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USA Eagles Headcoach Mike Tolkin has named his team for the USA's final test match of the summer. In search of preventing a clean-sweep of defeats this month Tolkin has made starting changes in both the backs and forwards and a test debut for USA Eagles Sevens player Brett Thompson. Despite demonstrating a willingness to experiment questions still remain over several positions with the USA in need to improvements if it is to be capable of winning matches at Rugby World Cup 2015. The USA is to host Canada in a Pacific Nations Cup match at Bonney Field in Sacramento, California on Saturday. Live coverage will me available via stream on irb.com
Retaining the captaincy will be veteran Todd Clever who has overtaken Paul Emerick and Dave Hodges this month to become the fourth most USA Eagle of all time. Set to earn his 55th test cap against Canada Clever will be just 12 behind the most capped USA Eagle of all time, Mike MacDonald. Joining Clever in the back-row will be Scott LaValla and Danny Barrett. LaValla moves back from the second-row while Barrett moves from the side of the scrum to number 8 in place of the injured Cam Dolan.
A reputable second-row combination of Samu Manoa and Hayden Smith will face-off against Jamie Cudmore and Tyler Hotson in what is to be one of the key areas of the contest.The USA may hold an advantage in this area and will be well served from the bench with former Italian based Louis Stanfill providing cover.
Tolkin has continued with his USA based props starting while professionals are on the bench. Nick Wallace and Olive Kilifi are to join Phil Thiel as the starting front-row while Eric Fry, Titi Lamositele and Tom Coolican have been named on the bench. The most capped USA prop in the squad, Shawn Pittmann remains out of the match day 23 due to injury.
Retaining the scrum-half birth is Mike Petri who has come under heavy criticism from fans and from the media for having a slow delivery. In not testing other options, such as Shalom Suniula at 9, the USA Eagles are going to need to play well against the superior control and distribution of Phil Mack. Suniula is to start at fly half which sees Folau Niua on the bench.
Niua started in the mid-field against Japan last weekend but Tolkin has opted for a third combination in as many weeks with Thretton Palamo named to start inside the impressive Seamus Kelly. Outwide Tolkin has sprung a further surprise with the selection of Brett Thompson on the left wing ahead of Luke Hume. Thompson is to make his test debut in a back-three also including Blaine Scully and Chris Wyles, arguably the USA's most high profile backs presently playing abroad.
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