5. Paul Gabrillagues 6. Arthur Iturria 7. Yacouba Camara 8. Louis Picamoles (capt.) 9. Maxime Machenaud 10. Camille Lopez 11. Yoann Huget 12. Gaël Fickou 13. Sofiane Guitoune 14. Alivereti Raka 15. Thomas Ramos 16. Guilhem Guirado 17. Jefferson Poirot 18. Rabah Slimani 19. Sebastien Vahaamahina 20. Gregory Alldritt 21. Baptiste Serin 22. Romain Ntamack 23. Maxime Medard
USA: 1. Eric Fry 2. Joe Taufetee 3. Titi Lamositele 4. Nate Brakeley 5. Nick Civetta 6. Tony Lamborn 7. Hanco Germishuys 8. Cam Dolan 9. Shaun Davies 10. AJ MacGinty 11. Martin Iosefo 12. Bryce Campbell 13. Marcel Brache 14. Blaine Scully (capt.) 15. Mike Teo 16. Dylan Fawsitt 17. Olive Kilifi 18. Paul Mullen 19. Greg Peterson 20. Ben Pinkelman 21. Ruben de Haas 22. Will Magie 23. Thretton Palamo
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