USA Makes Changes To Face Japan

USA Men's 15s head coach Gary Gold has picked his lineup in the Pacific Nations Cup finale Saturday.

The Eagles take on Japan in a clash of the only two 2-0 teams in the PNC. The winner will win the tournament, and while the USA won't jump up in the rankings (they've risen to #13 from #15 after beating Canada and Samoa).

Gold has made eight changes to the starting 15 that beat Samoa 13-10 last week.

Gold is looking to see more hopefuls and to rest some players who have played two difficult games in a row. Mikey Sosene-Feagai will start at hooker in his first appearance with the Men’s Eagles since facing Uruguay in 2016. Nate Brakeley will start at lock with Ben Landry shifting to the bench, while Malon Al-Jiboori and Hanco Germishuys are both in at flanker.

Germishuys is back after dealing with an injury.  

Newly-capped Jamason Fa’anana Schultz will take the No. 8 spot, with Shaun Davies back in at scrumhalf.

USA sevens team captain Madison Hughes will start at wing, while Martin Iosefo is rested. Marcel Brache returns at center after completing the HIA protocol. Bryce Campbell, Mr. Reliable for the Eagles, takes a break.

Another player coming back from a long absence and also coming back from injury, Thretton Palamo (last capped in 2016) returns to the Eagles and is on the bench.

Gold said he was “happy for our guys that we’ve put ourselves in a good position with an opportunity to win the PNC on Saturday. Credit to both Canada and Samoa who put us under a lot of pressure in those first two games and really showed us what can happen when we don’t make the right decisions on the field.

“Now that we’ve reached the final match of the tournament and knowing how sharp this Japanese team is, we must absolutely continue to show consistent defense; but also build momentum around our attacking game to be successful.”

USA Line To Face Japan




1. Chance Wenglewski

Rugby ATL


2. Mikey Sosene-Feagai

Auckland (NZL)


3. Paul Mullen

Houston SaberCats


4. Nate Brakeley

Rugby United New York


5. Gregory Peterson

Newcastle Falcons (ENG)


6. Malon Aljiboori

Glendale Raptors


7. Hanco Germishuys

Glendale Raptors


8. Jamason Fa’anana Shultz

Houston SaberCats


9. Shaun Davies

Glendale Raptors


10. AJ MacGinty

Sale Sharks (ENG)


11. Madison Hughes

USA Sevens


12. Paul Lasike

Harlequins (ENG)


13. Marcel Brache

Western Force (AUS)


14. Blaine Scully (C)



15. Will Hooley

Bedford Blues (ENG)


USA Reserves




16. Dylan Fawsitt

Rugby United New York


17. David Ainu’u

Toulouse Rugby (FRA)


18. Paddy Ryan

Rugby United New York


19. Ben Landry

Ealing Trailfinders (ENG)


20. Ben Pinkelman

USA Sevens


21. Nate Augspurger

San Diego Legion


22. Will Magie

Glendale Raptors


23. Thretton Palamo

Houston SaberCats


General Manager | Dave Hodges
Head Coach | Gary Gold
Assistant Coach, Attack | Greg McWilliams
Assistant Coach, Set Piece | Shawn Pittman
Assistant Coach, Defense | Jaque Fourie
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison
Assistant S&C and Analyst | Tom Kindley
Team Doctor | Mark Sakr
Team Doctor | Sam Akhavan
Head Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Athletic Trainer | Matt Lopez (Fiji)
Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan
Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz
Team Manager | Chris Hanson
Assistant Team Manager | Mark Drown

Rugby Rules 101: What Does "Ruck" Mean?

For new players to the game of rugby, the concept of a "ruck" can be a tricky one to apprehend, as there is no other sport that involves rucking. However, once you've got a clearer picture of a ruck, also known as a "breakdown", it's a relatively easy thing to understand. 

Premiership Rugby Eyes Mid-August Return

Following the league shutdown due to coronavirus in March, the Gallagher Premiership looks set for a return to action on August 15th. One week ago, UK government officials announced that elite-level sports would be able to resume on June 1st behind closed doors. 

The 5 Best Women's Rugby Shorts

Having a comfortable pair of rugby shorts can greatly impact one’s performance during training and games. When choosing shorts, you want to take into consideration the fit and the durability, especially if you’re going to be in the scrum. The last thing you would want is for your shorts to rip during a scrum because the fabric was not durable enough. In addition to the durability, you want to make sure the shorts are breathable and comfortable for tackling, running, and potentially kicking. If you’re in the market for a new pair of shorts, here are five different types of shorts that you can check out:

Rugby vs Soccer: Former SEC Soccer Player Compares The Two

One of the great things about rugby is that it's a multi-skilled sport which lends itself well to crossover athletes. Particularly in a sports-mad country like the United States, we see tons of players seamlessly make the transition from other sports to rugby. 

How To Throw A Great Rugby Pass

Throwing a great pass can carve up a defense unlike any other facet of the game in rugby. A well-timed, well-placed ball puts a defense under enormous pressure and causes fractures in the defensive line. As long as the ball is placed accurately, on time, and in a position that the receiver can catch the ball on the move without breaking stride, it doesn't matter what it looks like. Heck, if we're looking at football, think of Peyton Manning's passes. One of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game rarely threw a spiral, but he did tick the boxes of accurate, on time, and in stride. 

Some Useful Rugby Passing Drills

Here is a quick, easy passing progression that will help you and your team sharpen your distribution skills and carve opponents up on the weekends. Even the best defenses in the world cannot defend near-perfect passing, so having the ability to run-catch-pass is one of the most lethal weapons in the book. 

We Stand With You

The events of the last week have been tremendously painful to us all.

Rugby Drills That Keep Your Social Distance

As of June 1st, many rugby teams have been granted the option of getting together to conduct practice. However, the practices must adhere to the six feet social distancing rules and players are not allowed to use any equipment. Therefore, options for a practice plan are going to be extremely limited, but that doesn't mean you can't still get some good out of having the team together. 

Bring Em Down: How To Tackle Big Guys In Rugby

For many of rugby players out there, especially us smaller ones, we're all too familiar with the sight of a large, rampaging big man or woman lined up across from us about to get the ball. Our fight or flight instincts kick in, and in that moment of instinctual reaction we dictate the likelihood that the tackle does or does not get made. 

Step By Step Guide: How To Break Tackles In Rugby

One of the best ways to completely unhinge a defense is to beat your defender one on one with a step or a tackle bust. While not all of us can step like Cheslin Kolbe, we do all have the ability to break a tackle and get our team on the front foot. No matter your size, speed, or strength, you can always bust out of a tackle with some clever use of footwork and a trust in your balance.