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USA Men’s National 15s team Head Coach Mike Tolkin has selected his starting lineup to face Russia Friday in Colwyn Bay, Wales.
Star wing Takudzwa Ngwenya is out due to visa issues that prevented him from entering the United Kingdom; he would otherwise be expected to start. Instead, Cornelius Dirksen gets his first cap for the United States.
Todd Clever is captain and No. 8, while a new halfback combo is selected as scrumhalf Robbie Shaw returns for his first cap in four years, and Toby L’Estrange makes his debut at flyhalf. Regular scrumhalf Mike Petri is on the bench, having joined the team late due to work commitments.
Also making his debut and starting is Boston RFC openside flanker John Quill. Tolkin has an eight-man bench, with three front-rowers in Zach Fenoglio, Nick Wallace, and Tony Purpura. Should they play, Fenoglio and Wallace would earn their first caps.
Inaki Basauri provides cover at flanker and
lock, and Peter Dahl, back on the Eagles side for the first time since
2009, is a sub at flanker. Joining Petri on the bench for the backs is the
experienced and versatile Roland Suniula, and rookie Gearoid
Derek Asbun, who might have been expected to be in the squad, has been battling an ankle injury.
Tolkin has essentially picked two
flankers to cover the back five in the forwards, however, with Scott
LaValla and Lou Stanfill able to transition between lock and flanker, and
Basauri, the Eagles have plenty of cover there.
With no pure wing on the bench, expect Paul Emerick or Chris Wyles to move to wing, with Roland Suniula going to center or event McDonald going to fullback, should a wing need to be replaced.
|USA National Team Lineup to Face Russia Nov 9 2012|
|1. Loose Head||Shawn||Pittman|
|8. No. 8 C||Todd||Clever|
|16. Front Row||Zachary||Fenoglio|
|17. Front Row||Nick||Wallace|
|18. Front Row||Tony||Purpura|