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Monday, October 5, 2015

Eagles Make Near Wholesale Changes, Manoa To Captain

As expected the Eagles have made near wholesale changes to their line-up as they get ready to face South Africa on Wednesday. With the U.S. targeting Japan on Sunday the short turnaround time means that head coach Mike Tolkin has swapped out 12 of the starters against Scotland with only Phil Thiel, Samu Manoa, and Blaine Scully keeping their places. Manoa will captain the side for the first time.

Several players will be making their debut at this World Cup while others will make their overall World Cup debut, including Matt Trouville, Niku Kruger, Zach Test, and Folau Niua. With Joe Taufetee and Mate Moeakiola on the bench it means that if they play every player on the roster will have played at the World Cup.

Up front Ollie Kilifi and Chris Baumann, who have been the top two choices at reserve prop in the first two games, will start with Titi Lamositele, Taufetee, and Moeakiola in reserve. Phil Thiel will keep his starting spot at hooker with Zach Fenoglio on the bench.

Take the jump to read more.
At lock Lou Stanfill will make a start in his third consecutive World Cup and also gain his 56th cap. He's set to retire after the World Cup so this may be the last time that fans get a chance to see him start. Joining him in the locks is his Seattle teammate Matt Trouville. In the back-row Danny Barrett will get an opportunity to start at flanker alongside John Quill while Samu Manoa will remain at his usual number eight. Cam Dolan and Al McFarland are the reserves.

Niku Kruger only has a couple of appearances for the Eagles but will start at scrumhalf. Shalom Suniula will start at fly-half. Only Mike Petri is an option off the bench. At wing Zach Test will make his starting debut alongside his 7s teammate Brett Thompson while Blaine Scully will be the fullback. Andrew Suniula and Folau Niua are the centers. Chris Wyles is the back line replacement option.

Forwards: Ollie Kilifi, Phil Thiel, Chris Baumann, Lou Stanfill, Matt Trouville, Danny Barrett, John Quill, Samu Manoa (C)

Backs: Niku Kruger, Shalom Suniula, Zach Test, Andrew Suniula, Folau Niua, Brett Thompson, Blaine Scully

Bench: Joe Taufetee, Zach Fenoglio, Mate Moeakiola, Titi Lamositele, Cam Dolan, Al McFarland, Mike Petri, Chris Wyles


  1. i really dont like the wholesale changes, its obvious now that we are going for broke against japan, but i think a full scale effort against the boks would drive momentum more. we do have a solid back row and experience in the backs, but overall this is uninspiring. a large, lopsided loss here sets us back, especially if we come up short on sunday.

    put me in the crowd of not impressed. that said, will be supporting the eagles a hundred percent.

  2. Any reason why Dolan isn't getting a start at lock? I don't think I've seen trouville even play lock.. Could be my ignorance though. Dolan was so solid at lock before the tournament. I thought he would feature here.

    1. since it appears that strategy is to rest most of the "first" team, dolan could be getting a start in the japan game or at least the plan is to have him feature heavily.

      in starting trouville here there is no need to stick him on the roster for sunday and everybody gets a run out.

  3. Can't say I agree much with this either, especially as I am going to the game and won't see AJ Macginty, Wyles or Durutalo! Tolkin must have a few tricks up his sleeve for Japan.

    I agree, a thumping loss to SA will only give Japan even more hope. He's right to make a few changes, but this tactic of wholesale changes will surely have to work otherwise Tolkin knows his world cup campaign has been a failure...but perhaps he knows his job is on the line and is going for broke as he's decided he'll be going either way.

    1. I HOPE he is going either way after the WC.

  4. Great having Samu Manoa as captain, but curious if Scully was named Vice Captain for the RWC why is he not the Captain?