Fresh forward pack, Selects ready for Jaguars test in Argentina

SALTA, Argentina – The USA Rugby Selects coaching staff is utilizing the full travel squad on its current South American Tour as Head Coach Mike Tolkin has announced the starting lineup for the match against Argentina Jaguars Tuesday, April 28.

Capped Eagle Phil Thiel will captain the squad from the front row with Angus MacLellan and Chris Baumann at his side as loose head and tight head prop, respectively. The eight forwards named to Tuesday’s roster did not start in last Thursday’s 13-3, tour-opening victory against Uruguay in Montevideo.

John Cullen, available from the bench Tuesday, and Olive Kilifi each spent time in the sin bin in the win as the Selects did not allow Uruguay to cross the try line with 15, 14, or 13 men on the pitch.

AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans Ben Landry and Kyle Sumsion will partner Nicholas Barrett and Teli Veamatahau in the second row and back row, respectively, while Alastair McFarland rounds out the pack at number eight.

“This is a younger pack of forwards who are looking to prove themselves to the coaches,” Tolkin said. “They are young and athletic and need to use brains and brawn here to duel with a seasoned, physical, and intelligent pack on the other side of them.”

Fly half in last week’s match, Shalom Suniula will take over at scrum half Tuesday, a position he held with the Selects at the Americas Rugby Championship in Canada last fall. AJ MacGinty moves from the bench to fly half to partner the Seattle Saracens playmaker, while MCAA Niku Kruger will provide fresh legs for the half backs wearing no. 21.

“We are playing these games to see what these players can do in the heat of battle against quality opposition,” Tolkin said. “We would like our half backs to be tactical decision makers and lead the attack by being intelligent, confident, and vocal. It is my hope that they see the game exactly as the staff and team do and the attack can be effective because of that shared vision of what we are trying to achieve.”

Troy Hall will play at full back, his position at the ARC, moving Ronald McLean to the wing opposite Tim Stanfill. Chad London will partner Lemoto Filikitonga in the centers, replacing the Selects’ captain against Uruguay, Seamus Kelly.

Zach Pangelinan, scorer of the Selects’ first three points last week, joins Colton Cariaga, Cullen, Zach Fenoglio, Kruger, Mike Shepherd, Matt Trouville, and Nick Wallace in the reserves.

Twenty-eight of the traveling 29 players have been selected to a match-day squad on Tour thus far, with the coaching staff ringing changes to better gauge the Eagles’ World Cup pool.

“We wanted our upper echelon of domestic-based players to play challenging matches where they need to perform physically and mentally to succeed, to use and develop their rugby IQs so that they are better conditioned to succeed against the top teams in the world,” Tolkin said.

“From this match, we want to see who shows the ability to do that – who shows the promise to move on. That will be measured in the next matches as well as the one we just played in against Uruguay. It will also provide great teaching opportunities for the coaches.”

Tuesday’s match is scheduled for a 2:40 p.m. ET kickoff at the home of Jockey Club de Salta, before the rematch Saturday, May 2, at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena. Broadcast details for Tuesday’s match have not yet been confirmed.

USA Rugby Selects | v. Argentina Jaguars
1. Angus MacLellan
2. Phil Thiel (C)
3. Chris Baumann
4. Nick Barrett
5. Ben Landry
6. Teli Veamatahau
7. Kyle Sumsion
8. Al McFarland
9. Shalom Suniula
10. AJ MacGinty
11. Tim Stanfill
12. Lemoto Filikitonga
13. Chad London
14. Ronald McLean
15. Troy Hall

USA Rugby Selects | Reserves
16. Zach Fenoglio
17. Nick Wallace
18. Mike Shepherd
19. John Cullen
20. Matt Trouville
21. Niku Kruger
22. Zach Pangelinan
23. Colton Cariaga

Argentina Jaguars | v. USA Rugby Selects
1. Bruno Postiglioni
2. Julián Montoya
3. Matías Díaz
4. Guido Petti Pagadizabal
5. Matías Alemanno
6. Pablo Matera
7. Javier Ortega Desio
8. Facundo Isa
9. Tomás Cubelli
10. Santiago González Iglesias
11. Manuel Montero
12. Jerónimo De la Fuente
13. Matías Moroni
14. Ramiro Moyano
15. Santiago Cordero

Argentina Jaguars | Reserves
16. Matías Cortese
17. Lucas Noguera Paz
18. Roberto Tejerizo
19. Gerónimo Albertario
20. Lisandro Ahualli de Chazal
21. Martín Landajo
22. Bautista Ezcurra
23. Matías Orlando

USA Rugby Selects | Coaching Staff
Mike Tolkin – Head Coach
Justin Fitzpatrick – Assistant Coach (Forwards)
Nate Osborne – Assistant Coach (Backs/Attack)
Phil Bailey – Assistant Coach (Defense)
David Williams – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Chris O’Brien – Assistant Coach (Video Analysis)
Richard Quincy – Physiotherapist
Zach Vyhnanek – Physiotherapist
Sarah Sall – Massage Therapist
Sam Akhavan – Doctor
Tristan Lewis – Team Manager

USA Rugby Selects | South American Tour
v Uruguay – W 13-3
v Argentina Jaguars – Tuesday, April 28 – Salta
v Argentina Jaguars – Saturday, May 2 – Salta