USA National Rugby Team

US Chooses Lineup for 2d Welsh Test

(San Francisco, California) 11 July 1997 -- The US National Team's starting lineup for tomorrow's second test against touring Wales shows two changes, both of them positional, from last week's 30-20 loss in Wilmington, North Carolina. But injuries are a worry.

In the backrow, captain Dan Lyle moves over to blindside flanker, a position he's occupied for much of his test career, which now totals 17 caps. Meanwhile, Jason Walker goes to number eight, his clubside position for the Gentlemen of Aspen, the US national champs. Jay Wilkerson rounds out the loose trio.

Chris Lippert, Tom Billups, and Ray Lehner form the front row, and Luke Gross and Dave Hodges comprise the second row. In the backs, Andre Bachelet and Matt Alexander pair at halfback, Mark Scharrenberg and Tom Takau at center, and Brian Hightower, Vaea Anitoni, and Chris Morrow make up the deep three.

Billups, Lyle, Wilkerson, and Morrow all suffered injuries during the first test, and had to pass fitness tests as late as yesterday. At the tail end of an eight-game, ten week season of international rugby--the longest in American history--other US squad players are also niggled by complaints.

Still, to win the game, the US will have to cut down on defensive lapses and unenforced errors. "Certainly the injuries that we're carrying are a concern, and the Welsh team has proven its capabilities," US coach Jack Clark commented. "But last Saturday we played toe-to-toe, and this Saturday will be more of the same. Let it be clear that we're not frightened of the Welsh. Full stop."

United States: Chris Morrow; Vaea Anitoni, Tom Takau, Mark Scharrenberg, Brian Hightower; Matt Alexander, Andre Bachelet; Chris Lippert, Tom Billups, Ray Lehner, Luke Gross, Dave Hodges, Dan Lyle (c), Jay Wilkerson, Jason Walker. Reserves: Maika Sika, Alatini Saulala, Kevin Dalzell; Scott Yungling, Sean Allen, Mike Stanaway.