USA Names Lineup To Face Formidable Georgia

USA Names Lineup To Face Formidable Georgia
Photo: Philippa Snyman
USA Men's 15s Head Coach John Mitchell has made a series of changes for this week's match with Georgia at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University.

Eight players start this week who did not start last week, and three other players move position. Tony Purpura comes in at prop instead of Ben Tarr. Ben Landry replaces Nic Civetta at lock. Todd Clever replaces John Quill at flanker and will captain the team, while Cam Dolan bounces back from injury to start at No. 8 in favor of David Tameilau.

In the backs, last week's starting scrumhalf and captain, Nate Augspurger, moves to win, while Shaun Davis gets the run-on in the #9 jersey. Will Magie will gets the start at flyhalf, while last week's #10, AJ MacGinty, replaces Marcel Brache at inside center. Scholz Award Winner Bryce Campbell returns at center after being a sub last week. Matai Leuta comes in at one wing, while Mike Te'o, who played wing last week, is now at fullback.

This is clearly a more experienced USA team, with this week's starting 15 carrying 201 caps, and last week's only 115. However, the difference, really, is because Todd Clever (a USA record 73 caps) steps in and Tameilau (now 7 caps) steps out. The Eagles had one player last week with 20 caps or more, and this week they have two. 

Still the decisions are probably centered around Mitchell's desire to solidify his choices for the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers against Canada, and also to match up against a very physical Georgia squad. Purpura is certainly there to make sure the scrum is strong, and the same could be said of Landry. It's a very dynamic, attacking back row, while the partnership of Magie and MacGinty is one centered around using the kicking game combined with Campbell's physicality.

The USA and Georgia have met four times. Todd Clever, by the way, has played in all four of those games:

June 21, 2009, Dick's Sporting Goods Stadium, Denver, CO
USA 31 Georgia 13
Tries: Emerick, Hawley, Usasz
Convs: Hercus
Pens: Hercus 4

November 27, 2010, National Stadium, Tbilisi, ROG
USA 17 Georgia 19
Tries: Emerick
Pens: V. Malifa
DGs: V. Malifa, Wyles

June 16, 2012, Infinity Park, Glendale, CO
USA 36 Georgia 20
Tries: Mokate, Paterson, A. Suniula, Petri
Convs: Wyles 2
Pens: Wyles 4

November 16, 2013, Poladi Stadium, Rustavi, ROG
USA 25 Georgia 23
Tries: Scully, Wallace, Wyles
Convs: Siddall 2
Pens: Siddall 2

All of the game were very competitive, and two extremely close. Georgia's power is in the scrum and in an outstanding kicking game (from the hand and the tee). But the Lelos cannot be underestimated out wide, and their defense, as shown by last week's 13-0 shutout of Canada, is solid. On the road, Georgia has been very good of late, beating Tonga and tying Samoa last summer and then beat Canada in Calgary. 

Mitchell said he was disappointed in the USA's performance against Ireland, but he remains committed also to giving players time. By the end of play on Saturday, every player in camp except USA 7s captain Madison Hughes will have received playing time. 

USA Lineup v Georgia
1. Tony Purpura
2. James Hilterbrand
3. Chris Baumann
4. Nate Brakeley
5. Ben Landry
6. Todd Clever (C)
7. Tony Lamborn
8. Cam Dolan
9. Shaun Davies
10. Will Magie
11. Nate Augspurger
12. AJ MacGinty
13. Bryce Campbell
14. Matai Leuta
15. Mike Te'o

USA Reserves
16. Peter Malcolm
17. Ben Tarr
18. Dino Waldren
19. Matthew Jensen
20. Andrew Durutalo
21. Ben Cima
22. Marcel Brache
23. Ryan Matyas

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