Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
The Eagles fell to 1-2 on their November Tour with a 25-0 defeat at the hands of Scotland ‘A’ at Netherdale Stadium in the Borders Region of Scotland. With the loss behind them, the Eagles look to gain experience from the defeat and focus on the IRB ranking test against Georgia on November 27th.
The final match of the tour in Georgia may ultimately serve as the litmus test for the entire tour. While the experience the USA squad is gaining cannot be undervalued, winning rugby matches is important to the progress and confidence of the team. Not to mention the many fans at home with rising expectations.
A win over Georgia gives the Eagles two wins in full Test matches and end their tour on a very high note.
It’s not going to be easy though.
The USA’s scrum was under significant pressure for the third straight match and the Georgians are famed for their prowess in the scrum. The USA holds a distinct advantage in the backs, so the forwards will need to provide the platform for the attack.
The lack of ball to work with doomed the USA against Scotland A. Despite the lack of offense and possession, the USA has to come away from Scotland knowing they put in a mighty effort. With three yellow cards and repeated penalty trouble, the scoreline could have easily gotten out of hand had the Eagle defense not held firm.
The Eagles ended the first half down 11-0 as Scotland ‘A’ kicked two penalties and scored a try on a man advantage. Scrums were a problem area for the Eagles throughout the match with Scotland ‘A’ pressuring the American forwards, eventually resulting in a yellow card to Mate Moeakiola for a repeated scrum infringement.
“We started well, but turned over a lot of ball and we got behind 6-0 early. Our scrum was under a lot of pressure and they scored a try with a man down,” said Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan. “We still had a shot at 11-0.”
Two overlapping yellow cards in the second half were the backbreaker for the USA. Inaki Basauri was pinged in the 56th minute for not releasing the tackled player and six minutes later Paul Emerick was sent off for a high tackle. With only 13 men on the field, the Eagles couldn’t hold off the Scottish attack.
Two tries were scored when Scotland ‘A’ had the man advantage. All of the Scotland ‘A’ tries came when Eagles were in the bin, which speaks to the American defense, which is still very strong.
Even with firepower on the bench, O’Sullivan only made one sub. It came in the 71st minute when Scott Lavalla came on for Samu Manoa in the second row, an indication that O’Sullivan stuck to his guns on giving players experience on the November Tour.
O’Sullivan knows that the Eagle attack is potent. Even though they lost to Scotland, when the Eagles had ball they were “in good shape.” Some key players are resting in preparation for Georgia, where they will be taking on a spirited Georgian side in a notoriously lively match atmosphere.
The Eagles finish their tour with the IRB ranking test against Georgia at the National Stadium in Tbilisi on November 27th. Kickoff time is to be determined.
USA Eagles: 0
1 Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny 93), 2 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate), 3 Eric Fry (Unattached), 4 Samu Manoa (San Francisco Golden Gate), 5 Hayden Smith (Saracens), 6 Patrick Danahy (Life University), 7 Inaki Basauri (L’aquila), 8 Jonathon Gaganio (Eastern Province), 9 Mike Petri* (Sale), 10 Taivalu Enosa (Belmont Shore), 11 Zachary Test (Loughborough University), 12 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins), 13 Paul Emerick (Ulster), 14 Alipate Tuilevuka (Old Puget Sound Beach), 15 Colin Hawley (Unattached)
USA Reserves: 16 Phil Thiel (Life University), 17 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh), 18 Scott Lavalla (Dublin University), 19 Louis Stanfill (Mogliano), 20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham), 21 Nese Malifa (Glendale), 22 Chris Wyles (Saracens)
Substitutions: Lavalla on for Manoa (71’)
Yellow Cards: Moeakiola (16’), Basauri (56’), Emerick (62’)
Scotland ‘A’: Tries: Jones (X2), Traynor, Conversions: Blair (X2) Penalties: Blair (X2)
Scotland ‘A’1 Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors), 2 Scott Lawson (Gloucester), 3 Geoff Cross (Edinburgh), 4 Fraser McKenzie (Edinburgh) 5 Al Kellock* (Glasgow Warriors), 6 Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors), 7 Roddy Grant (Edinburgh), 8 Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), 9 Mark McMillan (Bath), 10 David Blair (Edinburgh), 11 Lee Jones (Edinburgh), 12 Alex Grove (Edinburgh), 13 Ben Cairns (Edinburgh), 14 Jim Thompson (Edinburgh), 15 Jack Cuthbert (Bath)
Scotland ‘A’ Reserves: 16 Steven Lawrie (Doncaster Knights), 17 Kyle Traynor (Edinburgh), 18 Tom Ryder (Saracens), 19 David Denton (Edinburgh), 20 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors), 21 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors), 22 John Houston (Edinburg)