Earning his tenth cap, Bath flanker Dan Lyle captains the team for the fourth time. After debuting as man-of-the-match against Ireland in October 1994, Lyle took up the Eagle reigns in June 1996, guiding the US through the latter part of last year's Pacific Rim Rugby Championship campaign, including an historic 74-5 win over Japan in San Francisco. A minor knee injury kept him from September's Pan American Championship, where the US finished third after dropping matches to Argentina in injury time and Canada just seven minutes from the end.
Number eight Rob Lumkong and openside Jay Wilkerson join Lyle in the backrow, the latter earning his sixth test appearance after an impressive performance against Ponty. Second row Cliff Vogl too played his way into the Eagle lineup on Tuesday evening, and pairs with youthful Alec Parker, still just 22. Ray Lehner, Tom Billups, and Bill LeClerc comprise the front row.
Andre Bachelet and Matt Alexander form the test pairing at halfback for the ninth time, but the remainder of the line is more of a "form" combination. Though center Mark Scharrenberg and wing Vaea Anitoni take their familiar places, wing Brian Hightower earns his initial cap after scoring his first try for the US on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Pontypridd matchwinner Richard Tardits steps into the number 13 jersey, and midweek captain Mark Williams moves from inside center to fullback.
Williams's 28th cap moves him into a tie with center/wing Kevin Higgins for second place on the all-time appearance list. The Gentlemen of Aspen veteran's versatility has allowed to appear at every backline position save scrumhalf for the Eagles.
Summing up the USAšs abbreviated tour of Wales, which has seen the Wales 'A' match canceled, a heavy defeat to Neath, and unexpected victory over Pontypridd, Eagle coach Jack Clark stated that "Based on the fact that we're out of season, I expect that practice time on the job should produce continued improved performance in the Wales game."
United States: Mark Williams; Vaea Anitoni, Richard Tardits, Mark Scharrenberg, Brian Hightower; Matt Alexander, Andre Bachelet; Ray Lehner, Tom Billups, Bill LeClerc, Cliff Vogl, Alec Parker, Dan Lyle (c), Jay Wilkerson, Rob Lumkong. Replacements: Chris Lippert, Sean Allen, Jason Walker; Britt Howard, Ed Schram, Chris Morrow.