2017 Rugby League World Cup - Italy vs USA Preview

The Lowdown

ITALY

  • Italy produced one of the most disappointing results of the opening round as they were comfortably beaten by Ireland in a somewhat shock result.
  • Their attempts to bounce back from that poor showing haven't been helped by an apparent fight that occurred after that loss between two of the Italian players.
  • Cameron Ciraldo has made a couple of changes to his side with Terry Campese taking his place in the side having been a late withdrawal last week. Jack Johns drops out as well as Colin Wilkie with Chris Centrone taking his place.

Head Coach: Cameron Ciraldo

Team: Tedesco; Cerruto, Castellaro, Milone, Mantellato; Campese, Ghietti; Vaughan, Tramontana, Alvaro, Riethmuller, Minichiello, Brown

Bench: Centrone, Santi, Wakeman, Walker

USA

  • USA couldn't live with the pace and power of Fiji as they fell to a heavy defeat in their opening game last weekend.
  • Brian McDermott has made several changes to his side with Joshua Rice, Joe Eichner and Andrew Kneisly making way for Sam Tochterman-Talbott, Fotukava Malu and Gabriel Farley.
  • Having lost their last three World Cup matches and conceding an average of 47.3 points per game in those three games, this represents a good chance to keep their qualification hopes alive against a side who have won just one of their last six international fixtures.

Head Coach: Brian McDermott

Team: Makelim; Burroughs, Vaivai, Alley, Faraimo; Freed, Samoa; Pettybourne, Marando, Offerdahl, M. Howard, Shipway, Newlin

Bench: Tochterman-Talbott, Malu, S. Howard, Farley

Analysis - what to expect
This could turn out to be one of the closest games of the round as both sides look to bounce back from disappointing performances in their opening games. USA were outclassed by Fiji whereas Italy severely underperformed against Ireland, leaving both sides needing a win to give themselves the best chance of qualifying for the next round. Italy should have the edge but the turmoil in their camp this week could prove to be telling, either galvanising them to an important victory or opening the door for the USA to capitalise on their troubles.