Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
By this time tomorrow, the Eagles 7’s squad will be nearing the completion of Day 1 in George, South Africa. The Eagles face yet another tough task and yet another very tough pool. Not that any of the pools are easy anymore. Reiterating that they’re in a tough pool is beginning to become redundant. A look across the board will tell you that. No one has it easy anymore. With the 7’s World Cup coming up next year, all of the teams have ramped up their squads. For the Southern Hemishpere teams, that means more Super 14 players.
Day 1 opponents for the Eagles include South Africa, Australia, and Georgia.
South Africa is coming off winning the tournament in Dubai and now they’re on home turf. Gah! They are a really impressive sqaud. History isn’t on the Eagles side either. They are 0-10 vs. South Africa and have been outscored 359-22 over that span. The last meeting between the two clubs was in Adelaide in May where South Africa beat the Eagles 45-0. I don’t anyone expects the Eagles to pull this one out, but everyone is starting to look for closer scorelines from the Eagles when they play the top tier of 7’s squads.
Things haven’t fared much better for the Eagles against Australia. They are 0-12 vs. the Wallabies and have been outscored 387-108. In recent times, the Eagles have played Australia much better. Their last meeting was also in Adelaide where Australia had to work hard for a 31-19 win over the Eagles. The Eagles have their work cut out for them, but this is a scalp the faithful would love to have.
Georgia are the Eagles final Day 1 opponent and their match will likely decide who gets a more favorable draw on Day 2. The match also marks a historic (well, not that historic) occassion. This will be the first time that the Eagles play Georgia on the 7’s circuit. Georgia will look to bounce back from a rough Dubai tournament where they went 0-5.
Last year the Eagles bounced back strong in George after a rough start in Dubai. Hopefully, they’ll use the momentum that they gained on Day 2 in Dubai and come away from George with some IRB points.