Thursday, September 7, 2017

30 Tickets To Japan: The Backs

In part two of our 30 Tickets to Japan series we take a look at the backs. There are some key battles here that need to be sorted out but at the same time some spots are solidified. Here's our thoughts:

Scrumhalf: Nate Augspurger, Shaun Davies

Even though Nate Augspurger has been the first choice scrumhalf recently it still doesn't feel like it's 100% nailed down. Augspurger does a lot of things well and his ability to play on the wing has been huge. We think he keeps his starting spot. If not him, Shaun Davies gets the go. They have become a good pair and it's hard to see someone breaking through but it's not impossible. Madison Hughes has been mooted as an option but he's usually played elsewhere. Maybe Steve Tomasin breaks through.

Fly-half: AJ MacGinty, Will Magie

Maybe only Blaine Scully at wing and Samu Manoa wherever he plays are more automatic selections than AJ MacGinty. He's off to another great start at Sale and barring injury is going to be key for the Eagles. There are still some questions at who will be the back-up. It seems down to Will Magie and Ben Cima at this point but it's possible a player like James Bird breaks through. Right now we think it's Magie with Cima playing elsewhere.

Take the jump to read more.
Center: Marcel Brache, Thretton Palamo, Folau Niua, Bryce Campbell

This position seems the most unsettled among the Eagles backs. In the summer John Mitchell went with a combination of Marcel Brache at inside center and Bryce Campbell at outside center. That worked well. Brache has become more comfortable in an Eagles jersey and we think with even more time to dedicate to the team he fits in more. He adds a good dimension as a playmaking 12 that many coaches like. However, both Brache and and Campbell are susceptible at being taken out of the starting line-up. If Thretton Palamo returns to health he could play at outside center. If Folau Niua comes back to 15s he might be a perfect #12. Then you have the likes of Martin Iosefo, Calvin Whiting, and several other youngsters. Those are a lot of good options. In the end we think that it's Brache, Palamo, Niua, and Campbell.

Wing: Blaine Scully, Taku Ngwenya, Mike Te'o, Ryan Matyas, Martin Iosefo

If you take out injuries the Eagles look decent at wing. Blaine Scully is the first name on the team sheet but the question is who is going to pair with him. The U.S. have tried out a lot of players recently, Matai Leuta, Mikey Te'o, and Martin Iosefo recently. There are also a lot of other options like 7s players Maka Unufe, Brett Thompson, and Perry Baker. You also have Luke Hume and Ryan Matyas. Then there is Taku Ngwenya. He hasn't been in the Eagles picture recently but he always seems to show up in time for the World Cup. We think the next coach sees his qualities and brings him in. For us it's Scully, Ngwenya, Te'o, Martin Iosefo, and Matyas.

Fullback: Ben Cima

It feels like the Eagles are going to go with someone young here. That could be Ben Cima, Will Magie, Mikey Te'o, or our dark horse Conor Kearns. Right now we think it's Cima.

1 comment:

  1. Should really start striking 7s players from the list of possible wings. Unless they can spend a good full season or year playing just 15s they're routinely out of position on the wing.