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Augspurger Leads USA in ARC Winner-Take-All

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Augspurger Leads USA in ARC Winner-Take-All

Nate Augspurger captains the USA for the second time. David Barpal photo.

A little over a year ago a very green USA team tied a pretty young Argentina XV 35-35 in the opening round of the new-look Americas Rugby Championship.

That tie set up the USA for a run at the title, a run that faltered with two losses in South America. This year, both teams enter this final weekend with a shot at winning it all. Both are 4-0, and the winner of this weekend's clash in at Estadio Municipal in Comodoro Rivadavia in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina. 

Whoever wins will win the ARC. If there's a tie, then if one team earns a four-try bonus point and the other does not, then the bonus-point winner will win the ARC. If there is a tie and a tie in bonus points, then Argentina will win on points difference.

Once again USA Head Coach John Mithcell has made changes, most of which have been forced on him. Nate Augspurger returns as captain, while the midfield of JP Eloff and Bryce Campbell has been virtually unchanged the entire series. John Quill, who was unavailable last week, has been brought back because Todd Clever is unavailable. He joins Cam Dolan, and Tony Lamborn (tied for 3rd in the ARC in tries) in the back row.

Mike Te'o moves to wing from fullback. He is tied with Lamborn for 3rd in tries in the ARC with four. With Te'o at wing Mitchell has opted for a kicking fullback to counter the Argentinean kicking game. Ben Cima, usually a flyhalf, will be the fullback, while Will Magie will be the flyhalf. It's highly likely that Cima, who is leading the ARC in points with 36, will be the main goalkicker, but Magie and Shaun Davies have also been very good. 

Note, this is not the Argentina full test side, and this game will not count in World Rugby rankings, caps totals, or any other international totals.

USA Lineup v Argentina XV 
1. Anthony Purpura 
2. James Hilterbrand 
3. Chris Baumann 
4. Matthew Jensen 
5. Siaosi Mahoni 
6. John Quill 
7. Tony Lamborn 
8. Cameron Dolan 
9. Shaun Davies 
10. Will Magie 
11. Nate Augspurger (C) 
12. JP Eloff 
13. Bryce Campbell 
14. Mike Te'o 
15. Ben Cima

USA Reserves 
16. Peter Malcolm 
17. Ben Tarr 
18. Olive Kilifi 
19. Hanco Germishuys 
20. David Tameilau 
21. Calvin Whiting 
22. Ryan Matyas 
23. Aaron Davis

Argentina XV v. USA 
1. Francisco Ferronato 
2. Gaspar Baldunciel 
3. Santiago Medrano 
4. Pedro Ortega 
5. Ignacio Larrague 
6. Francisco Gorrissen 
7. Lautaro Bavaro (C) 
8. Tomás de la Vega 
9. Sebastián Cancelliere 
10. Domingo Miotti 
11. Julián Domínguez 
12. Bruno Devoto 
13. Santiago Álvarez 
14. Germán Schulz 
15. Gabriel Ascárate

Argentina XV Reserves 
16. Marcelo Brandi 
17. Franco Brarda 
18. Eduardo Bello 
19. Franco Molina 
20. Santiago Montagner 
21. Lautaro Bazán Vélez 
22. Juan Cruz González 
23. Franco Cuaranta