Thursday, October 30, 2014

International Rugby: USA Eagles v All Blacks Team Lists

Photo USA Rugby
The teams to represent the United States of America and New Zealand this Saturday at Chicago's Soldier Field have been named. The history making fixture was organized to show-case rugby to the American public at home and to pay the visiting All Blacks an appearance fee. The players to feature in the match are based in a number of countries. USA captain Todd Clever is back from Japan while others involved are based in England, France and Scotland. Every All Black, however,  plays his rugby in New Zealand due to an eligibility policy which outlaws those outside of New Zealand from being considered for international duty.

New Zealand's players were all involved in Super Rugby either this year or will do so in 2015. They are, consequently, very well prepared and fully professional players. The home team, in contrast, is to field a combination of professionals based abroad with the leading home based players. 

For the fixture the All Blacks are below full-strength, but by design. With the New Zealanders set to face England in London seven days later there are some players, such as Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, being saved and not starting in Chicago. 

The USA Eagles are not resting anybody. All the top players are involved. The one exception is Cam Dolan who is out of the match with a knee injury. His loss sees the gifted Danny Barrett joining Todd Clever and Scott LaValla in the back-row. Both players are professionals based in Japan and France respectively while the starting second-rowers are both based in England.

Samu Manoa and Hayden Smith have been named to lock the scrum and will do so behind Eric Fry, Phil Thiel and Olive Klifi. Despite two of them having their share of exposure to professional rugby they are, unlike the remaining forwards, likely to be outmatched. 

The starting halves combination is to see Mike Petri joining Adam Siddall while Andrew Suniula and Seamus Kelly will over aggressive, large runners in the mid-field. None of the four, however, are contracted and playing professional rugby regularly this season. 

The back-three is different, and notable so. Saracens regular Chris Wyles will start the test at fullback and be joined by Leiecester Tigers regular Blaine Scully on one wing. The other winger is to be Brett Thompson who plays his rugby in Scotland.

Despite being predominantly amateur there are some professional players on the bench such as replacement hooker Tom Coolican. He is based in Australia where he plays for the Sydney Stars in the National Rugby Championship. Also based in Australia is Benjamin Tarr while Mate Moeakiola and Tai Tuisamoa play in lower division competitions in France and England.

United States
New Zealand
Chris Wyles
Israel Dagg
Blaine Scully
Cory Jane
Seamus Kelly
Ryan Crotty
Andrew Suniula
Sonny Bill Williams
Brett Thompson
Charles Piutau
Adam Siddall
Aaron Cruden
Mike Petri
TJ Perenara
Danny Barrett
Kieran Read
Scott LaValla
Sam Cane
Todd Clever
Victor Vito
Hayden Smith
Jeremy Thrush
Samu Manoa
Patrick Tuipulotu
Olive Kilifi
Charlie Faumuina
Phil Thiel
Nathan Harris
Eric Fry
Joe Moody
Tom Coolican
Keven Kealamu
Nick Wallace
Wyatt Crockett
Mate Moeakiola
Bem Franks
Tai Tuisamoa
Brodie Retallick
Lou Stanfill
Liam Messam
Benjamin Tarr
Augustine Pulu
Folau Niua
Dan Carter
Troy Hall
Julian Savea

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