The USA Falcons will be seeking a morale-boosting victory over the South African provincial squad Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday as part of their preparation in the buildup to their Rugby World Cup Qualifier Series next month.
The American team is a secondary squad—consisting of only Major League Rugby players—and will be playing under the national team banner but competing as the USA Falcons throughout their two-match tour of South Africa.
2022 Free State Cheetahs vs USA National A
In November, the Falcons will have to tough it out against Hong Kong, Kenya and Portugal in Dubai for the final place in next year’s World Cup.
The team will want to test themselves against one of the best provincial teams in South Africa in the form of the Cheetahs.
Similarly, the Cheetahs will look to return to their winning ways after they slumped to a 21-14 defeat against an Emerging Ireland side a week ago. A favorable result against a Gary Gold-coached international team will serve as massive relief for Hawies Fourie’s Cheetahs, who start their inaugural European Challenge campaign in two months.
Admittedly, neither side will be boasting a full-strength lineup. The visitors will be missing all their foreign-based players, while eight first-choice Cheetahs squad members are unavailable for selection due to injury.
For all their attacking prowess, the Cheetahs are notorious for their defensive frailties and given Gold’s experience and intel of the game in South Africa, that is one facet which the American outfit will surely look to exploit to create ample scoring opportunities.
Should the home side continue playing in this way, there is every chance that the outcome of the game will hinge on which team gains supremacy at the scrum, breakdown and lineout.
15 Cohen Jasper, 14 Munier Hartzenberg, 13 Evardi Boshoff, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 George Lourens, 9 Branden de Kock, 8 Teboho Mohoje, 7 Sibabalo Qoma, 6 Marnus van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete (c), 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Janus Venter, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jeandre Rudolph, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Robert Ebersohn.
United States Falcons
15 Marcel Brache, 14 Mitch Wilson, 13 Bryce Campbell (c), 12 Paul Lasike, 11 Christian Dyer, 10 Luke Carty, 9 Nate Augspurger, 8 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, 7 Cory Daniel, 6 Viliami Helu, 5 Nick Civetta, 4 Keni Nasoqeqe, 3 Paul Mullen, 2 Dylan Fawsitt, 1 Jack Iscaro.
Subs: 16 Kaleb Geiger, 17 Chance Wenglewski, 18 Angus Maclellan, 19 Siaosi Mahoni, 20 Cam Dolan, 21 Duncan van Schalkwyk, 22 Tavite Lopeti, 23 Chris Mattina.