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Preview: USA v Tonga

14th June 2013 10:37

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Chris Wyles USA Eagles rugby RC

Full-back: Chris Wyles

USA head coach Mike Tolkin has named his squad for their Pacific Nations Cup match against Tonga at the Home Depot Center on Friday.

Luke Hume is being held out as a precaution after coming off after 40 minutes in Saturday's 12-15 loss in front of a record 20,181 crowd at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.

James Paterson, who replaced Hume for the second-half of that match, will step in again and partner Takudzwa Ngwenya on the wing.

"Luke is recovering well from an ankle injury but we just want to make sure because we're going to use him a lot in Japan," Tolkin said.

Peter Dahl is also recalled for Samu Manoa at flanker, with the Northampton Saint taking a break after a long club season. Manoa will return in August for the two Rugby World Cup Qualifiers against Canada at Charleston's Blackbaud Stadium and Toronto's BMO Field.

Former AIG Men's Collegiate All-American Seamus Kelly earned his first cap last Saturday and will make his second start this weekend against Tonga.

"We know Seamus is a really good talent and he came through his first international start playing a very solid game," Tolkin said.

"We're confident with having him out on the field."

Chris Wyles returns as full-back after kicking four penalties against Ireland and Todd Clever will again captain the Eagles as they look to improve their Pacific Nations Cup record against a Tonga side coming off of a 37-26 loss to Canada.

"It's all about recovery and getting the bodies right after a physical match against Ireland," Tolkin said.

"The first two trainings after we got to San Diego were a little touch-and-go, but psychologically the guys are ready for the game."

Meanwhile, Tonga will be without suspended trio David Halaifonua, Siale Piutau and Edmund Aholelei who miss the game after picking up bans this week.

The islanders currently sit third in the Pacific Nations Cup standings on six points from two games so will be looking to turn things around against a side sitting one spot below them.

Flanker Nili Latu leads the side that includes Taniela Moa, Viliame Iongi and Hale T Pole.

The teams:

USA: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 James Paterson, 10 Toby L'Estrange, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Todd Clever (C), 7 Peter Dahl, 6 Scott LaValla, 5 Louis Stanfill, 4 Brian Doyle, 3 Eric Fry, 2 Chris Biller, 1 Shawn Pittman.
Replacements: 16 Zach Fenoglio, 17 Nick Wallace, 18 Phil Thiel, 19 Graham Harriman, 20 John Quill, 21 Robbie Shaw, 22 Adam Siddall, 23 Blaine Scully.

Tonga: 15 Viliami Hakalo, 14 Viliame Iongi, 13 Fraser Anderson, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Will Helu, 10 Taniela Moa, 9 Thomas Palu, 8 Paula Kaho, 7 Nili Latu (c), 6 Hale T Pole, 5 Lua Lokotui, 4 Josh Afu, 3 Taione Vea, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Kama Sakalia.
Replacements: 16 Ilaisia Ma'asi, 17 Peni Fakalelu, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Emosi Kauhenga, 20 Daniel Faleafa, 21 Siale Fahiua, 22 Samisoni Pone, 23 Soni Masima.

Date: Saturday, June 14
Kick-off: 19:30 local (02:30 GMT)
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium, Salt Lake City, USA
Referee: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Bryan Arciero (Canada), David Smortchevsky (Canada)

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