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Large Number of New Caps as USA Set to Face Romania

irish rugby tours

Large Number of New Caps as USA Set to Face Romania

Greg Peterson is the captain for this summer tour. Calder Cahill photo.

USA Men's 15s national team Head Coach Scott Lawrence has named his lineup to face Romania Saturday in Bucharest, with five players guaranteed to earn their first caps and four more with the potential to do that if they come off the bench.

The game kicks off from Stadionul Arcul de Triumf in the Romania Capital at 1PM ET and is live on The Rugby Network.

Who Are These Guys? The Eagle Summer Tour

Former Cal captain Sam Golla, Coventry flanker Paddy Ryan, and Chicago Hound Luke White, who has played all over the pack but this time rounds out a debutant back row.

Nick McCarthy, a very savvy and scrappy scrumhalf, starts at #9, and Tommaso Boni, who was capped 11 times for Italy before switching countries, starts at inside center.

Interestingly, then, of these five uncapped starters, only one, Golla, learned his rugby in the USA.

Lock Greg Peterson gets the captaincy and that's just reward for a player who has put a lot into the Eagles over the years. He joins Cam Dolan in the second row with the two combining for more than 100 caps and Peterson will be captain of the entire three-month series. Nate Augspurger starts at wing and is vice captain.

“The men have all contributed to a healthy learning environment here and are growing each day," said Lawrence. "This weekend is a chance for us to have an accelerated growth experience as a team, in playing the way we will play under pressure. I expect we’ll see some new faces step up and we’ll see who’s who in the zoo, so to speak, in the intensity of an international game.”

The United States last played Romania in Bucharest during the fall of 2018, where the Eagles won in dominant fashion over the host team, 31-5. Of the 23 rostered five years ago, six will return to the pitch this weekend in Cam Dolan, Dylan Fawsitt, Greg Peterson, Ruben de Haas, Paul Mullen, and Joe Taufete’e. 

Romania have been splitting results of late, facing off with fellow European sides this year, but are expected to bring a fair amount of power to the forward pack, facing off with a few 30-plus cap veterans on the USA side.

“A lot of good things to work on," said Peterson the new captain. "Scott’s come in with a new game plan, new coaching staff and a huge number of players new to the program, it’s been absolutely brilliant. We’re pushing the boundaries on what we want to do physically here, hitting a lot of our markers and building off that each week. It’s been really good, we’ve seen improvement each week and there’s really been a thirst to learn and get better, it’s been really promising."

A crop of new players, with 13 of the 23 having not been capped or holding fewer than 10 USA appearances, Peterson has his work cut out for him.

“Rugby is rugby, but when it comes to stepping out on the next level it’s about keeping that cool and calm head in a pressure situation, being able to flip on to the next job," said Peterson. "So it’s the mental game that we’re helping to build up with a lot of players. We’ve seen a lot of boys who have definitely put their hand up on this tour and take that next step. It’s going to be an exciting game this weekend.”

USA Lineup to Face Romania
Name Club Caps
1. Jack Iscaro Old Glory DC 2
2. Dylan Fawsitt New York Ironworkers 22
3. Paul Mullen Utah Warriors 30
4. Cam Dolan NOLA Gold 63
5. Greg Peterson (C) Unattached 39
6. Sam Golla Dallas Jackals Debut
7. Paddy Ryan Coventry (ENG) Debut
8. Luke White Chicago Hounds Debut
9. Nick McCarthy Leinster Debut
10. Luke Carty Chicago Hounds 11
11. Nate Augspurger (VC) San Diego Legion 36
12. Tommaso Boni Zebra (ITA) Debut
13. Mika Kruse Utah Warriors 5
14. Christian Dyer Houston SaberCats 11
15. Mitch Wilson New England Free Jacks 3
16. Joe Taufete'e Unattached 36
17. Jake Turnbull Seattle Seawolves Debut
18. Takaji Young Yen Utah Warriors Debut
19. Nate Brakeley New York Ironworkers 30
20. Thomas Tu'avao Utah Warriors Debut
21. Ruben de Haas Free State Cheetahs (RSA) 28
22. Chris Mattina Chicago Hounds Debut
23. Tavite Lopeti Seattle Seawolves 7


Romania Lineup to face USA:
1. Alexandru Savin; 2. Ovidu Cojocaru; 3. Gheorghe Gajion; 4. Marius Iftimiciuc; 5. Andrei Maho; 6. Mihai Macovei (captain); 7. Cristi Boboc; 8. Cristi Chrica; 9. Alin Conache; 10. Gabriel Pop; 11. Taliauli Sikuea; 12. Tevita Manumua; 13. Jason Tomane; 14. Marius Simionescu; 15. Vadvasa Hinckley

16. Florin Bârdasu; 17. Iulian Hartig; 18. Alexandru Gordas; 19. Stefan Iancu; 20. Vad Necalau; 21. Florin Surugiu; 22. Mihai Muresan; 23. Ionel Melinte

Romania has three players, Mahu, Sikuea, and Manumua, making their debuts for the Oaks. As you can see there is a bit of a Polynesian influx into the team.