Eagles unchanged for WC qualifier
The U.S. Men’s National Rugby Team has named the exact same starting lineup for its second Rugby World Cup Qualifier match against Uruguay this Saturday as it did for its first meeting last weekend in Montevideo.
The U.S. Eagles beat Uruguay, 27-22 in their first face-off in Montevideo on November 14, and following a week of training in Fort Lauderhill for its upcoming match on November 21, have chosen not to change a thing and will go ahead with the same exact squad. The U.S. will have to either win this match or lose by less than five this Saturday at Broward County Regional Park in order to qualify for the IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.
"With just a five- point spread between the teams we have to approach this game as a one-off final," U.S. Coach Eddie O’Sullivan said. "As far as we are concerned the score is 0-0 with 80 minutes remaining. It’s all to play for."
The U.S. Eagles set to face the Teros for the second time around includes loosehead Mate Moekiola and tighthead Will Johnson propping hooker Phil Thiel. In the second row John Van der Giessen joins Hayden Smith, while Louis Stanfill and captain Todd Clever will flank the U.S. pack. Nic Johnson rounds out the starting forwards in the No. 8 position.
The U.S. back line includes scrumhalf Tim Usasz in the starting position and Mike Hercus at flyhalf. At center, Junior Sifa and Paul Emerick fill the inside and outside positions, respectively, while Kevin Swiryn and Takudzwa Ngwenya bring speed and power to the wings. Chris Wyles will again start at fullback for the U.S., just adding to the experience of this Eagles lineup.
The U.S. also have a strong bench as Brian McClenahan, Jacob Sprague, Alec Parker and J.J. Gagiano look to go in as forward replacements, while Mike Petri, Nese Malifa and Pate Tuilevuka will most likely see time as backs.
Recently promoted to an 18th global ranking by the International Rugby Board (IRB), the U.S. Eagles have a 10-1 win-loss record over Uruguay over the past 20 years, and had to challenge the South American side for their last qualification into the Rugby World Cup four years ago, winning that series by a two-game point total of 75-20.
USA Eagles:15 Chris Wyles (Saracens), 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz Olympic), 13 Paul Emerick (Parma FC), 12 Junior Sifa (Middleton RFC), 11 Kevin Swiryn (Old Puget Sound Beach RFC), 10 Mike Hercus (Sunshine Coast Stingrays), 9 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC)8 Nic Johnson (Denver Barbarians), 7 Todd Clever (Golden Lions), 6 Louis Stanfill (New York Athletic Club), 5 Hayden Smith (Saracens), 4 John Van der Giessen (Sporting Club Albigeois), 3 Will Johnson (Oxford University),
2 Phil Thiel (Life University)1 Mate Moeakiola (Pearl City RFC),
Replacements: 16 Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club), 17 Jacob Sprague (Mystic River RFC), 18 Alec Parker (Gentlemen of Aspen), 19 Jonathan ‘JJ’ Gagiano (FC Roma), 20 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club), 21 Nese Malifa (Belmont Shore RFC), 22 Pate Tuilevuka (Provo Steelers)
Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: Broward County Regional Park, Lauderhill
Referee: Dave Smortchevsky (Canada)
Assistant referees: Bryan Arciero (Canada), Derek Stoltz (Canada