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Blaine Scully fighting off tacklers. Abel Barrientes photo

Mike Tolkin has named an experienced squad for Saturday's Pacific Nations Cup opener agaisnt Samoa at 7 p.m. PT at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. Only one new cap is guaranteed, and it's flyhalf AJ MacGinty who will claim it as he gets his first start for the full national team. Zack Test and Chris Baumann could claim caps should they come off the bench. 

The entire Pacific Nations Cup tournament will be streamed live on ESPN 3, including Japan versus Canada at 5 p.m. PT Saturday. 

“We haven’t had the entire squad together for an extended time for well over a year, so having players like Cam, Danny, and the rest with us allows us to operate from a stronger position selection-wise,” Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin said.

“The composition of the squad is based on balancing a strong team as well as seeing individuals play in a match situation so we can start the process of determining where strengths and weaknesses lie. We cannot wait until the World Cup is in front of us to start to evaluate players who we have not seen much of, so we need that balance. This summer presents a lot of game time.

“Assembly time has been good. I feel that domestic-based players are better prepared to help lead and be decision-makers in our system based on camps and the South American Tour, so it hasn’t been a case of just dumping in professional players from overseas and relying on them.

“That formula is not a good one for continuity as they come from various programs and systems that operate in their unique ways. With a more confident and domestic base, we can keep that continuity while the overseas-based players add additional talent and preparedness to the squad.”

Samoa's lineup is a formidable one, but starkly different than the one that gave New Zealand all it could handle in Apia last week. Only five starters from the historic All Blacks match carry over to PNC opener, with one of the starters against New Zealand being on the bench Saturday. 

The Eagles are 0-3 all time against Samoa. Each match has been decided by a try or less, with Samoa winning 25-21 in 2007, 19-12 in 2000 and 27-20 in 1999.

Men's Eagles | v. Samoa 
1. Eric Fry 
2. Phil Thiel 
3. Matekitonga Moeakiola 
4. Hayden Smith 
5. Greg Peterson 
6. Cameron Dolan 
7. John Quill 
8. Danny Barrett 
9. Shalom Suniula 
10. AJ MacGinty 
11. Blaine Scully 
12. Thretton Palamo 
13. Seamus Kelly 
14. Takudzwa Ngwenya 
15. Chris Wyles (C)

Men's Eagles | Reserves 
16. Zach Fenoglio 
17. Chris Baumann 
18. Titi Lamositele 
19. Scott LaValla 
20. Andrew Durutalo 
21. Mike Petri 
22. Andrew Suniula 
23. Zack Test

Samoa | v. USA 
1. Sakaria Taulafo 
2. Manu Leiataua 
3. Anthony Perenise 
4. Teofilo Paulo 
5. Faatiga Lemalu 
6. TJ Ioane 
7. Jack Lam 
8. Vavae Tuilagi 
9. Vavao Afemai 
10. Patrick Faapale 
11. Alesana Tuilagi (C) 
12. Faialaga Afamasaga 
13. Paul Perez 
14. Sinoti Sinoti 
15. Ah See Tuala

Samoa | Reserves 
16. Motu Matuu 
17. Viliamu Afatia 
18. Jake Grey 
19. Maselino Paulino 
20. Oneone Faafou 
21. Pele Cowley 
22. Johnny Leota 
23. Gaatoina Autagavaia