United States v Japan in Tokyo (World Cup Warm-up)
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground
Image thanks to www.jrfu.org
John Kirwan has made many changes to his side from that which lost to Italy last weekend. Everybody who has a chance of making the Japan World Cup squad will be given every opportunity and for some today is their last chance. “I believe everyone in the squad should have the opportunity to put themselves forward for selection for the game against France [on Sept. 10]. And I told the players that last week,” he said.
USA head coach Eddie O’Sullivan was in much the same mind when he announced his lineup. “Again we have made a number of changes to selection, as this is our final hit out before Rugby World Cup (RWC) and also our last opportunity to take a look at players before we make the final squad announcement,” said O’Sullivan.
Usual USA captain Todd Cleaver is out injured with scrum half Mike Petri given the job to lead the team. Veteran prop Mike MacDonald will equal the most test caps by any USA player, 62 held by Luke Goss. MacDonald is a veteran of both the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.
A win is important to both side so close to the World Cup. Japan playing at home and the USA’s poor record this season tips the odds in Japan’s favout.
Last Five Encounters
22.11.2008 Japan 32-17 in Tokyo (Friendly)
16.11.2008 Japan 29-19 in Nagoya (Friendly)
27.10.2003 USA 39-26 in Gosford (World Cup, Pool B)
17.05.2003 USA 69-27 in San Francisco (Superpowers Cup)
27.05.2000 USA 36-21 in Osaka (Pacific Rim)
The USA defeated Japan 38-27 in 1996, the last time the USA won in Tokyo.
Japan and USA played their first test match in 1985. USA winning in Tokyo by a single point, 16-15.
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Japan 12th, USA 17th
IRB Ranking Points
Japan 71.96, USA 65.00
Prediction: Japan by 20 points
15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)
14 Kevin Swiryn (Agen, France)
13 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
12 Paul Emerick (Life University)
11 James Paterson (Otago, New Zealand)
10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
9 Mike Petri, Capt. (New York Athletic Club)
8 Jonathan ‘JJ’ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town, South Africa)
7 Louis Stanfill (Unattached)
6 Patrick Danahy (Life University)
5 Hayden Smith (Saracens, England)
4 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais, France)
3 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
2 Phillip Thiel (Life University)
1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie, England)
16 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
17 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh, England)
18 Nic Johnson (Unattached)
19 Ryan Chapman (Utah Warriors)
20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC, England)
21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
22 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
Head Coach: Eddie O’Sullivan
Unavailable through injury: Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan)
Did not travel, but unavailable through injury: Troy Hall (NYAC), Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club), Chris Wyles (Saracens, Japan)
Adapted from http://www.usarugby.org
Most unusually, the Japanese side is not available