Timely boost for United States
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Professionals Nick Civetta and Titi Lamositele were made available by their English Premiership clubs for the United State's match against the Maori All Blacks.
Captain Todd Clever, Lamositele, and starting inside centre Folau Niua are the only three players in the matchday squad that faced the Maori All Blacks on their most recent visit to the US - a November 2013 defeat of the home side in Philadelphia.
Chris Baumann, who has impressed in the second half of the calendar year with Wellington Lions in New Zealand, will partner Lamositele on the outside of the front row, while James Hilterbrand will start his third consecutive match at hooker for the Eagles following the June Series.
Nate Brakeley was a late call-up to Mitchell's Americas Rugby Championship squad earlier this year, but has continued to earn praise in the second row. Civetta will wear No.5 beside the New York Athletic Club man in his first action for the Eagles. The captain rounds out the pack with Tony Lamborn and Olympian Danny Barrett, who was a member of the World Cup 2015 USA squad.
Will Holder made his international debut in 2012 wearing the No.10 jersey against Tier One Italy. He will work with scrumhalf Nate Augspurger against the Maori All Blacks Friday, continuing the rapport the two have cultivated with the Eagles Sevens program.
Fellow Sevens stars Martin Iosefo and Matai Leuta will fly down the wings in their first XVs appearances with the Eagles, while Niua will rampage the midfield with Bryce Campbell in the Indiana University man's first national team match. Mike Te'o will start at fullback having proven his reliability at the position throughout the year and with the development team last month.
Three World Cup veterans are included in the reserves in Al McFarland, Joe Taufete'e, and Shalom Suniula, with collegiate standouts Matt Jensen and Alex Maughan waiting in the wings to impress Mitchell in their first assembly with the Eagles. Rio 2016 Team USA captain Madison Hughes could also debut for the XVs national team, though no caps will be awarded Friday.
"Culturally the Maori All Blacks bond extremely well and have their own spirit and ethos as a result of their wonderful Maori culture," Mitchell said. "They've also got the British & Irish Lions tour next year to look forward to, so a lot of these layers will be looking to impress.
"The boys have a tough job ahead of them but they've trained smarter and we have challenged them in the decision-making space, and they are motivated for this match against arguably the best non-test team in the world."
USA: 15 Mike Te'o, 14 Martin Iosefo, 13 Bryce Campbell, 12 Folau Niua, 11 Matai Leuta, 10 Will Holder, 9 Nate Augspurger, 8 Danny Barrett, 7 Tony Lamborn, 6 Todd Clever (captain), 5 Nick Civetta, 4 Nate Brakeley, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 Titi Lamositele.
Replacements: 16 Joe Taufete'e, 17 Angus MacLellan, 18 Alex Maughan, 19 Matthew Jensen, 20 Al McFarland, 21 Stephen Tomasin, 22 Shalom Suniula, 23 Madison Hughes.
Date: Friday, November 4
Venue: Toyota Park, Chicago
Kick-off: 19.00 (13.00, Saturday, November 5 NZ time; 00.00 (midnight) Saturday, November 5 GMT)