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Dolan Deserves to Start

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Dolan Deserves to Start

If not me then who? Cam Dolan finished the game against South Africa busting it to stop this try, making yet another case for a start.

In this opinion column by Alex Goff, the Goff Rugby Report Editor takes a look at one USA player who is getting short shrift in minutes, and especially, the honor of starting.

Former Naples HS and Life University All American Cam Dolan should start against Japan on Sunday.

It's as simple as that. While the selection decisions for the Eagles can be debated in some areas, it seems startlingly clear that Dolan has not been given his due this tournament.

And while we should acknowledge that Dolan has played in every game so far, coming in early in the second half each game, it's not the same as starting. With Todd Clever dropped and Scott LaValla injured, we need an arrogant, angry American-made player who wins lineouts and doesn't give up.

Look at the tackle he put in at the end of the South Africa game, when it mattered not at all whether Lwazi Mvovo scored or not. But Doaln cared, and actually stopped the tyr - Mvovo knocked it on, but the TMO didn't think so. But more than that, Dolan has done what he's been asked to do. He can runs the ball - although he's been asked to do it was the USA's structure has been falling apart in the second half.

With the lineout performing poorly, he wins lineouts.

With the defense missing tackles, he doesn't miss them.

With forwards dropping balls and giving away turnovers, he doesn't.

Here are the stats:

In 101 minutes of play, Dolan has made 20 tackles and missed 1, he's won 6 lineouts, and flubbed none. He's beaten 2 defenders, made zero turnovers, and committed 2 penalties.

In 352 minutes, the starting locks for the Eagles have made 37 tackles and missed 11, won 9 lineouts and flubbed 1, beten 3 defenders, committed 2 turnovers and 5 penalties.


So let's convert that to one 80-minute game.

Cam Dolan compared to starting locks per 80 minutes
  Dolan Locks
Tackles Made 15.0 8.4
Tackles Missed 0.75 2.5
Lineouts Taken 4.5 2.0
Lineouts Missed 0.0 0.23
Defenders Beaten 1.6 0.68
Turnovers conceded 0.0 0.45
Penalties Committed 1.58 1.13

Worse on penalties - that was his first game; none in the last two. In every other measurement he is better, often twice better, than the players starting ahead of him.

This is not to denigrate the work of Hayden Smith, Greg Peterson, Lou Stanfill, or Matt Trouville; it's making the point that a player who is doing his job, and more, deserves some recognition.