Rugby World Cup: Manoa Steps up as USA Ring Changes for SA

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Wearing the armband: Samu Manoa will captain the Eagles against South Africa
Wearing the armband: Samu Manoa will captain the Eagles against South Africa

RWU HQ – Samu Manoa will captain USA for the first time when they take on South Africa in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup on Wednesday, October 7, with regular captain Chris Wyles starting on the bench.

Only Manoa, Phil Thiel and Blaine Scully have kept their starting places from the 39-16 defeat against Scotland, as coach Mike Tolkin makes 12 changes to the USA side for the match at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium in London.

Scrum-half Niku Kruger, lock Matthew Trouville and winger Zachary Test will make their World Cup debuts against the Springboks, as will replacement hooker Joe Taufetee if he comes off the bench. Another three – Louis Stanfill, Andrew Suniula and Mate Moeakiola – already have World Cup experience, but are set to make their bows in the 2015 tournament.

If he comes off the bench, the 37-year-old Moeakiola will become the third oldest player to represent USA at World Cups, behind fly-half Mark Williams and prop Fred Paoli.

He would also become the eighth USA player to feature in three World Cups, along with four others in the current squad – Stanfill, Wyles, Mike Petri and Takudzwa Ngwenya.

USA squad v South Africa: 1 Oli Kilifi 2 Phil Thiel 3 Chris Baumann 4 Louis Stanfill 5 Matthew Trouville 6 Danny Barrett 7 John Quill 8 Samu Manoa (c) 9 Niku Kruger 10 Shalom Suniula 11 Zach Test 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Folau Niua 14 Brett Thompson 15 Blaine Scully Replacements 16 Joe Taufetee 17 Zach Fenoglio 18 Mate Moeakiola 19 Titi Lamositele 20 Cam Dolan 21 Al McFarland 22 Mike Petri 23 Chris Wyles

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James Harrington... Before injury brought his rugby career to a timely end, journalist James was equally useless whether he packed down in the second row or at number 8, positions in which he represented his school and university with indistinction. The prolific one now lives in France with his journalist wife and three children and watches as much Top 14, European and international action he thinks he can get away with; justifying his obsession by claiming: "But it's all work, Honey!"