Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 16 August 2013 17:26    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye: USA v Canada Head-to-Head
Columns - Eagle Eye

Here is RUGBYMag.com's look at the USA v. Canada head-to-head, plus assessments of certain aspects of play.

Numina Photo.

Andrew Tiedemann Tiederman is a strong, tough prop but still relatively young at 25. As a loosehead he will be packing down against Eric Fry, and it's at scrum time where he is expected to shine. He's also a tough defender. Pittman is still working on his scrummaging, although the new laws should help him a bit. In the open field he is at his best. The difference between the two? Tiedemann has less asked of him, and as a result can do more. Edge Canada. Pts 2-1 Shawn Pittman
Ryan Hamilton Ryan Hamilton, like Tiedemann, is an 11-cap 25-year-old from Edmonton. He will be under a lot of pressure to perform in the lineout. Chris Biller has improved his work rate, is dependable in his throwing, and good with the ball. Edge USA. Pts 1-2 Chris Biller
Jason Marshall Marshall is a former football crossover, and his job will be to cause problems up front in the scrum. He is also an outstanding defender, and there we does well to slow opposition ball on quick-picks. Fry struggled in June, but is looking better after a bit of a rest. He can cover acres of ground on a good day. Edge Canada. Pts 2-1 Eric Fry
Jebb Sinclair Sinclair and Stanfill are similar in many ways - tough, ornery, aggressive. Stanfill is somewhat more experienced and has been a big-play guy for the USA on many occasions. Edge USA. Pts 1-2 Lou Stanfill
Jamie Cudmore This is an interesting matchup of two guys from the mean streets who found redemption in rugby. Both are extremely physical, although Cudmore's reputation includes more off-the-ball stuff. Both are pros in Europe at the top of the game. Manoa was a big difference-maker for the USA against Ireland. He slots in at lock instead of flanker because of his physicality. Edge USA. Pts 1-2 Samu Manoa
Tyler Ardron LaValla and Ardron are also very similar players. Ardron has been in excellent form of late and could well be Canada's best player at the moment. LaValla is close to being that for the USA. Both are good with the ball, defend hard, excellent in the lineout, and can make big plays. Edge Even. Pts 1.5-1.5 Scott LaValla
John Moonlight Dahl was brought in to be first to the breakdown and steal possession. Moonlight is more of a thunder over you flanker, as he showed when he scored the winning (and only) try in the last USA v Canada game. Edge Canada. Pts 2-1 Peter Dahl
Aaron Carpenter Two captains at No. 8. Carpenter isn't much to look at - few international No. 8s are only 6 feet tall. But he is a powerful runner, an excellent leader, deceptively quick, and uncompromising. Clever is the USA's most dogged defender and enormously versatile as a runner, lineout winner, and grafter. Edge USA Pts 1-2 Todd Clever
Phil Mack Both of these scrumhalves are experienced. Both can take a run if they see an opportunity. Mack is in more of a leadership role for his team, and as a result can sometimes make a snap decision with a bit more confidence. But Petri is like that, too. Petri's advantage is his pass, Mack's is his audacity. Edge Even. Pts 1.5-1.5 Mike Petri
Harry Jones Jones is young and hasn't been playing a lot of 15s - he's been active with the USA 7s team. With the conditions likely to be a bit damp, he might be needed to kick a bit, which he can do. L'Estrange is young and struggled with his confidence for a while in June. But words is it's coming back. He also will need to kick well from the hand. Edge USA. Pts 1-2 Toby L'Estrange
DTH Van Der Merwe Scully gets the nod at left wing because Luke Hume is not 100% and Scully has been showing good form in his trial with Leicester. Van der Merwe is an experienced and very quick back who is right in his prime. Edge Canada. Pts 2-1 Blaine Scully
Nick Blevins Blevins is a straight-ahead charger. He tackles hard, sometimes a bit high, and runs straight and fearlessly. His clash with Suniula will be a good one because Suniula's job will be to make the gainline and present quick ball with Blevins all over him. Edge USA. Pts 1-2 Andrew Suniula
Ciaran Hearn Hearn is a big, powerful runner who runs good support lines and can also kick. He is a strong one-on-one defender and experienced on the 7s World Series as well as in international 15s. Kelly, while one of the best college players in the country, does not have the same level of experience. His biggest asset may well be his work in the rucks. Edge Canada. Pts 2-1 Seamus Kelly
Matt Evans Matt Evans is a good wing, but Taku Ngwenya, if given space, is an amazing wing. Edge USA. Pts 1-2 Taku Ngwenya
James Pritchard So many similarities on this team. Pritchard and Wyles are the goalkickers and provide leadership and insight from the fullback position. Pritchard has won many games with his goalkicking. Wyles is a slightly better attacker. Edge Even. Pts 1.5-1.5 Chris Wyles
Ray Barkwill The Canadian front row backups are somewhat more experienced than the USA group, but mostly because Titi Lamositele is only 18. All can play well enough, and how they back up their starters in the closing minutes might be the difference. Edge USA. Pts 1-2 Zach Fenoglio
Tom Dolezel Titi Lamositele
Doug Wooldridge Phil Thiel
Tyler Hotson Hotson and Doyle are both good enough to start. Edge Even. Pts 1-1 Brian Doyle
Nanyak Dala Dala is kind of a super sub for Canada and one who has hurt the USA on more than one occasion. Dolan has all sorts of talent and tools, but is he the guy to block a kick or poach a key ball late in the game? Edge Canada. Pts 1-0 Cameron Dolan
Sean White White and Shaw are both good enough to start. Edge Even. Pts 1-1 Robbie Shaw
Nathan Hirayama Two 7s players in as subs for the 15s team. Hirayama has done more of this. Both are essentially the backup goalkicker, but Canada has more kickers than the USA. Edge Canada. Pts 1-0 Folau Niua
Phil Mackenzie Both versatile backs. MacKenzie is a wing, for the most part. Suniula can play flyhalf or center, and has more experience. Edge USA Pts 0-1 Roland Suniula

Scrum Edge USA? Not at the moment. But the new laws will make this less of an issue. Edge Canada. Pts 3-1
Lineout No doubt, and despite the fact that in the last game Canada scored from a botched lineout, Edge USA. Pts 1-3
Goalkicking Both Wyles and Pritchard are expected to kick well. Edge Even. Pts 2-2
Teamwork Offense Canada just makes fewer errors. Edge Canada. Pts 3-1
Teamwork Defense This is where Canada wins games. Edge Canada. Pts 3-1

The total points gives Canada a 38.5 - 36.5 edge. That seems reasonable, given the fact that these games are usually close, and usually go Canada's way. In the end it comes down to teamwork. If the USA plays together a little better and avoids little mistakes, they can overcome a small deficit. Playing together and fearlessly is how Canada has won so much of late.