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Mike Tolkin made wholesale changes for the USA Selects' second game of their three-match tour of South America, resulting in a 54-6 loss to the Argentina Jaguars Tuesday. Though the opponent wasn't a full-fledged National Team, it did boast a handful of guys that started in Argentina's last full test against France and another handful of capped Pumas.
Starting at prop for the USA were a couple of guys getting their first real taste of international experience in Davenport All-American Angus MacLellan and club journeyman and current Santa Monica Dolphin Chris Baumann. The second row consisting of former UW-Whitewater All-American Ben Landry and Metropolis man Nick Barrett was equally inexperienced. Despite the greenness, Tolkin said the Selects held up well in the scrums and lineouts.
Also standing out in the contest, according to the head coach, were hooker Phil Thiel and wing Tim Stanfill. The former is a lock for the World Cup and the latter is working hard to get off the bubble and onto the plane set for England in the fall.
The Jaguars displayed good defensive line speed and were physically powerful. In attack they supported breaks well and executed.
The Selects did get into the attacking end a few times in the first half, but they couldn't manage a try. Twice they coughed up the ball with some inaccurate passing.
"We did not do a good job of keeping possession and composure," said Tolkin, "and I think many of the newer/younger players were a bit panicked at times."
Accounting for all six of the Selects' points was flyhalf AJ MacGinty, who stroked both of his shots at goal over the posts. He came on late against Uruguay last week, making a couple of kicks, and his boot remains perfect when it's accompanied by a USA jersey.
"AJ had good moments of play and leadership and areas where the introduction to the international game will need time to get used to," Tolkin said.
The Selects will take another swing at the Jaguars Saturday, and since just about everyone has gotten playing time, the American team will be a pretty close reflection of who Tolkin thinks is the top 23.