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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Who Will Start For The Eagles Against Scotland?

The vibe around the Eagles over the last year plus since they qualified for the World Cup is that they really wanted to take down Scotland at the World Cup. Absolutely they wanted to beat Japan and Samoa and are planning accordingly. They also want to beat South Africa. Any idea that they wouldn't do their best against any of them is ludicrous. However, there was a special twinkle in the eye when you'd bring up Scotland. The Eagles really, really want to beat Scotland and after Scotland had to work for a half plus against Japan and likely will change their line-up to rest starters ahead of South Africa think they have a great shot at winning.

As such don't expect them to change around their line-up too much. There may be a few changes here and there but the bulk of the team will remain the same. Here's who we think gets the start.

Prop: Eric Fry and Titi Lamositele

Both Ollie Kilifi and Chris Baumann came on and did well in the last ten minutes but both Fry and Lamositele did well and will almost certainly start once again. They will be up against it against Scotland but with a World Cup match under their belt they should be able to settle down.

Take the jump to read more.
Hooker: Phil Thiel

This is a real question. Zach Fenoglio struggled in the lineout against Samoa but did well elsewhere around the pitch. It's been close between him and Phil Thiel this summer so we think things will get a shake up with Thiel starting.

Lock: Hayden Smith and Samu Manoa

This is another area in which we think the Eagles will make a slight change. We think that Hayden Smith stays in the line-up but that Samu Manoa will slide down to lock where he played quite a bit with Northampton. This is really more to fit Danny Barrett in on the back-row. Greg Peterson was good but maybe and and Cam Dolan can come off the bench and provide a punch.

Back-row: Al McFarland, Andrew Durutalo, Danny Barrett

With Manoa sliding down to lock in our roster guess Barrett should come into the line-up. It's also possible that Cam Dolan comes in at lock or the back-row but we think he still comes off the bench.

Scrumhalf: Mike Petri

This is a pretty obvious choice. Mike Petri is the number one and will start. He will probably be changed out for the South Africa match.

Fly-half: AJ MacGinty

This is the same as Petri. It wasn't the greatest World Cup debut for MacGinty so look to rebound against Scotland.

Center: Thretton Palamo and Seamus Kelly

Both Palamo and Kelly are playing well and there isn't any reason to make a change at this point. Having Folau Niua on the bench to provide an option at center, fullback, or fly-half is nice.

Wing: Taku Ngwenya and Chris Wyles

Same as the centers. Both Ngwenya and Wyles are some of the better players on the squad and the first names on the team sheet. Ngwenya's pace against Scotland could cause a lot of problems.

Fullback: Blaine Scully

All indications are that Scully is healthy enough to play on Saturday. If he's healthy enough to play then he's healthy enough to start.

Bench: Zach Fenoglio, Ollie Kilifi, Chris Baumann, Greg Peterson, Cam Dolan, Shalom Suniula, Folau Niua, Brett Thompson

The front row is pretty straightforward with Kilifi, Baumann, and Fenoglio all options. Rounding out the forwards should be Cam Dolan and Greg Peterson. Possibly John Quill makes it in there. In the backs it's Shalom Suniula, Folau Niua, and Brett Thompson once again.


  1. Agree with the backs. In the forwards there is no way I would move a world class player out of his best position. Especially when the scrum is functioning.

    Front row bring in Thiel. In the second row go with Dolan and Smith. I thought Peterson was more effective.

    In the back row Duratolo, Manoa and Barrett. If Manoa moves place him at 6. This is a sizable pack but with Dolan you have length and mobility. I would tell Duratolo to run himself off his feet and plan on coming out at 60 or 65. Same with Smith.

    Scotland left some of their ballast on the bench. They will be fresh. We need to match that size.

    For a game plan I would give the green light to run run and run some more. Screw the positional game. Put the ball to use and have no regrets.

  2. i think there will be a tweaked line up for sure, but i just can decide who it will be. i think the backs will stay the same and scully at fb gives us a more dynamic option. wyles on the wing will make the stops that need to be made.

    up front, i am ok with either hooker. it will be important that we take the game to them. four days rest is not that much. hard tackles in the first half will lead to tired bodies in the second half for them.

    that said, this is a good scotland team. we must not shoot ourself in the foot with silly mistakes. it is very possible for a win, but the team that showed up for the first half of that Oz match will need to be present. lets hope for high energy, smart play, and a go broke attack. i think we get a three point win.

  3. Even with his discipline problems I think Peterson's size and scrumaging abilities are needed in this game particularly. hes got decent hands too

  4. We will wait and see what Scotland's selections look like but they could make wholesale changes and be fresh. The benefit there is that they would be a little match rusty. It will be exceedingly important for the Eagles to start on the front foot.

    One stat that the UK commentators mentioned is that the Eagles have NEVER won a match after losing at halftime. I don't know if that is 100% accurate but I think it is fair to say that the Eagles can't go into the break chasing the game.

    If the Eagles want to make a mark on this tournament THIS is the game to win. Should they go down to Scotland and South Africa even a win against Japan will be little more than consolation.

    The bottom line is that the Eagles have been nothing more than participants at this tournament and that has to change. Sunday is the day to change that!!!

  5. Team announced on usa rugby website. Backs the same except Scully and Wyles swap positions. Only change in forwards is Thiel starting. I would have liked to see Dolan at lock and Barrett in the back row to bring height and added pace to the pack.

    Scotland are mostly fresh so the Eagles will not face a weary team. Issued opportunity to have two dynamic players on the field.

    The Eagles need a very fast start, something that has not happened a lot. Barrett is an impact player and Dolan has been in great form. We need these guys at kick off, not 50 - 60 minutes in.