BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – The team rosters for Thursday’s non-capped international match between Uruguay and the USA in Montevideo have been confirmed. The two Rugby World Cup 2015 competitors are to face-off in a warm-up fixture ahead of further international competition during the lead-in to the World Cup in England and Wales. With neither team having access to professional players based in Europe Thursday’s match will be a fixture between the leading domestic based players of Uruguay and the USA. The last time the team’s met at senior level in Uruguay they competed to a 27-27 draw during World Cup qualification.
With coaches Pablo Lemoine and Mike Tolkin looking to put their final touches on their squad selection for Rugby World Cup 2015 the upcoming non-capped international between Uruguay and the USA is a unique opportunity both for the squad members and the coaches themselves. Both countries are missing players based in Europe but they are, nonetheless, packed with players certain to be a part of the World Cup in England and Wales.
The starting props for both teams are familiar to international competition and their battle up-front will go a long way to determining the state of the respective scrums heading into the World Cup. Alejo Corral and Oscár Durán are well-respected players whom together overpowered Hong Kong and Russia in seeing Uruguay qualifying for the World Cup.
The USA’s starting props are also regulars with Olive Kilifi and Nick Wallace having been regulars in the team under Tolkin. Unlike Uruguay, however, the USA scrum has not had the same authority against opposition. The same cannot be said of the lineout as the North Americans have a well-oiled set-piece arrangement in this area. Both Lou Stanfill and John Cullen performed well on international duty in 2014 while Mathias Palomeque is one of Uruguay’s most promising forwards.
An additional area of interest in the forwards is certain to be that of openside flanker. Diego Magno and John Quill are notable players who have left their mark in the past. They are to play ahead of two scrum-halves who have been given rare opportunities starting against Rugby World Cup opposition. Both Alejo Durán and Robbie Shaw are, nonetheless, players in the frame as back-ups to the established Agustín Ormaechea and Mike Petri.
The selection of Shaw in combination of Shalom Suniula in the halves highlights an area that the USA have had problems in during the Tolkin years but against Uruguay the North Americans are expected to do well here. The real interest, however, should lie in the mid-field as the quality centre pairing of Alberto Román and Joaquín Prada takes on Seamus Kelly and newcomer Lemoto Filikitonga. Kelly has been handed the captaincy.
Editor’s addition: The USA back three sees Ronald McLean make another push to be an option at fullback while Zach Pangelinan, who can play the back 3 and fly-half aims to play the wing/fullback role while Tim Stanfill looks to continues his streak of scoring tries at every opportunity. Uruguay’s back three are very capable of being deadly in open play so it will be an interesting match-up. The biggest note regarding the reserves is that AJ MacGinty, a RWU 2015 USA Class member, will make his international debut in this non-cap match. The match won’t bind MacGinty to the USA as per World Rugby laws but it will give USA fans a chance to see the latest player to be hailed as the solution to the USA fly-half conundrum.
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