Fast and Physical presents: Manu and Eagles

The U.S.A. expect Manu Samoa to put up plenty of fight in their first matchup since the Eagles beat them by the narrowest of margins in their last meeting.

The Eagles triumphed over the Manu 30-29 in November. 

For round two of the Pacific Nations Cup (P.N.C.) at Suva's ANZ Stadium, Eagles attack coach Greg McWilliams said he was expecting plenty from the Samoan team. 

“It’s going to be a physical game; it’s going to be a fast game," he said. 

McWilliams said the team would be looking to secure their second straight win over the Manu after copping defeats in the previous five fixtures between the sides:

“But at the same time, if we’re seeing improvements in areas of our game leading into that first game against England in the Rugby World Cup, that’s the most important thing.”

Lock Greg Peterson, who started that November Tour game and will do so again on Saturday, said they are mostly focussing on themselves.

“We know how Samoa are going to play, they’re going to be a lot different to how they were last November," he said. 

“[If we] focus on our roles, our execution of that, and things should go well come Saturday.”

Peterson said he was impressed by Samoa’s 25-17 win over Tonga at Apia Park:

“It was tough conditions for them but they showed some really good footy in those conditions.”

Peterson’s introduction to the lineup is one of nine changes from head coach Gary Gold.

“We wanted to make sure that everybody got a run during the P.N.C.,” he said.

“We’ll be making some changes again next week when we play against Japan, irrelevant of the result.”

Gold said the objective is to produce performances in spite of the changes, and he is excited to see the new players and hopes they put their hand up for a Rugby World Cup place:

“Because we’ve been in camp for five weeks together we’re quite comfortable that a lot of those combinations have played together as well.”

U.S.A. Eagles team to play Samoa

1. Chance Wenglewski
2. James Hilterbrand
3. Paul Mullen
4. Ben Landry
5. Gregory Peterson
6. Tony Lamborn
7. John Quill
8. Cam Dolan
9. Ruben De Haas
10. AJ MacGinty
11. Martin Iosefo
12. Paul Lasike
13. Bryce Campbell
14. Blaine Scully (captain)
15. Will Hooley

16. Dylan Fawsitt
17. David Ainu’u
18. Paddy Ryan
19. Nate Brakeley
20. Ben Pinkelman (debut)
21. Nate Augspurger
22. Will Magie
23. Madison Hughes

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