USA Men’s National Team XVs vs Samoa Preview

Kickoff in Suva, Fiji on Friday, Aug 2 at 10:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Gold

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SUVA, FIJ. – The USA Men’s National Team XVs will play their second match of the Pacific Nations Cup 2019 against No. 16 Samoa this Friday, Aug 2 at 10:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Gold. Following a powerful 47-19 victory over rivals Canada last Saturday, in front of a sellout crowd in Colorado, the Men’s Eagles sit atop the tournament standings.

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MATCH

Head Coach Gary Gold has made nine changes to his match roster from last week’s contest with Canada, giving seven players the opportunity to see their first taste of PNC action.

Hooker James Hilterbrand will start with Dylan Fawsitt moving to the bench. Lock Greg Peterson jumps in for Nick Civetta who continues recovery following a lower limb injury last week. Civetta’s availability for Rugby World Cup will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Flanker Tony Lamborn is in for Malon Al-Jiboori with scrumhalf Ruben de Haas in for Shaun Davies. Center Paul Lasike returns from injury while Marcel Brache continues HIA protocol.

Nate Brakeley, Ben Pinkelman, Nate Augspurger and Will Magie have all been named to the reserves with Pinkelman having an opportunity to earn his first cap in XVs. Augspurger last suited up with the Eagles in June of 2018 and has spent the last several test windows recovering from injury.

The full match-day 23 owns 391 cumulative test caps.

*Indicates uncapped player 

STARTERS
PLAYER NAME1. Chance Wenglewski Prop Rugby ATL 4
2. James Hilterbrand Hooker Manly Marlins (AUS) 18
3. Paul Mullen Prop Houston SaberCats 11
4. Ben Landry Lock Ealing Trailfinders (ENG) 19
5. Gregory Peterson Lock Newcastle Falcons (ENG) 23
6. Tony Lamborn Flanker Melbourne Rebels (AUS)
Hawkesbay Magpies (NZL)
18
7. John Quill Flanker Rugby United New York 34
8. Cam Dolan No. 8 NOLA Gold 45
9. Ruben De Haas Scrumhalf Free State Cheetahs (RSA) 12
10. AJ MacGinty Flyhalf Sale Sharks (ENG) 22
11. Martin Iosefo Wing USA Sevens 4
12. Paul Lasike Center Harlequins (ENG) 13
13. Bryce Campbell Center London Irish (ENG) 26
14. Blaine Scully (C) Wing Unattached 47
15. Will Hooley Fullback Bedford Blues (ENG) 9
RESERVES
PLAYER NAME16. Dylan Fawsitt Reserve Rugby United New York 9
17. David Ainu’u Reserve Toulouse Rugby (FRA) 6
18. Paddy Ryan Reserve Rugby United New York 5
19. Nate Brakeley Reserve Rugby United New York 18
20. Ben Pinkelman* Reserve USA Sevens 0
21. Nate Augspurger Reserve San Diego Legion 21
22. Will Magie Reserve Glendale Raptors 23
23. Madison Hughes Reserve USA Sevens                     4    

USA MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM XVs STAFF

General Manager | Dave Hodges
Head Coach | Gary Gold
Assistant Coach, Attack | Greg McWilliams
Assistant Coach, Set Piece | Shawn Pittman
Assistant Coach, Defense | Jaque Fourie
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison
Assistant S&C and Analyst | Tom Kindley
Team Doctor | Mark Sakr
Team Doctor | Sam Akhavan
Head Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan
Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz
Team Manager | Chris Hanson
Assistant Team Manager | Mark Drown


LAST TIME ON THE PITCH AGAINST CANADA

Following a rigorous four-week preparation camp in Colorado, the USA Men’s National Team XVs were polished and clinical against Canada. In front of a sold-out home crowd at Infinity Park in Glendale, the Men’s Eagles scored six tries, three penalties and four conversions to run away with a 47-19 victory.

The match was choppy through the first half, filled with short set piece plays as both teams fought to build a fluid attack. It was the United States who reigned dominant, however, using a combination of skillful tries by Dylan Fawsitt and Blaine Scully to combine with precision off AJ MacGinty’s boot to seal a 20-0 lead at halftime.

Into the second half, the Eagles’ attack ignited — despite a few mistakes which gave the Canadians momentum on the scoreboard. Ben Landry, Gannon Moore, Kapeli Pifeleti and Ruben de Haas all crossed the tryline in thrilling fashion where Moore, Pifeleti and de Haas made their immediate impact off the bench.

