September 7, 2015
Eagles Gain Confidence in Loss to Australia
Photo: Getty Images
The USA Rugby Eagles gathered at Solider Field in Chicago for an historic match against the Australia Wallabies. This was the last match for both and allowed both teams to work on a particular aspect of a game plan in preparation for the Rugby World Cup.
The Eagles provided playing time for Blaine Scully at Fullback. Chris Wyles, who normally plays Fullback, played Wing in obtaining his 50th cap in an international test match. This change provides some insurance entering the Rugby World Cup.
Australia also elected to kick to touch instead of at goal when they had penalties. This occurred at least 5 times and resulted in Lineouts to Australia. After winning a Lineout, they could work on attacking mauls in an effort to score. It worked twice.
The attendance for the match was 23, 212, which was the second largest crowd for a USA Rugby International home match. While Soldier Field holds 61,500, and was sold out November 2, 2014 for the New Zealand All Blacks, the fact that this was the Labor Day Holiday weekend, was an outstanding crowd. I wonder how many people also viewed the match broadcast?
The Eagles went into the match ranked 16th in the World, while the Wallabies were 2nd. On paper, it would appear that Australia should have an easy win. That however, was not the case. The Eagles constantly disrupted the skilled passing of the Wallabies backs with punishing hits. Their defense was a strength until later in the second half, but at halftime the score was USA 10, Australia 14. As a result, the USA received a confidence boost entering the Rugby World Cup that they have made tremendous strides and can compete with the best teams world wide.
Take the jump to read more.
Early in the match the Eagles attack to Wallabies 15 meters. The momentum is killed by a lost scrum and then a penalty for being offside results in an interesting strategy by Australia to kick for touch and a Lineout, instead of going for points. It did not result in a try, but Peterson received a warning and soon after a yellow.
The first score came soon after with a Bernard Foley try and conversion (9′) attacking from a scrum. Shortly after (14′), a clearance kick starts a Wallabie attack and Wycliff Palu offload to Nick Phipps for a try. Foley converts and score is 0-14.
At the (18′) mark, with the Eagles on the attack, James Slipper enters a ruck from the side. AJ MacGinty then slots a 39 meter penalty for their first points. Score 3-14.
Excellent cover defense by USA, but at (26′) USA is penalized for being offside. The Wallabies opt for a third time to kick for touch and a Lineout, instead of for points.
At (32′) the Eagles have a highlight reel try, as Durutalo takes the ball from a ruck and Fry advances before it’s swung to Ngwenya who dashes to the 5 meters before offloading to Mike Petri for a try. MacGinty converts and score is 10-14. That’s also the halftime score.
The Eagles have to be confident not only entering the second half, but for the Rugby World Cup as well.
The second half starts off with some USA opportunities, but at (47′) USA is penalized and Australia opts once again to kick for touch. This time, a try by Sean McMahon off a maul is the result. Foley converts. 10-21.
After some time of possession by both sides, a USA penalty results in the Wallabies kicking for touch. Once again, a Lineout is won and swung to the backs, which results in a Dean Mumm try and Foley conversion. (55′) Score 10-28 Australia.
At (68′) Lou Stanfill kicks to Wyles who brings the crowd to their feet racing for an apparent try where Tomane tackles him at the 8 meter mark. The pressure was still on and resulted in a Lineout to the USA. The throw was long and Australia breaks 95 meters and the eventual offload to Kurtley Beale for a try in the corner. Foley slots again and score is now 10-35. That was a heart breaker for the USA.
More points at (75′) for the Wallabies after TMO awards try to Quade Cooper. Foley converts. Score 10-42 Australia. The final score (78″) came from an offload from Foley to Taqele Naiyaravoro. Conversion missed. Final score USA 10, Australia 47.
Men’s Eagles: v. Australia
1. Eric Fry (Kilifi @ 56′)
2. Zach Fenoglio (Thiel @ 56′)
3. Titi Lamositele (Baumann @ 58′)
4. Cameron Dolan (Stanfill @ 58′)
5. Greg Peterson
6. Al McFarland (Barrett @ 38′)
7. Andrew Durutalo
8. Samu Manoa (Quill @ 40′)
9. Mike Petri
10. AJ MacGinty (Suniula @ 71′)
11. Chris Wyles (C)
12. Thretton Palamo (Niua @ 75′)
13. Seamus Kelly
14. Takudzwa Ngwenya
15. Blaine Scully
Men’s Eagles – Reserves
16. Phil Thiel
17. Olive Kilifi
18. Chris Baumann
19. Louis Stanfill
20. John Quill
21. Danny Barrett
22. Shalom Suniula
23. Folau Niua
Australia: v. USA
1. James Slipper (C)
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Hanson @ 58′)
3. Greg Holmes (Smith @ 56′)
4. Kane Douglas
5. Rob Simmons (Mumm @ 46′)
6. Ben McCalman
7. Sean McMahon
8. Wycliff Palu (Carter @ 50′)
9. Nick Phipps (Genia @ 46′)
10. Bernard Foley
11. Rob Horne (Naiyaravoro @ 70′)
12. Matt Giteau (Cooper @ 55′)
13. Henry Speight
14. Joe Tomane
15. Kurtley Beale
Australia – Reserves
16. James Hanson
17. Scott Sio
18. Toby Smith
19. Sam Carter
20. Dean Mumm
21. Quade Cooper
22. Will Genia
23. Taqele Naiyaravoro
Men’s Eagles -10
Discipline: Peterson (yellow)
Australia – 47
Tries: Foley, Phipps, McMahon, Mumm, Beale, Cooper, Naiyaravoro
Conversions: Foley (6)
It is also interesting to be able to hear the coaches and captains in post match press conferences. They are on the DJCoil Rugby You Tube Channel. There you will find other press conferences, and interviews with both coaches and players.
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