Glendale, Colorado – Last Saturday’s match here in Rugby Town, USA was a good one. Team USA beat Georgia, a European Tier 2 power and European Champions (a poorly named 2nd Tier Six Nations tourney), 36-20. The US didn’t crush Georgia but it was a very impressive display. The final score was 36-20. Much like last week, we will review the perfomances of the members of Team USA.
15 Chris Wyles – His kicking from hand was good and very good on the attack, countering or joining the line.
14 Luke Hume – His speed and attacking flair are really impressive. He wasn’t tested defensively in all honesty.
13 Paul Emerick – Solid in defence as usual; Did some very good running with ball in hand and managed to get the ball out to wings unlike last week.
12 Andrew Suniula – Quietly improving every game, offensively and defensively. He made a great line break and set-up Petri’s try.
11 James Paterson – Man of the Match. Really went looking for work. Scored a try and set-up another one. I also liked the fact he was given sometime at center.
10 Roland Suniula – Fantastic. Provides a great natural attacking flair. He threatens the defense and pushes the point of attack. A perfect fit for Tolkin’s style of play.
9 Mike Petri – He had another strong game. He runs great support lines on breaks. Would be good to see him focus on organizing the forwards on crash balls.
8 Todd Clever (c) – Clever showed that although he is no Dan Lyle at 8, he is very solid and can bring some good power and pace from the base of the scrum and link well with the backs. It is becoming clear how his skills translate to this style of play.
7 Scott Lavalla – Not a natural 7 but Lavalla played a good game. It seemed Coach Tolkin went for the tackle and counter-ruck approach this game and it suited Lavalla, who was able to find the ball for some runs also.
6 Taylor Mokate – Scored a great try by supporting a break by Patterson. He is not short of being physical at this level, but as the competition improves does he have the athleticism to make the step up? Saturday was a good start.
5 Brian Doyle – He is starting to hit his stride at this level. He is winning our throws-ins and challenging well when opposing, plus no seagulling.
4 Louis Stanfill – Louie may have found a new position. He is taking to the tight lock duties very well. He even managed time to get his hands on the ball a couple of times.
3 Eric Fry – Long-maligned for his scrumming ability, he was solid in the scrum and managed to help provide a quality platform.
2 Chris Biller – Very impressive performance. Excelled in the primary duties (won our scrum put-ins and threw darts at lineout time). Big dump tackle on Defense.
1 Shawn Pittman – He did a very good job in the scrum, managed to also be there in the loose.
Scrums – Very impressive. held their own and were never really dominated.
Lineouts – This appears to be an area of strength that the US can use to really punish team for penalties.
Rucks – For the most part good clearing out created much faster usable ball for the backs. Defensively the countered at the right time and slowed up Georgia ball well.
Mauls – This is the one the other side of the coin to the lineout. A great lineout take must be followed with a quality drive and maul or it has been wasted.The US maul needs work.
Defense – It is getting there. Must be more patient and avoid penalties. Must also communicate better as a weakside pick-up by the scrummy should not lead to a break and try from over 50 meters out.
Transition – This is were the US counter attack impressed. They turned turnover ball into a big break followed by some good cleanouts and lead to a try.
Handling – Vastly better. This must have been the whole focal point of practice this week because there was night and day improvement.
Kicking – Wyles is ok but he is not exactly dead-eye but it is the trade off of have R. Suniula in the line-up and a worthwhile tradeoff for that match.
Attack – Very good. They went after the Georgian backline, made good line breaks and Scored tries due to great support runs.
Positives – There was a real display of the expansive, upbeat tempo, style of play Coach Tolkin was talking about. The Set-piece play was good and freed up the running rugby.
Negatives Considering the lack of time together it is hard to blood younger and newer guys but I wished Coach Tolkin would have gone to the bench sooner. However that is partly the fault of the guys on the field, we have to put a side like that to the sword early so that we can try new combos and give the young guys time, sharpen that killer instinct boys.
Loads of good stuff for the US team to build on. Also considering how close Canada ran Italy, that Italian scalp is there for the taking Houston. Feel free to comment below and until the next time, stay low and keep pumping those legs.