With a spot in Rugby World Cup 2023 on the line this Saturday in Montevideo, the USA Eagles will be without both their biggest name and an emerging star.
Gary Gold announced the line up 23 on Thursday. Flyhalf AJ MacGinty remains out due to injury, while loose forward Hanco Germishuys stayed back due to family obligations.
MacGinty injured himself playing for Sale two weeks ago and was unavailable for the first leg. Will Magie will start at out half in place of MacGinty, and Luke Carty will continue to serve as reserve 10.
Germishuys has been a breakout star of the 2021 Eagles campaign. Andrew Guerra, who started on the open side last week, will slide over to the 6. Jameson Fa’anana-Schultz, a man who sees more cards than a pro poker player, will take over at 7. Benjamin Bonasso could earn his first cap off the bench.
Another surprise is the centers pairing. Captain Bryce Campbell and Tavite Lopeti have manned the midfield at 12 and 13, respectively, but are slotted to switch numbers. Expect for this to look more like a number swap than a full out positional switch.
The Eagles have traveled to Montevideo for the away leg of World Cup qualification against Uruguay. The USA brings in a narrow 3 point advantage after seeing a 19-3 lead reduced to 19-16 by the final whistle. The winner on aggregate will claim a spot in Pool A with New Zealand, France (hosts), Italy, and the winner of Africas 1. The loser will play either Canada or Chile for the Americas 2 spot.
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