Eagles Win 2017 Americas Rugby Championship
The Americas Rugby Championship match between Argentina XV and the USA Men’s Eagles decided the 2017 title. Both teams entered the match with 4-0 records and were tied in the standings with 19 points.
Although the Eagles and Argentina XV played to a 27-27 draw, the Eagles emerged with a bonus point for their four try effort and won the 2017 series. It was the first championship for the USA, since the 1924 Olympics.The match was played at Estadio Municipal, Comodoro Rivadavia and was be broadcast live on the The Rugby Channel.
Entering the match, the Eagles had been on an offensive tear since their narrow win over Uruguay. In their previous three matches prior to Argentina XV, they scored over 50 points against Brazil, Canada and Chile. Argentina, after a narrow win against Canada, had dominant wins over Uruguay, Chile and Brazil.
The USA executed a dominant defense, especially in defending their in-goal area. They also dominated the possession and were more effective in their attacks during the match.
This bodes well for the national team, as they move toward the June tests and beyond. The next hurdle will be beating Canada in the World Cup Qualifiers. If their performance at the Americas Rugby Championship is any indication, the players will take of the business of executing the game plan that John Mitchell develops with his coaching staff.
In the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship the USA finished in first place with 22 points, Argentina XV was second with 21 points, Uruguay was third with 15 points, Brazil and Canada tied with 8 points, with Brazil taking fourth based on their head to head win, and Chile finished sixth with zero points in the tournament.
Upon the conclusion of the match between Argentina XV and the USA Men’s Eagles, the trophy was presented to the USA by Sudamérica Rugby’s President Marcelo Rodríguez.
USA v Argentina XV Recap
Early in the match, the Eagles captain Nate Augspurger sliced through the outside channel before the ball was eventually turned over to Argentina. Then Sebastián Cancelliere attacked to within 10 meters of the line, before an Argentina turnover allowed Ben Cima to clear.
Argentina came right back with Sebastián Cancelliere moving the ball to within 5 meters of the try line. After a penalty by the Eagles for not releasing, Nate Augspurger made a try saving tackle and and ball was turned over and again the USA cleared.
The early assaults by Argentina XV finally paid dividends as the USA was penalized for not releasing. Argentina chose to kick at goal, instead of their previous ARC strategy of kicking to touch for a set play to gain tries. Domingo Miotti’s penalty kick had Argentina taking a 3-0 lead at the 7th minute.
When the Eagles were faced with a similar situation at the 11th minute, they declined the penalty attempt with Will Magie kicking to touch. This did not pay dividends as Argentina stole the lineout and Miotti cleared.
In terms of match strategy, Argentina showed early respect for the Eagles and wanted points whenever possible. The Eagles knew that adding tries would be the best way to gain a win.
Three minutes later, the USA were faced with a similar situation and Ben Cima slotted a 63 meter penalty kick from an angle to tie the match at 3 all.
The Eagles had an attacking opportunity lost after an Augspurger run and a Magie cross kick that went off the hands of an Argentina defender. The assistant refereee did not see this and awarded the lineout to Argentina.
The USA scored the first try of the match at the 28th minute when Chris Baumann poached the ball at the breakdown within 10 meters of their line and Augspurger ran almost the length of the pitch before offloading to Will Magie for a try in the corner. Ben Cima’s conversion was pulled to the left, but the Eagles now had their first lead 8-3.
Argentina had another attacking opportunity soon after, but a floating pass was taken by Cima and cleared to midfield.
With five minutes remaining before halftime, David Tameilau powered his way forward from a scrum and Argentina were penalized. Once again the Eagles did not elect to kick at goal, but went for a set play as Magie kicked for touch. From the lineout turned into a maul, the Eagles drove 20 meters with Tameilau grounding the ball for a try. After the conversion by Cima the USA held a 15-3 lead at the 37th minute.
Argentina took advantage of a penalty by the USA to attack to within 5 meters of te line. The USA defended countless attacks of their in-goal, before Mike Te’o was issued a yellow card that resulted in a penalty try to narrow the Eagles lead at halftime to 15-10.
Four minutes into the second half, with Argentina on the attack, saw Tameilau joining Te’o in the bin for a stomp. This left the Eagles playing with 13 players. Two minutes later Sebastián Cancelliere retaliated with a stomp of his own and was sent to the bin.
Argentina tried to take advantage of the USA being down a man and went over the try line, but Peter Malcolm and Tony Lamborn held up the ball. This resulted in a 5 meter scrum to Argentina. After a wheel Argentina drove toward the line, and ultimately Argentina took a 17-15 lead after a second penalty try was awarded. That was a key call in a crucial match for both sides.
Argentina then increased their lead when Miotti slotted a penalty kick for a 20-15 lead at the 56th minute.
The Eagles then attacked before losing the ball and Argentina Super Rugby player Gabriel Ascárate went in for a try. After Miotti’s conversion the lead was 27-15.
The substitutions by the USA during the second half provided fresh legs and the opportunity to perform well and that’s is what happened. After a clearance kick by Germán Schulz, Ryan Matyas took an inside pass form Augspurger and Bryce Campbell moved the ball inside the 22 meters. The ball then went wide right with Cam Dolan finishing with a try in the corner. Cima’s kick was just left of the posts, but the Eagles were within a converted try of knotting the score with six minutes remaining.
The Eagles continued the pressure with Spike Davis reaching to within 5 meters of the line. After a penalty by Argentina, David Tameilau went in for his second try and Ben Cima sealed a 27-27 draw in the 80th minute with the conversion.
The USA gained a bonus point for having 4 tries in the match and thus won the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship.
USA Men’s Eagles v Argentina XV: 1 Anthony Purpura, 2 James Hilterbrand, 3 Chris Baumann, 4 Matt Jensen, 5 Siaosi Mahoni, 6 John Quill, 7 Tony Lamborn, 8 Cam Dolan, 9 Shaun Davies, 10 Will Magie, 11 Nate Augspurger (capt.), 12 JP Eloff, 13 Bryce Campbell, 14 Mike Te’o, 15 Ben Cima 16 Peter Malcolm, 17 Ben Tarr, 18 Olive Kilifi, 19 Hanco Germishuys, 20 David Tameilau, 21 Calvin Whiting, 22 Ryan Matyas, 23 Spike Davis
Argentina XV v USA: 1 Francisco Ferronato, 2 Gaspar Baldunciel, 3 Santiago Medrano, 4 Pedro Ortega, 5 Ignacio Larrague, 6 Francisco Gorrissen, 7 Lautaro Bavaro (capt.), 8 Tomás de la Vega, 9 Sebastián Cancelliere, 10 Domingo Miotti, 11 Julián Domínguez, 12 Bruno Devoto, 13 Santiago Álvarez, 14 Germán Schulz, 15 Gabriel Ascárate 16 Marcelo Brandi, 17 Franco Brarda, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Franco Molina, 20 Santiago Montagner, 21 Lautaro Bazán, 22 Juan Cruz González, 23 Franco Cuaranta
USA Eagles – Americas Rugby Championship
- v. Uruguay – W 29-23
- v. Brazil – W 51-3
- v. Canada – W 51-34
- v. Chile – W57-9
- v. Argentina XV – Saturday, March 4
Argentina XV – Americas Rugby Championship
2017 Americas Rugby Championship Standings (through 4 rounds):
- Argentina – 19 points
- USA – 19 points
- Uruguay – 9 points
- Canada – 7 points
- Brazil – 4 points
- Chile – 0 points