USA v Scotland preview: Head to head ratings


1.Olive Kilifi – Big lad but is normally named on the bench for the Eagles. His selection to start is a bit of a surprise.6Gordon Reid – Making his debut in a Scotland shirt. Good around the park but will be interesting to see how he scrummages in an international match.6.5
2.Phil Thiel – Experienced hooker but a bit of an unknown quantity as he has only ever played in America. Strong beard.6Scott Lawson – Gets around well and has good hands for a hooker. Still doubts over his throwing in.6.5
3.Eric Fry – The experienced man in the US front-row. Consistent performances for London Scottish means that Newcastle Falcons have signed him for next season.6.5Geoff Cross – Underrated and powerful scrummager. Should thrive against his inexperienced opposite man.7
4.Louis Stanfill – Stands in for Samu Manoa who’s unavailable. Did well when replacing Hayden Smith in the Eagles second-leg World Cup qualifying match against Uruguay.6Richie Gray – Expect long blonde locks flying into tackles and bursting through men. Castres’ good domestic season will keep his form up.8
5.Hayden Smith – Hugely physical player who hasn’t played as much since re-signing for Saracens as he would have liked.7Jim Hamilton – If he can keep the penalty count down and his head screwed on, Big Jim might play well. The go-to man in the lineout.6
6.Todd Clever (c) – Captain Clever leads from the front as always and rarely puts a foot wrong. Big tackler, big hair and has a knack of scoring tries.7Alasdair Strokosch – High work rate and very rarely misses a tackle. Perpignan’s relegation from the Top 14 might affect his form however.7
7.Scott LaValla – Normally plays at lock but he’s an impressive player who plies his trade for Stade Francais.6.5Blair Cowan – Kilted Kiwi who’s been given a chance due to injuries to Ross Rennie and John Barclay. Can he make the step up into international rugby?6.5
8.Cam Dolan – Northampton Saints youngster with a huge potential. Big, strong ball carrier.7Johnnie Beattie – Hopefully Vern Cotter continues to pick him at 8. Hugely influential and always has a high tackle and run rate.8
9.Mike Petri – Regular in the Eagles starting line-up who used to play for Sale Sharks and Newport Gwent Dragons. A lack of game time made him return to America.6Greig Laidlaw (c) – Won’t set the game alight but he’ll be solid enough. Slow service to Finn Russell is expected.6.5
10.Shalom Suniula – Makes his first start after making his debut in the first match against Uruguay. Likes to run the ball but hugely inexperienced.6.5Finn Russell – Another debutant and a nice game to break him into the international fold. Been in superb form for Glasgow since Christmas.7.5
11.Luke Hume – Australian-born ex-rugby league player who plays in the French D2. Gloucester have been linked with signing him.6.5Tim Visser – First international game since last summer after a double leg fracture. One of the best finishers in the game but doubts are still there over his defence.7
12.Andrew Suniula – Powerful centre who plays for London Wasps but doesn’t get a lot of game time. Will be used to get over the gain line.6.5Duncan Taylor – Not a lot of game time with Sarries recently but Dunc is a fine runner and a solid tackler. Again, won’t set the game alight.6.5
13.Seamus Kelly – Youngster who helped the University of California win the Collegiate Rugby Championship. Another unknown, but by all accounts, very quick.6.5Sean Lamont – Not too sure why Lamont is at 13 but rather this match than South Africa. Doubtful the ball will get passed him very often.6.5
14.Blaine Scully – Making waves with Leicester Tigers, Scully has a big work rate and is a regular sevens player.7Sean Maitland – Expect him to come off the shoulder of striker runners and either score a try or set a couple up. Confidence should be high after Glasgow’s season.7
15.Chris Wyles – America’s best known and best back. Wyles is often used as an impact sub for Saracens and he has an impressive try record.8Stuart Hogg – Scotland’s biggest attacking threat and will thrive off broken field. Has a point to prove after being dropped from Glasgow’s league final.8.5


Even with three debutants in their team, Scotland should have too much strength and experience for the USA. The hosts are no mugs though – they have a handful of quality players who ply their trade in the top leagues in Europe, but they do not have the relative strength in depth of their visitors this weekend.

The game is an important step for them though, and a further match against the All Blacks this year is hugely promising for their development. For the Scots, after a difficult Six Nations campaign this is a game that they simply have to win if they are to start building confidence as we head into a World Cup year. I’d expect them to do so reasonably comfortably. Scotland by 10.

By Calum Gillon (@C_Gillon)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

One thought on “USA v Scotland preview: Head to head ratings

  1. Thanks for the preview Callum. I don’t think this is Scotland’s best starting 15; more a combination of starters, fillers for injuries (I doubt this will be the 1st choice center combo when SCott and Dunbar are fit), and players that Cotter wants to have a look at. However, positive stuff with Russell at 10 (he’s going to miss Cusiter’s service though…) and good to see Cotter’s intention to use back row players in their correct positions (or will we see Brown at 7 next week?). It’s a hard score to predict, but I think the domestic provenance of the USA starting 15 contrasts with their low ranking. I think it will indeed be tight and that Scotland will have to really hit the ground running to put two scores in it.

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