FUKUOKA, Japan (Reuters) – United States coach Gary Gold says he will not let the prospect of Typhoon Mitag disrupt his build-up to Wednesday’s Rugby World Cup Pool C fixture as he made five changes to his side to meet France in Fukuoka.
The typhoon could potentially cause the abandonment of the match according to organisers and both sides have been briefed as to contingencies that will be in place.
“Inclement weather is inclement weather. We’ll deal with it on the day,” Gold told reporters on Sunday.
“We’ve got a warning, we’ve got a contingency plan. World Rugby has notified us that this is a possibility and we’ll deal with it in our stride. We’ll wait and see. It’s not a problem.”
Gold has been forced into a number of changes as some ill-winds blew through his squad in the wake of their tournament-opening 45-7 loss to England on Thursday.
Hanco Germishuys will start at flank in place of John Quill, who was red-carded in the defeat and subsequently suspended for the final three pool games.
Prop Eric Fry comes in for the injured David Ainuum, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament with an ankle injury, while lock Nate Brakeley was preferred to Ben Landry.
The U.S. also lost centre Paul Lasike and fullback Will Hooley to injury following their England mauling, and they have been replaced by Bryce Campbell and Mike Teo respectively.
“I didn’t want to make too many changes. I just want to keep the group together as much as possible. Paul was injured but we’re very lucky we have got guys of Bryce and Nate’s calibre to step in. I know they’ll do a really good job,” Gold said.
“In a funny way, it’s a bit of a blessing, not that we would have chosen it that way, but it just gives the guys some real energy. They want to make a difference and get some game time in the Rugby World Cup.”
Gold is hoping that his relaxed attitude to players having down-time during the tournament will mean they are mentally fresh against France.
“I’d like the guys to get away from rugby. I’d like them to go and experience Japan. I’m not such an old fogey that I insist they go to museums or anything like that. Japan is just an amazing country,” he said.
“If they want to go down to the beach or hop on a train and go and see something of Japan, they should get away from rugby.
“Go and have a laugh and have a few coffees – preferably not a drinking blow out. There’s a time and place for that as well but it’s probably not right now.”
Team: 15-Mike Teo, 14-Blaine Scully (captain), 13-Marcel Brache, 12-Bryce Campbell, 11-Martin Iosefo, 10-AJ MacGinty, 9-Shaun Davies, 8-Cam Dolan, 7-Hanco Germishuys, 6-Tony Lamborn, 5-Nick Civetta, 4-Nate Brakeley, 3-Titi Lamositele, 2-Joe Taufete’e, 1-Eric Fry
Replacements: 16-Dylan Fawsitt, 17-Olive Kilifi, 18-Paul Mullen, 19-Greg Peterson, 20-Ben Pinkelman, 21-Ruben de Haas, 22-Will Magie, 23-Thretton Palamo
(Reporting By Nick Said; editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Toby Davis)