Ten new caps set for Americas Rugby Championship clash with Canada

ROUND ROCK, Texas - Men's Eagles Head Coach John Mitchell has named Todd Clever captain of the team to take on Canada in the second Americas Rugby Championship match Saturday, Feb. 13, at Dell Diamond.

Partnering debutants Nate Brakeley and David Tameilau in the back row, Clever will lead the Eagles with just four other capped internationals in the starting XV. Last Saturday's opening match of the fledgling competition featuring six of North and South America's best national teams - a 35-35 draw with Argentina XV in Houston - was not a rankings test, meaning no caps were awarded to the nine eligible players.

Prop Eric Fry and inside center Lemoto Filikitonga will serve as vice captains against Canada, with the match scheduled to be streamed live on ESPN 3 (WatchESPN.com) at 6 p.m. CT and re-aired on ESPN 2 Sunday at 7:30 p.m. CT.

"We want to grow the leadership group," Mitchell said of his captaincy selections. "It's not just about one person - he needs to be supported by others. We have some diversity in our group, as well. Shared leadership, a sort of co-captaincy, is something that suits certain groups these days and we have the right people to help the younger players through something that's new for them."

Mike Te'o led the attack from the scrum half position in the latter stages of the second half against Argentina in place of Niku Kruger, and will receive his first cap against the border rival wearing the No. 9 jersey. James Bird impressed in last week's draw with strategic kicking and kicking for points, accounting for 15 of the team's 35 points, and holds onto the fly half position.

Chad London will line up alongside Filikitonga in the centers, and is the only capped back outside of Luke Hume, who last saw international action against Canada in the summer of 2014. That match in Sacramento ended a seven-match losing streak to the neighbors and began a three-match win streak through 2015. Kingsley McGowan occupied the Argentine defense opposite Taku Ngwenya last weekend in his hometown of Houston, and will earn his first cap in front of full back Jake Anderson.

Not scheduled to join the Eagles until next week, Brodie Orth laid claim to a man-of-the-match performance against Argentina, and will continue to hound opposing attackers Saturday with Ben Landry in the second row. Mike Sosene-Feagai's first cap will come between Chris Baumann and Fry in the front row, with rookie David Tameilau rounding out the pack at No. 8.

In all, just six changes were made to the starting XV that drew with a version of World Rugby's fifth-ranked Argentine side. Ten players will receive their debut caps from the opening whistle, with five others waiting for their own on the bench in Patrick Blair, JP Eloff, Mike Garrity, Alec Gletzer, and James Hilterbrand.

"The way we think now is actually about creating a team mix as we're not in a position where we know what our No. 1 team is," Mitchell said of the changes, which also reflect the departure of professionals Cam Dolan, Ngwenya, Greg Peterson, and Blaine Scully. "It's a matter of developing the depth and making sure we get to see everyone under pressure.

"We've got five matches [in the competition], so obviously we want people fresh in there, as well. We don't want to tailor off; we want to get better as we go - physically, mentally, and in rugby performance."

Following the first weekend of action in the first-year Americas Rugby Championship, Canada leads the six-team table with five points having earned a bonus-point victory at the expense of Uruguay. With its draw, the U.S. sits in third, level on three points with Argentina, with the four tries scored at BBVA Compass Stadium good for a bonus point.

Saturday's match at Dell Diamond is scheduled for a 6 p.m. CT kickoff, with broadcast available on ESPN 3 (WatchESPN.com). Live tweets will be provided by USA Rugby's Twitter account (@USARugby).

Following the match, the AIG Men's Junior All-Americans' World Rugby U20 Trophy qualifier with Canada's under-20 side will be played on the same pitch. The MJAA roster for the match will be released Friday afternoon.

Men's Eagles | v. Canada

1. Eric Fry

2. Mike Sosene-Feagai

3. Chris Baumann

4. Brodie Orth

5. Ben Landry

6. Nate Brakeley

7. Todd Clever (C)

8. David Tameilau

9. Mike Te'o

10. James Bird

11. Kingsley McGowan

12. Lemoto Filikitonga

13. Chad London

14. Luke Hume

15. Jake Anderson

Men's Eagles | Reserves

16. Joseph Taufete'e

17. Olive Kilifi

18. James Hilterbrand

19. Patrick Blair

20. Alec Gletzer

21. Niku Kruger

22. JP Eloff

23. Mike Garrity

Canada | v. USA

1. Hubert Buydens (C)

2. Ray Barkwill

3. Jake Ilnicki

4. Paul Ciulini

5. Callum Morrison

6. Lucas Rumball

7. Alistair Clark

8. Clay Panga

9. Gordon McRorie

10. Gradyn Bowd

11. Dan Moor

12. Nick Blevins

13. Mozac Samson

14. Phil Mackenzie

15. Pat Parfrey

Canada | Reserves

16. Eric Howard

17. Djustice Sears-Duru

18. Rob Brouwer

19. Kyle Baillie

20. Liam Chisholm

21. Michael Hamson

22. Andrew Ferguson

23. Duncan Maguire

Men's Eagles | Americas Rugby Championship Coaching Staff

John Mitchell

Phil Greening - Assistant Coach

Marty Veale - Assistant Coach

Rob Hoadley - Assistant Coach

David Williams - Strength and Conditioning Coach

Paul Goulding - Video Analyst

Sean Lindersmith - Team Manager

Men's Eagles | Americas Rugby Championship 2016

v. Argentina - D 35-35

v. Canada - Saturday, Feb. 13 @ 7:10 p.m. ET - Dell Diamond (Austin, Texas)

v. Chile - Saturday, Feb. 20 @ 6:10 p.m. ET - Lockhart Stadium (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

v. Brazil - Saturday, Feb. 27 @ 3:10 p.m. ET - Arena Barueri (São Paolo, Brazil)

v. Uruguay - Saturday, March 5 @ 4:10 p.m. ET - Charrua Stadium (Montevideo, Uruguay)