Eagles hope to scupper Italy in Nelson
The USA Eagles fly off to picturesque Nelson in South Island to play Italy at Trafalgar Park in a World Cup Pool C match on Tuesday. Coach Eddie O'Sullivan has named his best possible team for this the USA's fourth and last match at the 2011 RWC.
Beaten by Ireland and Australia but victorious over Russia, the Eagles would be automatic qualifiers for the 2015 World Cup were they to beat Italy on Tuesday.
It will not be easy for the Eagles who are ranked below Italy (17th to 10th) and do not play the same level of competition as their Six Nations opponents, victors this year over France.
"We are very excited for this final pool match, and have several players fresh for the encounter," said O'Sullivan ahead of Tuesday.
"We have a very short turn-around following the Australian match in Wellington, and have planned accordingly."
When the Eagles played Australia it was after their tough win over Russia and O'Sullivan changed 14, virtually conceding the match. Now they have brought back their iconic captain - and flank - Todd Clever and their first-choice players.
There is, however, no place for the USA's try-scorer against the Wallabies, No.8 JJ Gagiano, with Clever being joined in the back row by Nic Johnson (No.8) and Louis Stanfill (No.6).
USA Eagles: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Paul Emerick, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 James Paterson, 10 Roland Suniula, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Nic Johnson, 7 Todd Clever, 6 Louis Stanfill, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 John van der Giessen, 3 Mate Moeakiola, 2 Chris Biller, 1 Mike Macdonald.
Replacements: 16 Phil Thiel, 17 Shawn Pittman, 18 Scott LaValla, 19 Pat Danahy, 20 Tim Usasz, 21 Nese Malifa, 22 Blaine Scully.
Date: Tuesday, September 27
Kick-off: 19.30 (06.30 GMT)
Venue: Trafalgar Park, Nelson
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)