Two teams on different trajectories will collide in the second round of the Americas Pacific Challenge on Wednesday. The USA Select XV were overwhelmed by a physical and direct Samoa ‘A’ team in the first round, and had no chance to recover after Hanco Germishuys was sent off for what the officials thought were punches thrown. Video evidence available after the match cleared Germishuys of wrong-doing however and he will suit up for Wednesday’s match as a reserve.
Eight new players have been brought into the Select side with four positional switches. Change Wenglewski replaces Alex Maughan at loosehead prop and it’s an all-San Francisco Golden Gate second row with Brendan Hardiman tagging in for Matt Jensen. His combination with Brendan Daly will be one of the smallest lock pairing in recent USA history and made more interesting with the presence of Ben Landry on the blindside flank.
Landry arrives in Montevideo having played lock for Glendale on the weekend so it will be his second start in the span of five days. Also named in the back row is Psalm Wooching, the prospective NFL draftee who has instead opted to pursue a career in rugby. Wooching has been used almost exclusively as an outside back by the Seattle Saracens but with his background as a hard-hitting linebacker the national selectors are interested in a conversion to the flank. Seattle clubmate Aladdin Schirmer switches to No 8.
The new halfbacks are well acquainted with each other as Saint Mary’s College duo Holden Yungert and Mike McCarthy will get a chance to show their wares on the international stage. A second playmaker is added to the midfield in JP Eloff and Bryce Campbell bumps out one spot to outside center. Back to the wing goes Tim Maupin with Mitch Wilson moving to his preferred fullback position and BYU’s Josh Whippy making his USA representative debut on the left wing.
Uruguay ‘A’ are riding high after a convincing win over Tonga ‘A’ on Saturday but they will not rest on their laurels. Only five players retain their spots in the side with a number of fringe players given an opportunity to stake a claim for a spot on the November tour and ultimately the World Cup Qualifiers against Canada in January.
Into the front row come Facundo Gattas, Carlos Pombo, and Carlos Arboleya. Both Gattas and Arboleya have also been used extensively at hooker but will focus on prop for now. The latter of course was a mainstay in the Teros front row for the 2015 World Cup, scoring an historic try against Fiji.
Two more World Cup veterans start at lock in Diego Magno and Mathias Palomeque. By contrast the flanks will be manned by a pair of youngsters in Marcos Chamyan and Leandro Segredo, with Juan Diego Ormaechea adding a cool head to the back of the scrum. Chamyan is also seen as an option at hooker while Segredo was one of the form players in the Uruguayan club competition.
The halfbacks remain intact but there is a new player in the midfield as Rodrigo Bocking replaces Agustín Della Corte at inside center. Jaguares squad member Nicolás Freitas is named on the left wing with another World Cup starter Gastón Mieres on the right and Francisco López chosen at fullback.
Kickoff is set for 2:00pm local time, 1:00pm Eastern. A live stream will be provided by World Rugby.
USA SELECT XV
1 Chance Wenglewski, 2 Peter Malcolm (capt.), 3 Angus MacLellan, 4 Brendan Daly, 5 Brendan Hardiman, 6 Ben Landry, 7 Psalm Wooching, 8 Aladdin Schirmer, 9 Holden Yungert, 10 Mike McCarthy, 11 Josh Whippy, 12 JP Eloff, 13 Bryce Campbell, 14 Tim Maupin, 15 Mitch Wilson
Replacements: 16 Alex Vorster, 17 Huluholo Mo’ungaloa, 18 Kelepi Fifita, 19 Matt Jensen, 20 Hanco Germishuys, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Ben Cima, 23 Zach Pangelinan
1 Facundo Gattas, 2 Carlos Pombo, 3 Carlos Arboleya, 4 Diego Magno, 5 Mathias Palomeque, 6 Marcos Chamyan, 7 Leandro Segredo, 8 Juan Diego Ormaechea, 9 Guillermo Lijtenstein (capt.), 10 Lucas Durán, 11 Nicolás Freitas, 12 Rodrigo Bocking, 13 Joaquín Prada, 14 Gastón Mieres, 15 Francisco López
Replacements: 16 Germán Kessler, 17 Matías Benítez, 18 Felipe Inciarte, 19 Diego Ayala, 20 Gonzalo Soto, 21 Baltasar Brum, 22 Federico Favaro, 23 Gastón Gibernau