US Unveils Three More for Pontypridd Match
(Cardiff, Wales) 6 January 1996 -- Two days after its tour-opening defeat to Neath, the United States springs back into action against 1996 SWALEC Cup winner Pontypridd Tuesday night at Cardiff Arms Park's National Stadium at 7.15 pm.

Three more players debut in the red, white, and blue jersey. In the forwards, Steve O'Boyle gets his initial chance at prop. Flyhalf Ian Stevens and wing Chip Curtis also appear for the first time, each benefitting from a good showing at last month's US Trials Match in Las Vegas.

Elsewhere, center pairing Mark Williams and Ed Schram and halfback Britt Howard play their first games on this abbreviated US tour, shortened by the cancellation of last Wednesday's game against Wales 'A.' Hooker Sean Allen, lock Cliff Vogl, and backrowers Rob Randell, Jay Wilkerson, and Jason Walker come into the pack.

The Gentlemen of Aspen's Williams captains the side from the midfield, switched there from fullback by result of Boydy Wikeepa's tour-ending injury on Saturday. Fifteen minutes into his first game for the US, Wikeepa was trampled in a ruck and broke his hand, but finished the match.

Just four players remain from the Neath contest, two of whom (fullback Chris Morrow and wing Brian Hightower) made their first appearances for the US in that match, underlining the team's determination to evaluate as many as possible before the Pacific Rim Rugby Championship opens in May. The four-way, home-and-home tournament comprising Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and the US is the focal point of the Eaglesą season.

"Our goal in this match is to settle in and have an improved performance," US coach Jack Clark said after announcing the team's selections.

"Several players on the field will have a legitimate shot at test selection, and I'm happy that even with the loss of one game, 27 members of the tour party will have an opportunity to play in Wales."

United States: Chris Morrow (Gentlemen of Aspen); Chip Curtis (US Combined Services), Ed Schram (OMBAC), Mark Williams (Gentlemen of Aspen, captain), Brian Hightower (Gentlemen of Aspen); Ian Stevens (Belmont Shore), Britt Howard (Life College); Chris Lippert (Rugby), Sean Allen (Rugby), Steve O'Boyle (Golden Gate), Luke Gross (Harlequins), Cliff Vogl (Bridgend), Rob Randell (Old Blues), Jay Wilkerson (Belmont Shore), Jason Walker (Gentlemen of Aspen). Reserves: Ray Lehner (Blackheath), Tom Billups (Blackheath), Dave Hodges (OMBAC), Andre Bachelet (Reading), Kurt Shuman (Penn State University), Richard Tardits (Life College).