The USA Eagles will enter their third opportunity at Rugby World Cup qualification this Sunday as they take the pitch against Kenya Simbas for the first of three round-robin matches at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai on Sunday 3PM EAT.
While USA vs Kenya is traditionally a sevens match up for USA Eagles fans, as this will be the first time these nations have ever met on the Men’s fifteens pitch, this match should prove to be just as explosive and inspiring with the physical talent on each side.
Off the bench
Having just joined the squad this week after his club duties in Bristol, AJ MacGinty will come off the bench and give way to veteran Marcel Brache as Captain for this first round. MacGinty said ahead of the match, “We feel pretty good, it is an incredible place and preparations have been very good. Qualifying means everything, as a young kid playing the game this is what you dream of. This opportunity ahead of us is a massive one, I feel privileged to be here and excited to get going. We have had five weeks to get there in camps, so the mood is good, the lads have worked really hard, building confidence, and we are excited about the games ahead.”
Five USA Eagle debuts are on deck as Viliami Helu, Mitch Wilson, Jack Iscaro, Cory Daniel and Ryan Rees are named to the starting fifteen.
Wilson played with the Senior National Team against the French Barbarians in Houston this past July, however this will be his test match debut. Cam Dolan moves from his traditional No. 8 position to Lock in the absence of injured Nick Civetta, though a familiar position Dolan played during the exhibition games in South Africa and a few times this season with NOLA Gold.
With a few sevens veterans on the Kenyan side, pace and physicality in space will be a factor come Sunday. Well conditioned after multiple weeks in assembly since September, the USA will otherwise match up well with the speedy play and make for an exciting 80 minutes.
FQT Round ☝️ squad comin’ at ya.
Watch LIVE on @therugbynetwork pic.twitter.com/UDO3sEtVmx
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) November 4, 2022