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Youth is Served as Eagles, All Blacks Name Lineups

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Youth is Served as Eagles, All Blacks Name Lineups

Former Royal Irish and University of Indiana start Bryce Campbell captains the USA against the All Blacks. David Barpal photo.

It's no surprise that the USA team to face off with the All Blacks on Saturday at the 1874 will be a domestic team.

This test match is being played outside the World Rugby test match window for the fall, and so professional clubs in Europe are under no obligation to release their players to a national team. 

As a result, we see all US-based players to face New Zealand (tickets here>>), and a young one at that.

Saturday at FedEx Field will see Army vs Navy around 1PM and then the test match at 3:30PM ET.

“Facing the No. 2 team in the world is an incredible challenge for anyone and, as we’ve said many times, these are the high-pressure situations we want to put ourselves in," said USA Head Coach Gary Gold. “Matches like these can be a true test of character as they force split-second decisions in intense and hectic environments. This is an exciting opportunity for us to expose our younger players to the best in the world while allowing our experienced guys to be leaders and help guide the cohesion of the group.

“We are under no illusions for what lies ahead on Saturday. Our preparation has gone well, the spirit in the group is high and we look forward to having a vibrant and vocal home crowd behind us in the nation’s capital.”

Ryan James makes his debut for the USA and will start on the wing. Former University of Utah Scholz Award finalist Chad Gough could get his first cap as the hooker is on the bench for Eagles. The same could be said of prop Faka'osi Pifeleti, who is the younger brother of capped hooker Kapeli Pifeleti.

Of the starting lineup, four got their first caps this year.

While we've seen most of this forward pack in 2021, the Eagles do unleash a brand new halfback combination in Nate Augspurger and Luke Carty. The midfield combination of Bryce Campbell and Tavite Lopeti has become a bit of a fixture, while Ryan Matyas returns to the wing after a strong showing against Canada in Colorado.

Will Hooley, who has been coming back from injury, is an experienced player at fullback and is the only recent overseas pro on the list—he has come to the USA to play for the LA Giltinis.  

This team will have to work together and keep the frantic movements to a minimum. Normally, in games like this, the USA competes well for 25 minutes or so, but basically can tire themselves out trying to cover everything. This team needs to play hard, be together, and be smart, and they also have to allow their teammates to do some work, as well.

USA Men’s 15s Team Lineup to Face New Zealand
1. Matt Harmon Prop NOLA Gold 4
2. Dylan Fawsitt Hooker Rugby United New York 19
3. Paul Mullen Prop Utah Warriors 24
4. Nate Brakeley Lock Rugby United New York 29
5. Nick Civetta Lock Rugby United New York 32
6. Andrew Guerra Flanker NOLA Gold 5
7. Hanco Germishuys Flanker Rugby United New York 26
8. Cam Dolan No. 8 NOLA Gold 57
9. Nate Augspurger Scrumhalf San Diego Legion 30
10. Luke Carty Flyhalf LA Giltinis 5
11. Ryan Matyas Wing San Diego Legion 13
12. Bryce Campbell (C) Center Austin Gilgronis 38
13. Tavite Lopeti Center Saint Mary's College of California 4
14. Ryan James Wing LA Giltinis Debut
15. Will Hooley Fullback San Diego Legion 17
16. Chad Gough Reserve Hooker Utah Warriors Debut
17. Faka’osi Pifeleti Reserve Prop San Diego Legion Debut
18. Dino Waldren Reserve Prop NOLA Gold 21
19. Siaosi Mahoni Reserve Lock San Diego Legion 4
20. Moni Tonga'uiha Reserve Flanker NOLA Gold 1
21. Benjamin Bonasso Reserve Flanker Rugby United New York 1
22. Michael Baska Reserve Scrumhalf Utah Warriors 2
23. Mike Dabulas Reserve Flyhalf Old Glory DC 1
Men’s XVs National Team Traveling Staff      
Head Coach | Gary Gold      
Asst Coach, Defense | Rob Hoadley      
Asst Coach, Backs | Steve Brett      
Asst Coach, Forwards | Shawn Pittman      
Coach, Strength & Conditioning | Huw Bevan      
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison      
Team Doctor | Mark Sakr      
Head Physiotherapist | Kristen Douhan      
Athletic Trainer | Ron Klingensmith      
Sports Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz      
Team Manager | Oscar Alvarez    

Meanwhile, the All Blacks are also looking at some young players.

Regular captain Sam Cane is on the bench, coming back as  he is from injury. Cane (74, scrumhalf TJ Perenara (75), hooker Dane Coles (76), also back from injury, and back Beauden Barrett (98) are all heavily-capped players on the bench.

Sam Whitelock, 127 caps, captains the side, but on a team that routinely plays a dozen matches a year, it is rare to see as many as nine starters with fewer than 10 caps. 

Several of these players are getting their first or second start.

The All Blacks have been in a bubble and haven't ventured out much aside from training, but they did secure the services of an open-air bus to tour DC.