FULL MATCH RECAP


THE MATCHUP | UNITED STATES (No. 15) vs SAMOA (No. 16) 

The United States men and Samoa will meet for the first time since the 2018 Autumn Internationals where the Eagles beat the Samoans for the first time in history.

After building a convincing 15 point lead, Samoa came back to steal the advantage, putting both teams within two points of each other in the final minute. Right at full time, a penalty against Samoa allowed Eagle Will Hooley to slot a crucial kick which sailed through the posts from the right flank to make it USA 30 and Samoa 29.

In total, the USA Men’s National Team XVs and Samoa have met six times. Where the U.S. are coming from a strong win over Canada, the Samoans enter Friday’s contest following a 25-17 victory over Tonga — one of the Eagles’ upcoming opponents in Rugby World Cup pool play.

Following Samoa, the United States will face World Cup hosts Japan in the finale of Pacific Nations Cup 2019.


THOUGHTS FROM HEAD COACH GARY GOLD

“It was a long journey into Fiji but we’ve had some time now to get settled and back into the swing of things for a hugely physical game against Samoa.

“Samoa are a very talented team and there’s no doubt about their ability to keep us on our toes as we saw in November last year and with their result against Tonga over the weekend. We’ve only got two more games left in this PNC campaign which means every minute counts if we’re going to contest for the title. It will be, as ever, important to keep our penalty count low and remain sharp in our attack so we create those opportunities crucial to scoring tries.

“There will be considerable intensity and pressure throughout this game which we must learn to respond to if we’re going to remain competitive in our Rugby World Cup pool.”


ROAD TO RUGBY WORLD CUP

The Pacific Nations Cup is part of the final stretch to Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 for the USA Eagles. Prior to the start of the tournament, the group spent four weeks in a rigorous training camp at altitude in Colorado, which included a comprehensive strength & conditioning program as well as fundamental rugby-specific regimen.


PACIFIC NATIONS CUP OUTLOOK

The USA are currently atop the Pacific Nations Cup standings on points differential with Japan close behind and Friday’s opponent Samoa after them. Round Two will see Japan face Tonga and Fiji face Canada which could shake the outlook of the standings with only one more week for teams to build on their position. Matchups this weekend will be crucial to gain momentum in the standings and remain in contention for the PNC title awarded next week.

PACIFIC NATIONS CUP STANDINGS

POOL A47 19 28 6 3 1 5 TONGA 1 0 0 1 17 25 -8 3 3 0 0 FIJI 1 0 0 1 21 34 -13 3 5 0 0

POOL B34 21 13 5 3 1 5 SAMOA 1 1 0 0 25 17 8 3 3 0 4 CANADA 1 0 0 1 19 47 -28 3 6 0 0


WHAT IS THE PACIFIC NATIONS CUP

The Pacific Nations Cup is an annual tournament hosted by World Rugby that features an expanded number of teams in Rugby World Cup years, when the United States competes. Featuring six teams for 2019, nations are split into two pools where each team faces the opposing sides in the opposite group to accumulate points after each matchup. The team who finishes with the most points at the end of its three games will win the title.

Pool A features the United States, Fiji and Tonga while Pool B features Canada, Samoa and Japan.

POINTS STRUCTURE
  • Win – 4 points
  • Draw – 2 points
  • Loss – 0 points
  • BonusScoring 4 tries – 1 point
    Losing by less than 7 – 1 point


WHERE TO WATCH

All matches in the Pacific Nations Cup are broadcast LIVE in the United States on NBC Sports Gold’s Rugby Pass. Pricing currently holds at $19.99 for the final two games of the tournament available for purchase here. 

SCHEDULE & RESULTS

Pacific Nations Cup vs Canada | 47-19 (W)

vs Samoa
Fri, Aug 2 | 10:30 PM ET
Suva, Fiji

vs Japan
Sat, Aug 10 | 12:35 AM ET
Suva, Fiji

Rugby World Cup WarmB.C. Place Stadium, Vancouver, B.C.
Purchase Tickets

Rugby World Cup Japan September 26 | 6:45 AM ET
Kobe Misaki Stadium

vs France
October 2 | 3:45 AM ET
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium

vs Argentina
October 9 | 12:45 AM ET
Kumagaya Rugby Stadium

vs Tonga
October 13 | 1:45 AM ET
Hanazono Rugby Stadium