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Luke Hume left the USA v. Ireland test match with a limp and his ankle was iced while he sat on the sidelines. It’s highly likely that he will not start against Tonga on Friday.

Look instead for James Paterson to regain his spot on the left wing.

In addition, it’s likely Samu Manoa, who was such a force for the Eagles against the Irish, will take a break before the World Cup Qualifiers. If that is so, then look for either Peter Dahl, John Quill, or Liam og Murphy to slot in at flanker. Any of those three could be picked, but the smart money appears to be on Dahl, who has shown well and was the guy to come on Saturday night when Brian Doyle had to leave for a blood injury.

The Eagles have plenty of height in their forwards, and need a grafter at flanker, and Dahl will be that man.

Fatigue for a team that left it all out on the field on Saturday is a concern. Look for Mike Tolkin to do something he usually doesn’t like to do, and that is use his bench. Robbie Shaw should see some significant time at scrumhalf, and the front row could well get spelled early in the second half.

Right now the USA needs to generate some offense. They are fully aware that quick ball out of the rucks is crucial to that end, and USA Head Coach Mike Tolkin is actually giving a presentation to the refereeing team, headed by Francisco Pestrana, on the breakdown.

Tonga kills ball almost as well as Ireland and Canada, and a tight policing of the ruck is needed if the Eagles want to unleash their outside backs.