Friday, February 19, 2016

More Changes As Eagles Face Chile

Head coach John Mitchell has once again made changes to his starting line-up as his team gets ready to face Chile tomorrow. Todd Clever stays at captain and will be a part of an unchanged back-row that includes Nate Brakeley at flanker and David Tameilau at Number Eight. The lock are also unchanged as Ben Landry and Brodie Orth return. The only change in the forwards is at hooker where Joe Taufete'e replaces his cousin Mike Sosene-Feagai. Eric Fry and Chris Baumann will be the props.

There are many more changes in the backs, beginning with Tom Bliss coming in for Mike Te'o at scrumhalf. Bliss is a name that has been surfacing around the Eagles for awhile so getting him his first cap is a big lift to the team. Te'o shifts from scrumhalf back to fullback, the position he plays for Belmont Shore. The other halfback will be JP Eloff at fly-half. He played the second half against Canada and this will be his first opportunity to start.

Take the jump to read more.
Other changes in the backs include Nic Edwards coming in for Kingsley McGowan on the wing. He'll join Luke Hume. Lorenzo Thomas played with the U-20s last week in their win over Canada and impressed enough to get a start with the first team in place of the injured Moto Filikitonga. Chad London will be the other center.

On the bench will be Sosene-Feagi, Ollie Kilifi, Demecus Beach from Life, Alec Gletzer, Pat Blair, Niku Kruger, Ryan Matyas, and Jake Anderson. It will be a first cap for Bliss, Edwards, and Thomas, and then a potential first cap for Blair and Matyas.

"It's important to grow the depth," Mitchell said in a U.S.A. Rugby press release. "We're establishing greater competition down the tracks, and there was already competition in this side. There'll be even greater competition come June and November. It's quite unusual coming into an environment and people turning up and leaving as a result of the planning. It's been a bit challenging, but it's also been quite refreshing. There's new energy each week in bringing people up to speed. "We're [in a place to win] this competition but it's not necessarily something we're focused on. We respect the opposition and they bring different challenges each week. Obviously we look at them thoroughly, but we focus more on ourselves than the opposition in the competition."

Forwards: Eric Fry, Joe Taufete'e, Chris Baumann, Ben Landry, Brodie Orth, Nate Brakeley, Todd Clever, David Tameilau

Backs: Tom Bliss, JP Eloff, Nic Edwards, Chad London, Lorenzo Thomas, Luke Hume, Mike Te'o

Bench: Mike Sosene-Feagai, Ollie Kilifi, Demecus Beach, Alec Gletzer, Patrick Blair, Niku Kruger, Ryan Matyas, Jake Anderson


  1. Really excited to see Bliss in the #9 shirt. Should be a very entertaining game.

  2. Yes, I'm excited as well. I've heard good things about him, but have yet to see him play. Love seeing all the new names.

  3. Another fun lineup for the Eagles. It'll be great to see Bliss get a run in with the senior side and give us a good gauge on where he is at, since we've seen Kruger and Te'o run the show already. It's also good to see Thomas mix it up as well. He showed some solid running lines in the U20 game and should be a stalwart on defense going forward with his strong football background.

    This competition is really good for mixing these guys around. Te'o moves to 15, where I think he's a much better fit and having Hume and Edwards on the wings will make for some dangerous counter attacks if the three of them can hook up in space.