USA change eight for Romania

Date published: November 6 2014

USA coach Mike Tolkin has made eight changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s clash with Romania in Bucharest.

USA coach Mike Tolkin has made eight changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s clash with Romania in Bucharest.

Lock Louis Stanfill will earn his 50th cap as Tolkin’s squad begins the European leg of its November Tour.

Stanfill made a substitute appearance in his 49th cap last weekend in Chicago, where 61,500 fans saw a masterclass performance from the New Zealand All Blacks at a sold-out Soldier Field.

Tai Tuisamoa, an early replacement in Chicago, will partner Stanfill in the second row behind Nick Wallace, Phil Thiel, and Olive Kilifi.

Captain Todd Clever remains the only professional with the squad following the departure of seven overseas Eagles. He will line up alongside John Quill and Matt Trouville in the back row.

Danny Barrett sustained a fractured metacarpal Saturday and will not return to the team during the remaining weeks of the tour.

Quill was injured in the Eagles’ 35-10 loss to Fiji last year in the 2013 IRB Pacific Nations Cup. The flanker is available for each of the three matches in Europe this month, including the rematch with Fiji in Vannes.

Trouville featured in two matches for the Eagles Select XV at the 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship in October and will get his first cap against Romania.

“We need the forwards to perform on Saturday, and they know it,” said Tolkin.

“So the challenge is before them and they are up for it. The guys from Saturday are looking forward to a more competitive match.”

Mike Petri and Adam Siddall resume their partnership in the play-making positions of scrum half and fly half, respectively. Andrew Suniula and Seamus Kelly will also build on the continuity from Saturday’s match at Soldier Field in the centers.

Blaine Scully and Chris Wyles have returned to Leicester and Saracens of the Aviva Premiership, respectively, forcing changes in the back-three positions.

Brett Thompson, scheduled to be available for this month’s matches, sustained an AC shoulder injury in Chicago and is doubtful to return to the team.

Tim Stanfill will earn his second cap on the wing Saturday, while Taku Ngwenya returns from a year-long national team absence on the opposite wing. Folau Niua slots in at full-back.

Roland Suniula, brother of Andrew and Shalom, joins the squad in Europe as injury cover, while John Cullen, Greg Peterson, and Ben Tarr could each earn their first cap from the reserves.

“After a physical game up front [against the All Blacks] and more to come, we felt that having the extra forward on the bench was prudent,” Tolkin said of Roland’s call-up to the squad.

“It is unlucky for Tim [Maupin] as Roland can cover a few more positions, which is important this week.”

Ranked two places ahead of the Eagles in the IRB World Rankings, Romania is hosting the squad for the second time in two years.

Tolkin’s second win at the helm of the Eagles came in Bucharest in November 2012, where Ngwenya, Andrew Suniula, and Wyles each scored tries in a 34-3 victory.

The Eagles will look to begin their tour of Europe with a victory against the fellow Tier 2 nation, which has also qualified for IRB Rugby World Cup 2015. Romania will face Canada in England, as well as France, Ireland, and Italy in Pool D.

USA: 15 Folau Niua, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Tim Stanfill, 10 Adam Siddall, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Matt Trouville, 7 John Quill, 6 Todd Clever (c) 5 Louis Stanfill, 4 Tai Tuisamoa, 3 Olive Kilifi, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Nick Wallace.
Replacements: 16 Tom Coolican, 17 Benjamin Tarr, 18 Mate Moeakiola, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 John Cullen, 21 Kyle Sumsion, 22 Shalom Suniula, 23 Roland Suniula.

Date: Saturday, November 8
Kick-off: 18:30 local (16:30 GMT)
Venue: Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Neil Hennessy (Wales)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)