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USA faces Romania in Chicago on Friday evening

Scott Lawrence, head coach of the U.S. men's 15 team, has announced his match against Romania on Friday night at SeatGeek Stadium in Chicago as his 23rd matchday.

Tickets are available at usa.rugby/tickets, with live streaming on FloRugby.

The squad has arrived in Chicago for a short training camp starting June 30th to prepare for the continuation of the American Series, hosted in partnership with AEG Rugby. Starters Renger van Eerten and JP Smith will make their debut for the USA Eagles as lock and scrumhalf respectively.

Due to injuries to potential starters Cam Dolan, Ruben de Haas, Alex Maughn and Jason Damm, four players from the current roster were called up to the team for 2024: Viliami Helu, Kaleb Geiger, Saia Uhila and Ethan McVeigh from Navy.

Helu comes into the team on matchday 23 as a backup at loose forward and lock, while Geiger provides backup on the bench in the front row. Van Eerten plays frequently for Brive in France's Pro D2 and turns 25 in a month. The 6'9″ second-row player, who grew up in the Netherlands, played for the Netherlands U20 national team, but because he has an American mother, he is also eligible to play for the USA team, which is why he is here. Smith is from Queenstown, South Africa, and now plays for the Seattle Seawolves, where he is a regular starter. He is eligible to play in the USA based on his residency permit, having been with the Seawolves since 2019.

This is a US team with little international experience, with eight regulars making fewer than 10 appearances and five of the seven reserves in the same situation (that's a bit misleading as Tommaso Boni had 11 appearances for Italy before making his one-off international switch sanctioned by World Rugby). There is some experience on the bench. Look for Luke Carty to be used as a link or full-back – his ability to do so means that if Mitch Wilson gets injured on the wing, he could switch to the wing and Carty would likely be used at full-back. Bryce Campbell is also on the bench with his 45 appearances, providing replacement in the middle, which will likely be needed as the nature of the game today demands a lot in terms of clashes between their midfielders.

The USA vs. Romania friendly has its own challenge cup, the Pershing Cup, named after US General John J. Pershing (1860-1948). Because of his service in World War I, Pershing was and is highly honored in Romania, which awarded him the Order of St. Michael the Brave, Romania's highest military decoration. The Eagles last played Romania in August of last year, winning 31-17. They hold an overall record of 7-2 against the Oaks, including a 39-0 victory at the 1920 Olympics.