Glendale, Colo. – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has made four changes to his team that started against Canada in Toronto last weekend.
In the forwards, prop Mike MacDonald replaces Mate Moeakiola, and hooker Phillip Thiel moves to the bench with Chris Biller starting in the number two jersey. The two backline changes see Colin Hawley replace Kevin Swiryn on the left wing, while scrumhalf Tim Usasz starts ahead of Mike Petri.
“We’ve made a few changes which allows the coaching staff to access these combinations ahead of the Japan match,” said O’Sullivan.
Last week’s clash at BMO Field drew a record crowd of 10,000 spectators. Glendale’s Infinity Park seats 4,000 – but ticket sales are well on track to sell out for the Eagles final home game before the Rugby World Cup (RWC). The training match on Wednesday evening between the local Glendale Raptors and the USA Select side was attended by almost 1,500 fans.
“Playing at home is always special, and I know the boys want to come off that field with a win. The facility at Infinity Park is excellent, with the conditions looking good for a fantastic test match. It will be great to out in front of a home crowd.” commented O’Sullivan.
The United States will be looking to reverse the 28-22 loss against Canada last time round.
Another massive outing is expected from USA captain Todd Clever, who scored two of his team’s tries last weekend. Louis Stanfill and Nic Johnson join Clever as the loose forwards. The lock combination, which worked extremely well against Canada, is Hayden Smith and John van der Giessen. Shawn Pittman retains his spot at tighthead prop, alongside Biller and MacDonald.
In the backline the young Blaine Scully starts his third test at fullback. On the wings are Hawley, who scored three tries in the USA Select match, and crowd favorite Takudzwa Ngwenya. The midfield pairing of Paul Emerick and Andrew Suniula will be key yet again to limiting the Canadian attacking options. Flyhalf Nese Malifa will be playing on his home field, with Usasz rounding out the backs.
The reserves consist of four forwards and three backs. In front row, Thiel covers the hooker position and Eric Fry, prop. Captain and Man of the Match from Wednesday’s USA Select match, Scott LaValla, is the lock replacement. Loose forward JJ Gagiano is also on the bench. The backline reserves are Petri (scrumhalf) and the talented utilities Roland Suniula and Tai Enosa.
“We’ve had an excellent week preparing for this rematch. It’s great being on home soil and we appreciate all the support!“ said captain Todd Clever.
The USA will play Canada at 7.15 P.M (9.15 P.M ET) tomorrow evening, with an exciting curtain-raiser between the Classic Eagles and Classic Canada at 5 P.M. Tickets can be purchased online at GlendaleRugby.com with the match being broadcast LIVE by NBC Universal – and available online at UniversalSports.com!
There will also be a USA Eagles Tailgate Park & Fundraiser before the match, from 4.00-7.00 P.M at the Airlines Plaza at Infinity Park. Admission to this includes both the above matches, wine tasting by Planet Bordeaux, various foods from local vendors and unlimited beer.
Proceeds benefit the Eagles as they prepare for the RWC. Purchase tickets here!
15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)
14 Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz)
13 Paul Emerick (Life University)
12 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
11 Colin Hawley (Olympic Club)
10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
9 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC)
1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie)
2 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
3 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)
4 John van der Giessen (Unattached)
5 Hayden Smith (Saracens)
6 Louis Stanfill (Unattached)
7 Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath) *Captain
8 Nic Johnson (Unattached)
16 Phillip Thiel (Life University)
17 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
18 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais)
19 Jonathan ‘JJ’ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town)
20 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club)
21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
22 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
Unavailable through injury: Troy Hall (NYAC), Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club), James Paterson (Highlanders), Junior Sifa (Unattached), Chris Wyles (Saracens)