Thursday, November 20, 2014

International Rugby: Fiji v USA Teams Named

Photo USA Rugby
Without access to many of his leading players USA Eagles head coach Mike Tolkin has named a North American team missing many of the USA's big name players for Friday's international against Fiji at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes, France. Those contracted to Aviva Premiership players are not involved in the match for the USA Eagles due to their involvement against the All Blacks in Chicago earlier this month. Fiji is under no such restrictions which sees the higher ranked of the two enter the fixture with an added advantage. 

Fiji and the USA have met on five previous occasions with the Pacific Islanders having won four of the matches. The USA's won win came in 1999 with a 25-14 victory in San Francisco. The most recent match was in the 2013 Pacific Nations Cup with Fiji winning 35-10 in Nagoya, Japan.

Based in Japan is Todd Clever who, on Friday, is to overtake Luke Gross to become the second most capped USA Eagle of all time. Clever will earn his 63rd test cap to be just four short of Mike MacDonald's all time record of 67 caps in USA colors.

Against Fiji Clever will be one of the few veteran international players. Missing are not only Premiership players Cam Dolan,  Eric Fry, Samu Manoa, Blaine Scully, Hayden Smith and Chris Wyles but also the 50 time capped Lou Stanfill leaving Mike Petri as the only starter, aside from Clever, with 30 or more test caps.

Fiji's team cannot be said to be one of vast experience at international level. It is, however, a team with many more players involved in elite level professional rugby. All but one of the starting backs, for instance, play in one of the Aviva Premiership, Guinness Pro 12, Top 14 or the Japanese Top League. The one exception being Watisoni Votu who plays for Perpignan in the Pro d2.

Fiji's pack also contains many players involved in top level competitions while the USA's contingent is notably lower. The North American pack should, nonetheless, be able to match Fiji and even be more effective at the breakdown. Clever is to be joined by Scott LaValla and John Quill in what is an impressive back-row. Greg Peterson and John Cullen, meanwhile, are two players to have enhanced their reputations against Tonga last weekend.

With there being no Wyles or Scully and Siddal out injured Ronald McLean will debut from fullback. The match is to kick-off at 7:00pm local time which will be 1:pm ET. A live stream will be shown of the match on

Flying Fijians
USA Eagles
Peni Ravai Kovekalou 
Olive Kilifi
Tua Tuapati 
Phil Thiel
Manasa Saulo Ramumu 
Mate Moeakiola
Leone Nakarawa 
John Cullen
Tevita Cavubati 
Greg Peterson
Akapusi Qera 
Scott LaValla
Mala Ravulo 
John Quill
Masi Matadigo 
Todd Clever
Henry Seniloli 
Mike Petri
Josh Matavesi 
Shalom Suniula
Asaeli Tikoirotuma 
Tim Stanfill
Nemani Nadolo
Thretton Palamo
Vereniki Goneva 
Seamus Kelly
Watisoni Votu 
Taku Ngwenya
Timoci Nagusa
Ronald McLean
Sunia Koto 
Tom Coolican
Isei Colati 
Nick Wallace
Taniela Koroi 
Benjamin Tarr
Nemia Soqeta 
Matt Trouville
Dominiko Waqanibutorukula 
Kyle Sumison
Nemia Kenatale Ranuku 
Roland Suniula
Jonetani Ralulu 
Andrew Suniula
Waisea Vuidravuwalu
Tim Maupin

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