Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who Will Start For The Eagles Against Chile?

The Eagles take on Chile in a couple of days in the first match of their ARC swing through South America. We take a look at who we think starts.

Prop: Chris Baumann, Tony Purpura, Ben Tarr, Ollie Kilifi, Demecus Beach

Head coach John Mitchell will have five options at prop once again. Chris Baumann and Tony Purpura have started two matches and then played half of another one. That's a lot of playing time so far. Chile have proven themselves as the weakest team and it could be a good opportunity for Mitchell to blood some new players. Along those lines it could be Ben Tarr and Ollie Kilifi get get a shot. Tarr has been in camp since the start while Kilifi joined last week. Demecus Beach is also with the team but given travel to South America and the limited training time that includes we think it's Tarr and Kilifi with Baumann and Purpura off the bench.

Take the jump to read more.

Hooker: James Hilterbrand, Peter Malcolm, Hanco Germishuys

Peter Malcom has gotten the majority of the play early in the competition and he's done well. Why not let that continue and let him run wild against Chile. The thought could be that maybe he should be shown out against a tougher Argentina but we think Malcolm starts against Chile with Hilterbrand on the bench. Hanco Germishuys could be a surprise but we don't see it happening.

Lock: Siaosi Mahoni, Matt Jensen

There will be not Nate Brakeley and Nick Civetta partnership this week as both have returned to their clubs. That likely means that young Siaosi Mahoni gets the start. Players in camp have been raving about him and this will be his opportunity for extended minutes. We're also likely to see the return of Matt Jensen. We think he's been great and should excel against Chile. It's possible that one of Cam Dolan, Todd Clever, or David Tameilau slide down but we don't think so unless it's late in the match and one of Mahoni and Jensen is subbed out.

Back-row: Todd Clever, Tony Lamborn, Cam Dolan, David Tameilau, Hanco Germishuys

There are only five back-row players in camp this week but Mitchell is going to have plenty of options. Tony Lamborn, Todd Clever, Cam Dolan, and David Tameilau are all professional options. We think that Lamborn is fairly certain to start as are Dolan and Tameilau. That means Clever and Germishuys on the bench.

Scrumhalf: Shaun Davies, Nate Augspurger

Shaun Davies or Nate Augspurger? That is the question. Once again with the options on the wing being thin it could be another opportunity to slide Augspurger out to there again. If that's the case then Davies gets the start. If not, we think Augspurger starts over Davies.

Flyhalf: Will Magie, Ben Cima

Will Magie or Ben Cima? Magie has somewhat established himself as the number one option through three weeks but this is the perfect opportunity for Cima to get another start. With Chile being a team the Eagles should beat as easily as Brazil Cima can get a run out against good competition. That said, we wouldn't be surprised if Magie started.

Center: Bryce Campbell, JP Eloff, Calvin Whiting

Calvin Whiting comes into the camp this week. We think there are a lot of bright things ahead for him but having just come into camp we don't think he starts and instead it's Bryce Campbell and JP Eloff once again.

Wing: Spike Davis, Ryan Matyas, Luke Hume, Andrew Turner

This is the biggest question mark on the roster. Ryan Matyas started last week but he had to come off injured. If he can't go that leaves Spike Davis and Luke Hume (maybe Andrew Turner but we're not sure if he's still in camp). We think that Hume starts either way. This is the last time he's in camp and he wasn't on the roster against Canada. Alongside Hume we think Matyas gets the nod.

Fullback: Mike Te'o

The only other option we can think of that would displace Mike Te'o from his fullback spot is Will Magie sliding to fullback. That said, we think it's Te'o once again. Chile should give him plenty of practice handling kicks.

Forwards: Tarr, Malcolm, Kilifi, Mahoni, Jensen, Lamborn, Dolan, Tameilau

Backs: Augspurger, Cima, Matyas, Eloff, Campbell, Hume, Te'o

Bench: Hilterbrand, Purpura, Baumann, Clever, Germishuys, Davies, Magie, Whiting


  1. I'd like to see a strong lineup put Chile to the sword.

    The RWC is 2 years away and we don't have that many games for experimentation.

    Mitchell should be forming an idea of starters and backups and looking to pick a settled team. The massive amount of changes between each game is simply not something that the top teams actually do. They maybe try out a few guys, but still keep experience and class on the pitch.

    My fear is that Mitchell is going to spend his tenure capping as many players as possible, and then end up taking the guys we already knew were the best to the RWC, with the disadvantage that they've hardly played for the team because 'backups to the backups to the backups' were given gametime.

  2. The roster has been pretty consistent through the first 3 games. The problem for consistency sake is the fact that we can get or won't get access to our overseas pros for the entirety of the ARC and that the amateur players don't normally have the luxury of taking 5-6 weeks off work to be available the entire time. Some of the changes are out of necessity. Last year was about finding players and now we are seeing less experimentation and more consistentency. We will probably see even less caps handed out next year.