BOULDER, Colo. – Eddie O’Sullivan has named a new-look Eagles team to face Australia in their third pool match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). The USA Head Coach has made several changes for the 8.30 p.m clash on Friday at the Wellington Regional Stadium. The match will be LIVE on Universal Sports at 4.30 a.m ET and re-aired at 8 p.m ET. View the complete broadcast schedule at UniversalSports.com. (Photo Credit: USA Rugby)
“We have had a number of changes to the team, as we want to get fresh legs on the field after our first two performances. We also have Italy four days after Australia and we need to keep some players ready for that game,” commented O’Sullivan.
Despite the pool stages of the RWC being played over one month, the major talking point has been the shortened turn-around times for tier 2 nations like the United States. The squad has put in a tremendous amount of work, and several players have been rewarded with starts against Australia.
The Wallabies – currently ranked 3rd in the world - won the 2011 Tri Nations competition over New Zealand and South Africa. During the RWC they defeated Italy 32-6, but lost 15-6 against Ireland in one of the upsets of the tournament.
“The team is really looking forward to meeting the challenge of playing the Wallabies head on. It’s a great opportunity for those starting their first RWC test to pitch themselves against one of the best teams in the world and make a case for selection in the final pool game against Italy.” said O’Sullivan.
The Eagles have been based in Wellington since Monday, and will attend a function with the US Ambassador along with several hundred supporters later this evening.
The team to face Australia will be lead by livewire scrumhalf, Tim Usasz, who goes head-to-head with Australian captain Will Genia. Nese Malifa gains a start in the accustomed number 10 jersey, with the center pairing consisting of Junior Sifa and Tai Enosa. Kevin Swiryn and Colin Hawley return to the wings while Blaine Scully starts at fullback.
Shawn Pittman and Phil Thiel are back in the front row after playing the first RWC match against Ireland. Eric Fry is at tighthead prop making his RWC debut. The experienced Hayden Smith will partner Scott LaValla in the locks. The loose trio, who will be looking to hault the side-stepping Wallaby Quade Cooper, are Inaki Basauri, Pat Danahy and JJ Gagiano.
The forward reserves are Brian McClenahan (hooker), Mate Moeakiola (prop) together with Louis Stanfill and Nic Johnson who can cover lock and the loose forward positions. Mike Petri (scrumhalf), Roland Suniula (flyhalf, center) and Chris Wyles (fullback) are the backline replacements.
The Eagles will travel to Nelson on Saturday, and take on Italy on September 27 for the final Pool C match.
Several thousand fans are expected to cheer on the Eagles on Friday evening at the Wellington Regional Stadium with the team receiving wonderful support throughout the RWC.
15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)
14 Colin Hawley (Olympic Club)
13 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
12 Junior Sifa (Nottingham RFC)
11 Kevin Swiryn (Agen)
10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
9 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC) *Captain
1 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)
2 Phil Thiel (Life University)
3 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
4 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais)
5 Hayden Smith (Saracens)
6 Inaki Basauri (Perigueux)
7 Pat Danahy (Life University)
8 JJ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town)
16 Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club)
17 Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny 93)
18 Louis Stanfill (NYAC)
19 Nic Johnson (Unattached)
20 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club)
21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
22 Chris Wyles (Saracens)
15 Kurtley Beale
14 Adam Ashley-Cooper
13 Anthony Fainga'a
12 Robert Horne
11 Drew Mitchell
10 Quade Cooper
9 Will Genia *Captain
1 James Slipper
2 Tatafu Polota-Nau
3 Ben Alexander
4 Rob Simmons
5 Nathan Sharpe
6 Rocky Elsom
7 Ben McCalman
8 Wycliff Palu
16 Stephen Moore
17 Sekope Kepu
18 Dan Vickerman
19 Radike Samo
20 Luke Burgess
21 Berrick Barnes
22 Pat McCabe
RWC 2011 SCHEDULE | NEW ZEALAND
September 23, 2011: USA vs. Australia (Wellington) 20.30
September 27, 2011: USA vs. Italy (Nelson) 19.30
RWC 2011 RESULTS | NEW ZEALAND
September 11, 2011: USA 10 Ireland 22 (Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth)
September 15, 2011: USA 13 Russia 6 (Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth)