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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Eagles Picked To Play Maori All Blacks


John Mitchell has named his strongest possible line-up to face the Maori All Blacks on Friday. Even though the team is missing the likes of Cam Dolan, Blaine Scully, and Samu Manoa they have been able to put together a group that has the potential to do well. Beginning with the forwards the availability of Titi Lamositele means that he will pair with Chris Baumann in the props. Baumann had a fantastic season for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup. James Hilterbrand will take over the hooking duties. Also in the forwards Nate Brakeley and Nick Civetta will form the lock pairing. Given the names in camp this pairing was no unexpected. The back-row looks particularly strong with Todd Clever, Tony Lamborn, and Danny Barrett.

There were more questions in the backs where several regular starters are out. The biggest question would be who takes over the back-up fly-half role to AJ MacGinty. The answer for right now is Will Holder. It's been over four years since Holder played fly-half for the Eagles. Nate Augspurger will be the scrumhalf. Matai Leuta and Martin Iosefo are the wings with Mike Te'o at fullback. Folau Niua and Bryce Campbell are the centers.

Take the jump to read more.
The bench has a number of options as well. Joe Taufete'e will bring experience to the front-row while Al McFarland is a good option off the bench as well. Shalom Suniula has been to a World Cup while Madison Hughes could finally make his 15s debut.

Forwards: Titi Lamositele, James Hilterbrand, Chris Baumann, Nate Brakeley, Nick Civetta, Todd Clever (C), Tony Lamborn, Danny Barrett

Backs: Nate Augspurger, Will Holder, Matai Leuta, Folau Niua, Bryce Campbell, Martin Iosefo, Mike Te'o

Bench: Joe Taufete'e, Angus MacLellan, Alex Maughan, Matt Jensen, Al McFarland, Steve Tomasin, Shalom Suniula, Madison Hughes

11 comments:

  1. I want to see the Eagles play the All Blacks again, and see how much they have improved. American rugby is strong, and will only get stronger :).

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  2. No Ben Cima or JP Eloff at fly? How is will holder who hasn't played quarterback in 4 years starting there? I guess we'll see

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  3. I hope Augspurger is faster with the ball out the rucks than he was against Italy last year. If not, I'll be rooting for Hughes to come of the bench.

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  4. I thought Holder looked really encouraging in his last appearance at flyhalf, and I thought he looked good at fullback recently, so I'm glad to see him get another crack at #10.

    I like the centers, I've always been a Niua fan and Campbell looks exciting. Here's hoping.

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  5. I dont think Cima is defensively strong enough yet to hold up to this level of competition

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  6. Maori will dictate the pace of the game. It's how they react that is going to determine how the game is played.

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  7. If you look at this team, it's a big team physically. Iosefo and Leuta on the wings and Clever, Barrett and Lamborn in the backrow are examples of that. Mitchell is picking a team to try to match the Maori's physicality. I will be at the game, so I'm curious to see how they match up.

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  8. Why no Durutalo on the game day roster?

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  9. Looks like a good group. I think the US will struggle once it hits reserve forwards time. Not because those guys aren't talented and capable, just need to keep building their experience.

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  10. The problem in forward depth is increased because we don't have overseas pros except Lamositele and Civetta. We are missing several first line players such as Manoa, Dolan, Peterson, Durutalo, Fry, etc. Having those guys in Europe will be good.

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  11. Get ready for a blowout here folks. There is not a single US player that would crack the Maori lineup. Their backline is going to cut the US the shreds, especially Rieko Ioane and Damian MacKenzie. Will Holder at fly? Please...

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