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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Who Will Start For The Eagles Against Brazil?

Photo: Connie Hatfield
So far head coach Gary Gold hasn't been inclined to make many changes to his team unless forced. With that in mind we actually don't envision many changes this week. Here's who we think (and are almost certainly wrong about) is going to get the start this week.

Prop: Huluholo Moungaloa, Angus MacLellan; Tony Purpura, Paddy Ryan

Last week we thought that Dino Waldren was headed back to London Scottish but he stayed. If we were to make an educated guess we'd suspect he'd head back to England this week. So who comes on in his place? Angus MacLellan has been on the bench the last few weeks and we think this week he steps up to start alongside Huluholo Moungaloa who started last week against Chile. Tony Purpura and Paddy Ryan are our bench replacements. Chance Wenglewski is another option and it wouldn't shock us to see him in place of Ryan.

Hooker: James Hilterbrand; Dylan Fawsitt

Last week James Hilterbrand got the start. There is a chance that his time commitment has come to an end and he has to head back to Australia but he doesn't have any club duties at the moment. In the end we think he stays and starts. Where we might see a change is in the back-up. Peter Malcolm hasn't been in the team the first three weeks so maybe he gets the nod. At the same time, Gold loves consistently so we're going to go with Fawsitt.

Take the jump to read more.
Lock: Matt Jensen, Nate Brakeley; Ben Landry

This week the Eagles have Matt Jensen available to play and we expect him to be put into the starting line-up based on his recent form. Jensen has done a lot of things well over the last year but it still stuck in a logjam at lock. A big performance might boost him up. If Nate Brakeley is available we think he starts. We say if because he may end up having work commitments (he is a Cambridge graduate after all). If that is the case we see Ben Landry starting once again with Brendan Daly as the back-up. 

Back-row: Psalm Wooching, Tony Lamborn, Cam Dolan; Malon Al-Jiboori

No reason to change things up here. They only thing we can see changing is Hanco Germishuys coming back into the starting line-up if available. Maybe Aladdin Schirmer makes his way to the bench in favor of Malon Al-Jiboori but it seems that Gold and staff (and former coach John Mitchell for his part) don't view the ARC as development so there is less experimentation. They view tournaments like the APC for that as well as club play. In the end it wouldn't surprise us if some players that were called into camp actually don't get a shot. 

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Scrumhalf: Nate Augspurger; Ruben de Haas

Shaun Davies wasn't available last week and it's unclear if he'll be available this week. If he is then we can see him as the back-up once again (it's important to remember that most of these players aren't full-time professionals, even with MLR, and they have work commitments). If he's not available then we see Ruben de Haas getting another shot. Overall, however, we think that Nate Augspurger gets another start. He has been as steady as they come for the Eagles. 

Flyhalf: Will Magie

The keys have been fully turned over to Will Magie to be the starting flyhalf at the ARC. He's started every match so far and done well. Ben Cima should be the back-up. 

Center: Dylan Audsley, Bryce Campbell

This is another area in which we envision little change. Both Campbell and Audsley have done well with their opportunities. Plus, there aren't a whole lot of other options. 

Wing: Ryan Matyas, Paul Lasike; Josh Whippy

We actually see one change here. Given his strong performance last week we think Paul Lasike starts this week with Josh Whippy on the bench. Maybe a player like Peni Tagive or Alex Elkins gets a chance. 

Fullback: Mike Te'o

Maybe a player like Audsley or Cima slides back here but we think Te'o gets the start again. 

So here is who we see as starting: 

1. Moungaloa
2. Hilterbrand
3. MacLellan
4. Brakeley
5. Jensen
6. Wooching
7. Lamborn
8. Dolan
9. Augspurger
10. Magie
11. Matyas
12. Campbell
13. Audsley
14. Lasike
15. Te'o

16. Fawsitt
17. Purpura
18. Ryan
19. Landry
20. Al-Jiboori
21. de Haas
22. Cima
23. Whippy



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