Eagles Defeat Uruguay in Americas Rugby Championship Opener

February 4, 2017

Eagles Defeat Uruguay in Americas Rugby Championship Opener


Doug Coil

The Americas Rugby Championship will feature matches between Argentina XV, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Uruguay and the United States. These matches will began on Friday, February 3 and will end on March 4.

This weekend’s matches had Brazil hosting Chile in the opening ARC 2017 match at Pacaembu Stadium in Sáo Paulo, Brazil and securing a 17-3 win over Chile. The match was broadcast on ESPN Brazil, steamed on ESPN3 and replayed on delay on The Rugby Channel.

On Saturday, February 4, the USA Men’s Eagles played Uruguay at 3pm CT (4pm ET) at Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas. The match was broadcast on The Rugby Channel. In a very competitive match the Eagles emerged with a 29-23 win to begin the 2017 ARC.

The other match on Saturday has Canada hosting last year’s champions, Argentina XV, at Westhills Stadium, Langford, Canada. The match will be broadcast on TSN Sports in Canada and streamed on ESPN3 elsewhere and replayed on delay on The Rugby Channel.

USA v Uruguay Match Preview  (For an expanded preview and USA player match availability click on)

The USA Men’s Eagles will field one of their strongest sides against Uruguay for the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship. Despite missing several European professionals, others are available. Eagles head Coach John Mitchell also wants to prepare for the future as a World Rugby Cup Qualifier looms against Canada. With this in mind, there will new new caps earned for this test. Peter Malcolm, who played professionally for the Ohio Aviators will earn his first test cap at hooker. The remaining sevens players are all capped Eagles. Tony Purpura and Chris Baumann will be the loosehead and tighthead props, respectively. Nick Civetta and Nate Brakeley are the locks, vice captain Todd Clever and John Quill are flankers and Al McFarland is the eight-man.

In the backs, Ben Cima will also debut for the Eagles at flyhalf. Nate Auspurger will be the link at scrumahlf and AJ MacGinty slides over to inside center from his normal flyhalf position. MacGinty only match for the ARC is against Uruguay and John Mitchell feels that his ability to direct the ball, defend well, and distribute will suit the team well.

Bryce Campbell, a newly capped Eagle in June, will be the outside center, with captain Blaine Scully and Zack Test at the wings and Mikey Te’o at fullback.

All-Americans Will Magie, Alex Maughan and Matt Jensen may also debut should they enter the match.

Uruguay Head Coach Esteban Meneses squad for the match against the USA Men’s Eagles has Alejandro Nieto captaining the side at 8 man. He played for the Teros at the Rugby World Cup, however missed recent 2016 tests due to injury. Other forwards into
experienced props, Mateo Sanguinetti and Juan Echeverría with Facundo Gattas at hooker. The locks will be Diego Ayala and Ignacio Dotti with Franco Lamanna and Rodolfo Garese at flanker, with the later making his first test.

Germán Albanell, who played scrumhalf last year, will beat flyhalf, with Santiago Arata at scrumhalf. The centers will be Juan de Freitas and Juan Manuel Cat. The veteran Leandro Leivas will be at wing along with Andrés Rocco and Rodrigo Silva will be at fullback.

Other uncapped players on their squad as reserves are hooker Diego Pombo, props Matías Benítez and Felipe Inciarte and back Francisco Berchesi.

The introduction of a centralized program based at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo and the addition of the Americas Rugby Championship has had the team develop players quicker.

USA v Uruguay Recap

A clearing kick from Ben Cima behind the USA 22 meters was brought back after the referee ruled that the team brought the ball back inside the 22 prior to the kick. This set up a lineout by Uruguay, which turned into a maul. A side entry by the USA had Uruguay electing to kick for points. German Albanell slotted the penalty kick and they took a 3-0 lead 4 minutes into the match.

The Eagles struck back after a dangerous tackle (high) on Peter Malcolm two minutes later as Ben Cima tied the match at 3 all after a long penalty kick.

Nate Brakeley gathered the restart and the Eagles attacked going through several phases. This threat ended with a penalty to the USA for a high tackle. Urugauy kicked into touch and then the lineout was won by the USA and swung wide. Cima cleared inside the Uruguay 22 meters and Todd Clever went flying in making a over the shoulder tackle. He was issued a yellow card for this infraction. (12′)

Uruguay advanced the ball inside the USA 40 meter line and Al McFarland was penalized for a side entry at the breakdown. Uruguay kicked for touch and had a 5 meter lineout. Alejandro Nieto popped the ball weak to the hooker, Facundo Gattas and went in for a try in the corner. Albanell slotted the conversion from touch and Uruguay reclaimed the lead 10-3. (15′)

The USA had another scoring opportunity four minutes later, as Ben Cima pushed a 40 meter penalty kick wide right. (19′) After a scrum infraction by Uruguay for boring in, Cima slotted a penalty and narrowed the lead to 10-6. (23′)

The USA also would go for points at the 30th minute after a Cima clearance kick and a Uruguay penalty at the breakdown. Cima slotted a third long kick and the lead by Uruguay was cut to 10-9.

