Thursday, June 22, 2017

Who Will Start For The Eagles Against Canada?

Photo: Cody Schmelter

The last two weeks head coach John Mitchell has run out mixed sides with the goal of saving some of his players for World Cup qualifying against Canada. The thought was that some of these players are coming off long seasons in Europe and they needed rest to be at their peak. That strategy has led to two losses so far but if the Eagles can come away from Hamilton and San Diego qualified for the World Cup it will have paid off. With all that in mind here's who we think (and will almost certainly be wrong) gets the start against Canada.

Prop: Chris Baumann, Joe Taufete'e, Paddy Ryan, Tony Purpura

On the surface this looks pretty straightforward. Chris Baumann and Paddy Ryan have seemed like the best options so far and would easily be our bet to start. However, a logjam at hooker and the ability of Joe Taufete'e to play prop could shake things up. With James Hilterbrand and Peter Malcolm both more than capable at hooker our guess is that Taufete'e is used at prop and will start alongside Baumann with Paddy Ryan and Tony Purpura on the bench.

Take the jump to read more.

Hooker: James Hilterbrand, Peter Malcolm

It would not be a shock to see Taufete'e start here but as we mentioned with Hilterbrand and Malcolm as options he can be used elsewhere. In the battle between Hilterbrand and Malcolm we think Hilterbrand starts because he has the experience.

Lock: Nate Brakeley, Nic Civetta, Ben Landry

There were broken up last week the favored pairing of Nate Brakeley and Nic Civetta should return this week. Both Matt Jensen and Ben Landry have looked good out on the pitch but Brakeley and Civetta have formed a great partnership that Mitchell would be hard pressed to break up.

Back-row: Tony Lamborn, Andrew Durutalo, Cam Dolan, John Quill, David Tameilau

The back-row is where things can get interesting. Mitchell has a number of options available to him with plenty of players having stood out. At least one good player is going to miss out. Tony Lamborn has been a reliable start for Mitchell and we think he gets the nod again. Andrew Durutalo has come off the bench the last two weeks. We think that was in anticipation for starting this week. For us it's between Cam Dolan and David Tameilau at No. 8. We think Dolan gets the start now that he's healthy. As for bench options it would be harsh to not include Todd Clever but John Quill and Tameilau  are on good form. We think it's Quill and Tameilau.

Scrumhalf: Shaun Davies

There has to be some serious debate at scrumhalf. It's a dead heat between Nate Augspurger and Shuan Davies at this point with both players getting an opportunity. However, with Augspurger able to play on the wing we think Davies gets the start.

Flyhalf: AJ MacGinty, Will Magie

Mitchell shook things up last week and played MacGinty in the centers. He was fine there but he's a flyhalf and he should stay at ten. That's what we think happens this week with another player sliding in at #12.

Center: Marche Brache, Bryce Campbell, Ryan Matyas

With Brache being rested last week we think it's a good indication he starts this week. The question is who starts along side him. Bryce Campbell has been nothing but solid every time he's played for the Eagles. We think he starts with Ryan Matyas being a super sub.

Wing: Nate Augspurger, Mike Te'o

As discussed above we think Augspurger starts on the wing. The Eagles have run out several players the last couple of weeks on the wing with Matai Leuta being given a shot as well as Martin Iosefo. In the end we think it's neither of those players that start but Mike Te'o. He has great running ability and could be a good fit even if it means neither of the U.S. wings will be very tall.

Fullback: Ben Cima

Ben Cima has had the opportunity to start at fullback before we think he slides back in this week. Will Magie is another option but we think he has a bench role instead.

Our projects (almost certainly wrong) starters:

1. Joe Taufete'e
2. James Hilterbrand
3. Chris Baumann
4. Nate Brakeley
5. Nic Civetta
6. John Quill
7. Andrew Durutalo
8. Cam Dolan
9. Shaun Davies
10. AJ MacGinty
11. Nate Augspurger
12. Marcel Brache
13. Bryce Campbell
14. Mike Te'o
15. Ben Cima

16. Peter Malcolm
17. Paddy Ryan
18. Tony Purpura
19. Ben Landry
20. John Quill
21. David Tameilau
22. Ryan Matyas
23. Will Magie


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