United States name Thiel at hooker for Scotland game

Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:28am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - The United States recalled hooker Phil Thiel in the only change to their starting line-up for the Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Scotland in Leeds on Sunday.

Captain Chris Wyles was moved to fullback after two games on the wing and Thiel replaced Zach Fenoglio, who started in the Americans' opening 25-16 defeat against Samoa.

"The scrum was once again a good platform of attack and the lineout had a few hiccups, which was unfortunate as it cost us on four occasions," coach Mike Tolkin said in a USA Rugby statement on Friday.

"Fenoglio's logged a lot of minutes as starter and Thiel is a little fresher. They are both very good and virtually even, so we thought this was a good time to get Phil in as a starter and have Zach add punch off the bench."

However, it is with the U.S. running game that Tolkin hopes to hurt the Scots.

"We have the capability to do some dynamic things with ball in hand, with both power and pace," he said. "We'd like to be able to make this a more consistent, potent weapon. Scotland, like everyone, has weaknesses and we need to exploit them effectively with both of those tools."

Team: 1-Eric Fry, 2-Phil Thiel, 3-Titi Lamositele, 4-Hayden Smith, 5-Greg Peterson, 6-Al McFarland, 7-Andrew Durutalo, 8-Samu Manoa; 9-Mike Petri, 10-AJ MacGinty, 11- Blaine Scully, 12-Thretton Palamo, 13-Seamus Kelly, 14-Takudzwa Ngwenya, 15-Chris Wyles (captain)

Replacements: 16-Zach Fenoglio, 17-Olive Kilifi, 18-Chris Baumann, 19-Cameron Dolan, 20-John Quill, 21-Danny Barrett, 22-Shalom Suniula, 23-Folau Niua

(Compiled by Ed Osmond; Editing by David Goodman)

Phil Thiel (L) of the U.S. tackles Italy's Cornelius van Zyl during their Rugby World Cup Pool C match at Trafalgar Park in Nelson September 27, 2011. REUTERS/Brandon Malone