After some back and forth attacks by both sides, the USA took advantage of a scrum infraction by Juan Echeverría. Cima kicked for touch and Nate Brakeley controlled the lineout. Nate Augspurger got quick ball to AJ MacGinty who offloaded to Bryce Campbell for a try. Cima converted and the USA had its first lead 16-10.

In the 39th minute there was a stoppage in play as Zack Test was removed from the pitch with an ankle injury and a concussion protocol. Thoughts are with him for a speedy recovery! JP Eloff came as a replacement going to fullback with Mike Te’o moving to wing.

In the waning seconds of the half, Uruguay won a scrum and went through at least 11 pick and goes. The referee played a penalty advantage on John Quill before awarding the penalty with no time on the clock. Albanell once again was perfect with the kick and at halftime the USA has a narrow 16-13 lead.

The first half saw the USA forwards holding their own against an experienced Uruguay pack. Both sides lost the ball forward too many times and the new law to reduce concussions was evident with many high tackles that resulted in penalties. The USA would need to spend more time attacking in Uruguay territory as well.

Uruguay reclaimed the lead at the 46th minute from a try by Alejandro Nieto from a lineout turned into a maul. Albanell converted for a 20-16 lead.

The Eagles then went on the attack through multiple phases and at a breakdown center Juan Manuel was sent to the bin for not retreating and impacting the Eagles attacking opportunities.

At the 51st minute, the USA began to go to their replacements as Will Magie came in a flyhalf for Ben Cima and James Hilterbrand for Peter Malcolm at hooker. Uruguay also began going to their reserves.

Hilterbrand quickly was noticed by the referee after a Uruguay maul. Playing an advantage, a cross kick by Uruguay found Blaine Scully who found a gap and offloaded to Bryce Campbell for an apparent try. This excited the crowd, however the try was nullified as advantage was being played. Once again, Albanell slotted a penalty kick to increase the lead to 23-16. (53′)

The infractions were adding up by both teams and AJ MacGinty narrowed the lead to 23-19 three minutes later with a penalty kick of his own. Three minutes later it was Albanell’s turn, however he missed right.

A few more replacements came on with 20 minutes left in the match. Alex Maughan, Matt Jensen and Tony Lamborn entered the match. Very quickly the Eagles took advantage of an offsides by Rodolfo Garese to kick to touch, take the lineout and attack from a maul. Nate Augspurger cross kicked to the corner and Blaine Scully caught and grounded the ball for a much needed Eagles try. MacGinty added the conversion and the USA took a 26-23 lead. (61′)

A penalty by Ignacio Dotti at the 66th minute had AJ MacGinty increasing the Eagles lead to 29-23 with another penalty kick. He soon had another opportunity for points, but the kick was wide left.

With eight minutes left, Shaun Davies came in for Nate Augspurger at scrumhalf. The USA attacked after a scrum and after Diego Magno was penalized for an offsides infraction MacGinty again went for points, but the kick was just left. Only 3 minutes remained.

A penalty to the USA with little time left on the clock had Rodrigo Silva kicking to touch at midfield. Another penalty by the Eagles had him finding touch giving Uruguay the chance to win the match from a 5 meter lineout. Uruguay won the ball and mauled. Several pick and goes later, Uruguay was penalized for a side entry. Magie took the tap and kicked into touch and the 29-23 win over Uruguay.

Next Saturday, the Eagles will play Brazil, their last home match of the five match series.

Men’s Eagles v. Uruguay

1. Anthony Purpura 2. Peter Malcolm 3. Chris Baumann 4. Nate Brakeley 5. Nick Civetta 6. John Quill 7. Todd Clever 8. Al McFarland 9. Nate Augspurger 10. Ben Cima 11. Zack Test 12. AJ MacGinty 13. Bryce Campbell 14. Blaine Scully (C) 15. Mike Te’o 16. James Hilterbrand 17. Alex Maughan 18. Dino Waldren 19. Matthew Jensen 20. Tony Lamborn 21. Shaun Davies 22. Will Magie 23. JP Eloff

Uruguay  v. USA
1. Mateo Sanguinetti 2. Facundo Gattas 3. Juan Echeverría 4. Ignacio Dotti 5. Diego Ayala 6. Rodolfo Garese 7. Franco Lamanna 8. Alejandro Nieto (C) 9. Santiago Arata 10. Germán Albanell 11. Andrés Rocco 12. Juan de Freitas 13. Juan Manuel Cat 14. Leandro Leivas 15. Rodrigo Silva 16. Diego Pombo 17. Matías Benítez 18. Felipe Inciarte 19. Juan Diego Ormaechea 20. Diego Magno 21. Guillermo Lijtenstein 22. Francisco Berchesi 23. Gastón Gibertnau

Men’s Eagles – Americas Rugby Championship

v. Uruguay – Saturday, Feb. 4 – Toyota Field, San Antonio, Texas
v. Brazil – Saturday, Feb. 11 – Dell Diamond Express Stadium, Round Rock, Texas
v. Canada – Saturday, Feb. 18 – Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, British Columbia
v. Chile – Saturday, Feb. 25 – Estadio Municipal de la Pintania, Santiago, Chile
v. Argentina XV – Saturday, March 4 – Cricket and Rugby Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina


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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant