USA

Published on: August 18, 2015

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USA flag

Team Preview

World Ranking: 16

Odds of Winning: 3000/1 (skybet)

Road To Qualification: 

The USA got beat by Canada in the America’s qualifying process, and therefore had to beat Uruguay to win their ticket to the World Cup. The  first match resulted in a 27-27 draw, but at home the USA pulled off a convincing win with a final score of 32-13 to seal their place.

Recent Results:

Canada 23 – 41 USA

Canada 13 – 15 USA

Tonga 33 – 19 USA

Japan 18 – 23 USA


World Cup Pool Games:

Date Time Team v Team Stadium
Sunday, 20 September 15 12:00 Samoa v  United States Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton
Sunday, 27 September 15 14:30 Scotland v  United States Elland Road, Leeds
Wednesday, 7 October 15 16:45 South Africa v  United States The Stadium, London
Sunday, 11 October 15 20:00 United States v  Japan Kingsholm, Gloucester
 
Strengths:
  • No shortage of athletes
  • Quick backline
  • Steadying influence at 10 in AJ MacGinty
Weaknesses:
  • Lack of depth
  • Poor set piece

Key Players:
  • Samu Manoa – An absolute monster in the loose, Manoa will attack the line with a ferocity that made him a crowd favourite in his time at Northampton. Look for him to land some massive hits as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb9t0o5_s8Y

  • Chris Wyles – Mr Dependable under the high ball, and with a deft touch off the boot as well, you can expect to see Wyles at the heart of a lot of good USA attacks.

Injuries/Unlucky to miss out 

The most notable absence in the USA’s ranks is that of Todd Clever, The former captain was supposedly released from the USA team because of ‘multiple squad conduct violations’, but there have been some mutterings about a clash or personalities  between him and Eagles Rugby coach Mike Tolkin as well. There are some rumblings that he wasn’t best pleased about being replaced by Chris Wyles as captain, and while his big, crowd-pleasing hits will be missed by fans, he was also known for giving away some silly penalties. So perhaps USA will profit from a cooler head in the back row.

Scott LaValla was originally named in the 31 man squad, however was ruled out because of a fractured elbow, and was replaced by Matt Trouville.


Squad

Front Row
Chris Baumann (Santa Monica RC) Eric Fry (Newcastle Falcons) Zach Fenoglio (Glendale Raptors RFC) Phil Theil (Life Rugby) Olive Kilifi (Seattle Saracens RC) Titi Lamositele (Saracens) Matekitonga Moeakiola (Castenet)

Second Row
Hayden Smith (Saracens), Louis Stanfull (Seattle Saracens) Greg Peterson (Glasgow Warriors)

Back Row
Danny Barrett (Eagles 7’s) Cameron Dolan (Cardiff Blues) Andrew Durutalo (Eagles 7’s) Samu Manoa (Toulon) Al McFarland (NYAC) Louis Stanfill (Seattle Saracens) John Quill (NYAC) Joseph Taufete’e (Belmont Shore)

Scrum Halfs
Mike Petri (NYAC) Shalom Suniula (Seattle Saracens) Niku Kruger (Glendale Raptors)

Fly Halfs
AJ MacGinty (Life Rugby)

Centers
Seamus Kelly (San Francisco Golden Gate) Folau Niua (Eagles 7’s) Thretton Palamo (London Welsh) Andrew Suniula (CSM Bucuresti)

Back 3
Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz) Blaine Scully (Cardiff Blues) Zack Test (Eagles 7’s) Brett Thompson (Eagles 7’s) Chris Wyles (Saracens)


Likely Starting XV
Summary

When looking at the USA team, what stands out immediately is the number of 7’s players on the list. The USA is obviously looking to grow rugby using the popularity of 7’s in colleges across the states. Whilst this is certainly a good starting point, it will raise questions about how well their backs will work around the breakdown, which is much less common in the 7-man game.

On the other hand, they’re likely to have some very skilled runners in the backline, with Danny Barrett drawing praise for his recent performances. Pair this with Samu Manoa’s raw power, and clinical execution from Chris Wyles (particularly under the high ball), and the USA will make some breaks in the pool stages. Whether they can convert these opportunities though is another matter entirely, and recent form in the PNC shows that the teams handling may not be up to scratch. Match their inability to close off their chances to the quality of their pool and it becomes clear that their only winnable game will be Japan, and the brave blossoms will not make it easy for them.

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