USA Playing Damage Limitation Versus Springboks

Wednesday will see the USA Eagles face their toughest test yet at the Rugby World Cup 2015 when they line up against the Springboks. Promising performances in the opening matches against Samoa and Scotland have failed to gloss over the need for the USA to attain concrete results. Unfortunately, they face a mammoth task to do that against a rapidly improving Springboks side who are growing in confidence with each match.

USA Playing Damage Limitation Versus Springboks

The USA will likely be playing a game of damage limitation for 80 minutes against the Springboks as they attempt the stem the tide of green and gold. It is, however, possible to repel that tide as Japan showed in match day one but the USA will have to be at the top of their game to achieve anything like that result. Japan succeeded by putting the Springboks on the back foot with quick ruck ball and set piece despite the differing size of packs. The tempo will have to be high and the basic skills of rugby carried out to a much better standard than they were for the entire Samoa match and the last 40 minutes of the Scotland game. The first half against Scotland proved to many people that this USA side is capable of competing against a tier one nation albeit for only 40 minutes so far.

With that in mind Coach Mike Tolkin has selected a side charged with the task of minimising the damage that the Springboks can achieve. Two massive decisions have been made with veteran scrum half Mike Petri and Captain Chris Wyles starting the match on the bench. Wyles is replaced in a shuffled back three whilst Petri makes way for Niku Kruger to make his first start for the Eagles. The South African born Kruger will be hoping to make a significant impact against the country of his birth in what is a brand new half back pairing for the USA as Shalom Suniula comes in at fly half. There is no place in the match day 23 for AJ MacGinty who has so far impressed in this tournament. He will be rested with the final game against Japan in Coach Tolkin’s plans in what is on paper a much more winnable match.

Up front the pack will face a mightily stern test against a Springbok side renowned for their pride at scrum time and winning the battle of the breakdown. Samu Manoa will captain the side in Chris Wyles’ absence, taking on the mantle for the first time in what will be his 14th career test match for the Eagles. Throughout the forwards there is a sprinkling of experience combined with a number of players making their first starts at the World Cup including both second rows, Louis Stanfill and Matt Trouville.

The USA is likely to struggle against a Springbok line up brimming with talent and experience but the fortunes of Japan earlier in the tournament has shown that miracles do happen. The side named by the Eagles faces a tough test and may well merely be playing damage limitation. Although the quality throughout the USA squad means that hope springs eternal for all supporters back home in the US and following the matches in England.

USA Line Up to face South Africa- October 7th 2015

  1. Olive Kilifi
  2. Phil Thiel
  3. Chris Baumann
  4. Louis Stanfill
  5. Matt Trouville
  6. Danny Barrett
  7. John Quill
  8. Samu Manoa (C)
  9. Niku Kruger
  10. Shalom Suniula
  11. Zack Test
  12. Andrew Suniula
  13. Folau Niua
  14. Brett Thompson
  15. Blaine Scully
  16. Joseph Taufete’e
  17. Zach Fenoglio
  18. Matekitonga Moeakiola
  19. Titi Lamositele
  20. Cameron Dolan
  21. Al McFarland
  22. Mike Petri
  23. Chris Wyles

“Main Photo”