USA National Rugby Team


Three Changes in USA XV for Welsh Match

(Cardiff, Wales) 28 August 1999 -- The USA makes three changes to the XV to meet a Wales XV on Monday at the Millenium Stadium, including backrower Rob Lumkong's first start since recovering from a springtime knee injury.

Lumkong, flyhalf Mark Williams, and wing Brian Hightower come into the US side at the end of its three-week pre-World Cup training camp, but the changes reflect several factors. Numerous players had to leave camp this week to meet work commitments back home.

The USA XV is about the strongest possible camp lineup, but the first-choice team could well change before the start of the World Cup, US head coach Jack Clark said in announcing the team. The team's immediate goal is to recover its third-place Epson Cup form and rebound from last week's surprising loss to England.

"The only way to get the taste of last Saturday out of our mouth is to get back out on the field and put in a performance we're proud of. We have plenty to prove to ourselves and anyone who follows our fortunes," Clark said. Williams replaces departed David Niu, the two having rotated during the Epson Cup Pacific Rim, while Hightower comes in for Alatini Saulala, also back home in America.

Up against huge distances and still predominantly amateur, the Eagles don't assemble as regularly as their opponents and have been using a tour of Great Britain as a camp, training twice a day.

Also in the starting XV, high-scoring Kevin Dalzell joins Williams at halfback, and Tom Takau and Juan Grobler again pair in the centers. Injured at the start of last week's match,Vaea Anitoni returns to the right wing and Kurt Shuman heads home to fullback.

Bath standout Dan Lyle captains the side from number eight, heading a pack that includes props George Sucher and Ray Lehner and hooker Tom Billups, second rowers Luke Gross and Alec Parker, and flankers Lumkong and Dave Hodges.

The two sides haven't met since playing three times in 1997, Wales winning 34-14 in Cardiff, 30-20 in Wilmington, North Carolina, and 28-23 in San Francisco.

United States XV: Kurt Shuman; Vaea Anitoni, Juan Grobler, Tom Takau, Brian Hightower; Mark Williams, Kevin Dalzell; George Sucher, Tom Billups, Ray Lehner, Luke Gross, Alec Parker, Dave Hodges, Rob Lumkong, Dan Lyle (captain). Reserves: Rich Schurfeld, Dave Stroble, Jesse Coulson, Shaun Paga, Fifita Mounga, Marc L'Huilier, Kirk Khasigian.

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Scott Compton
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