England v USA - Teams and Predictions
SPOTLIGHT: Eddie Jones has named an England starting XV to take on the USA this Sunday containing just two of the starters that flopped in their last outing 15 weeks ago.
Jones’ charges were comfortably beaten 18-32 in Dublin in their final match in the 2021 Six Nations.
The fallout from that disappointing campaign resulted in widespread criticism of the coach and he was subjected to a much-publicised RFU review before he was assured by his paymasters that he was still their man to take the team through to the 2023 World Cup in France.
Another big week of training with a lot of new faces in camp 💪
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 2, 2021
With multiple England first-choice players away with the Lions and other seasoned players such as George Ford, Ben Youngs and Jonny May rested, Jones has looked at the two-Test mid-year series versus the USA and Canada as his opportunity to freshen up his squad.
Following his use of a regularly revised squad these past three weeks, he has now selected a team to take on the Americans at Twickenham that contains eight uncapped players in the starting line-up and four more potential new caps on the bench.
With Ollie Lawrence and Charlie Ewels the only two repeat starters from Dublin, Jones has included squad regulars such as Henry Slade, Max Malins, Ellis Genge and Sam Underhill to ensure an experienced backbone is present to bolster the many newcomers in an XV skippered by rookie Lewis Ludlow.
Genge will vice-captain the team in a front row containing the uncapped Curtis Langdon and Joe Heyes, Ewels will partner Josh McNally at lock and Underhill lines up with Ludlow and Callum Chick in the back row. In the backs, the much-celebrated Marcus Smith, Harry Randall and Freddie Steward are the three rookies, while the four newcomers on the bench are Jamie Blamire, Trevor Davison, Ben Curry and Jacob Umaga. Of the 13 Premiership clubs for the upcoming 2021/22 season, every club bar London Irish has at least one player in the 23 where Bath lead the way with four starters and one more on the bench.
Jones said: “Over the past three weeks our biggest message to the players is what an opportunity this is to show what they can do and make their mark with England.
“They have applied themselves as a group and worked very hard individually during this camp to reach their personal bests.
Now it’s all about coming together as a team, gelling and putting in a good performance at the weekend.”
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— USA Rugby (@USARugby) July 1, 2021
The USA squad features 351 cumulative test caps with the roster predominantly stacked with domestic Major League Rugby talent.
Three of those players include flank Riekert Hattingh (Seawolves), flyhalf Luke Carty (Giltinis) and wing Mika Kruse (Warriors) who will all make their national team debut as starters. In all, 13 of the 23 players have World Cup experience which adds a valuable balance to the new faces in the group.
While England presents a hugely difficult task, especially after a long absence in competitive international games, the opportunity to test new players is invaluable as this new cycle begins.
Eagles have not played England at Twickenham since 1999. In their last meeting in Japan, the English defeated the Americans 45-7 with current Captain Bryce Campbell scoring the USA’s lone try.
“We’ve had a good few days in England getting the guys back together with a number of productive training sessions under our belts,” Head coach Gary Gold said.
“For us, the important thing is to ensure our younger players are exposed to this quality of competition early and often in their playing career.
“As we look ahead to World Cup qualification against Canada and now two test matches against Ireland, we are confident we will see the experience of these games pay dividends heading into the next two World cup cycles.”
@rugby365com: England by 25 points
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Max Malins, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Lewis Ludlow (Captain), 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Josh McNally, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Curtis Langdon, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Ted Hill, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Lewis Ludlam, 22 Dan Robson, 23 Jacob Umaga
USA: 15 Will Hooley, 14 Mikey Te’o, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Bryce Campbell, 11 Mika Kruse, 10 Luke Carty, 9 Ruben de Haas, 8 Cam Dolan, 7 Riekert Hattingh, 6 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, 5 Nick Civetta, 4 Gregory Peterson, 3 Paul Mullen, 2 Mikey Sosene-Feagai, 1 David Ainu’u
Replacements: 16 Joe Taufete’e, 17 Matt Harmon, 18 Dino Waldren, 19 Nate Brakeley, 20 Psalm Wooching, 21 Hanco Germishuys, 22 Michael Baska, 23 Calvin Whiting
Date: Sunday, July 4
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, United Kingdom
Kick-off: 14.00 (14.00 GTM; 09.00 USA time)
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Andrea Piardi (FIR) & Ben Blain (SRU)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)