Dale Money | September 25th, 2019
Fittingly enough the Americans will kick off their World Cup Tournament against their most historical rival in England. However, these two countries have a rather young Rugby history, only having played one another on five separate occasions. Interesting enough the first time they played was during the inaugural World Cup back in 1987 which was also a group match that England was victorious 34-6.
The Eagles will be looking to win their first test match against the English. England comes into this game already with a group win under their belt. It all kicks off tomorrow at Misaki Stadium in Kobe City.
Quite possibly one of the best USA rosters ever assembled for a world cup, they have been placed in a rather tough group, along with England they’ll also have France and Argentina to contend with. Ranked 13th in the world, the Eagles had a rather miserable 2015 World Cup showing losing all four of their group matches. Since then, however, they have done a superb job rebuilding their resume.
They’ve won the Americas Rugby Championship two of the last three years and it was just last month they had a strong showing at the Pacific Nations Cup. It included a 47-19 victory over neighboring Canada as well as a close 13-10 victory over Samoa before eventually falling to Japan in round three.
Captain Blaine Scully has a long history with the national team, a native of Sacramento he debuted for them back in the 2011 World Cup starting in all four group games. Since then playing in three World Cup competitions for his country. This team is loaded with players that have plenty of high-quality experience with European clubs. Hooker Joe Taufete’e, prop Titi Lamositele, and center Paul Lasike all currently play in the Premiership.
Flyhalf AJ MacGinty is one of a number of British born players picked for the USA roster, which also includes John Quill and Dylan Fawsitt. MacGinty who plays his club Rugby with the Sale Sharks and has 24 caps for the Eagles, is a sharp operator that other teammates will follow. He’s going to be needed more than ever in order to steady the ship against the English.
Manager Gary Gold took over the job in 2018 his previous job was a short campaign as Director of Rugby for the Worcester Warriors. South African born, Gold has plenty of experience having worked since 2001 for a number of clubs across the world in different capacities. He’ll be looking for a bit of vindication, an assistant coach for the Springboks during the 2011 World Cup he was let go after they crashed out in the quarterfinals.
Gold selected 14 players who will make their World Cup debuts, among them is the youngest player on the team at 19 years old in David Ainu’u. Ainu’u originally from Samoa gets the start at loosehead prop.
After getting eliminated out of their own home World Cup during the pool stages four years ago in 2015. England came into this event as one of the dark horses of this tournament. The only team in the northern hemisphere to have ever raised the Webb Ellis Cup. They started off the right way, blasting out of the gate with a dominating victory against Tonga 35-3. Star centre Manu Tuilagi stepped up in a big way, putting up two tries and skipper Owen Farrell tacked on another 15 points.
Perhaps they were saving something for extra, for some of their later contests, but it wasn’t considered a true dominant affair given the end score. Consider they gave up 17 turnovers, they also had just 47 percent of the possession. Expect them to work towards a much more polished effort against the Americans. England will stick to their game plan but with different personnel.
Eddie Jones will be leading the Roses for the first time as manager, having signed on with the team back in 2015 he has been a fantastic signing having led them to back to back Six Nations titles as well winning World Rugby Coach of the Year in 2017. Jones has decided to rest a number of players that started against Tonga including Tuilagi.
Only five players are going to be starting from the Tonga match, flyhalf George Ford, number eight Billie Vunipola, flanker Tom Curry, and prop Joe Marler. Luke Cowan-Dickie will start at hooker, with Dan Cole at prop and Joe Launchbury and Joe Kruis in the second-row ahead of a backline. Marler in the front row to earn his 91st cap, tying Jonny Wilkinson for third on the men’s all-time appearances list.
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