PHILADELPHIA, PA – Coming into the #USAvCAN match in Round 2 of the Americas Rugby Championship, the Eagles had won 3 in a row against Canada. At Dell Diamond Stadium just outside Austin, TX, the announced crowd of 7,145 had plenty to cheer about, especially in the second half. The first half was a tight affair, but a Todd Clever hat trick in the second helped see the Americans clear to their 4th victory in a row, 30-22.
Canada looked to attack wide on their first chance, but the USA seemed ready for that and the Canadians struggled all match to threaten the American try line. Gordon McRorie made all 4 penalty goals he attempted in the first half, all from pretty handy positions, to put Canada in the lead at halftime. The USA committed 5 penalties in the first half; all of them in their defensive half.
The first half was not all Canada. 25 minutes into the match the Eagles got into attacking position via a penalty and managed to string together several phases within 10 meters of the Canadian try line. Eventually, it was Chad London who scored after the Canadian defense was worn down.
12-10 with Canada in the lead at the half.
At halftime, JP Eloff came on for James Bird and immediately looked threatening. However, it wasn’t until about the 50th minute, with a spell of good defense, that the Eagles really started applying pressure. The Eagles have looked good mauling two matches in a row now. Todd Clever scored a try from a rolling maul at minute 57. Two minutes later, Alistair Clark was sent off with a yellow card. The USA scored immediately from a maul – Clever again. Three minutes later, it was Clever again, this time breaking off from the maul to dive in for his third try in 9 minutes.
Canada did get back into the game with a Duncan Maguire try from long range, converted well by Andrew Ferguson, to make it 27-20 with 10 minutes to play. Unfortunately for Canada, that was not enough to change the momentum, and a Niku Kruger penalty at minute 77 locked in the win for USA.
McRorie was the stand out player for Canada, from the tee and from the base of the ruck.
The Eagles definitely missed the professionals who had to return to their clubs. However, Luke Hume, brought into the squad this week, featured prominently for the USA on attack, and Jake Anderson, with his first cap (since the match against Argentina was not capped), looked comfortable apart from an awkward conversion attempt. Nate Brakeley lasted the full 80 on debut and was even calling the lineouts at the end of the match. In the front row, Joseph Taufete’e came on at halftime at hooker, but then moved to prop when James Hilterbrand came on.
Canada had 11 scrums and won all of them. The USA had 3 scrums, all in the first half, and lost all of them. USA was 15 from 16 for lineouts; Canada was 6 from 8. The Canadian goalkickers went 6 from 6; the USA goalkickers went 4 from 6.
For the Eagles, there is still plenty to improve upon, but a bonus point win against Canada puts them in a strong position heading into the match against Chile next weekend.
USA: London, Clever (3)
Canada 1. Hubert Buydens (c) 2. Ray Barkwill 3. Jake Ilnicki 4. Paul Ciulini 5. Callum Morrison 6. Lucas Rumball 7. Alistair Clark 8. Clay Panga 9. Gordon McRorie 10. Gradyn Bowd 11. Dan Moor 12. Nick Blevins 13. Mozac Samson 14. Phil Mackenzie 15. Pat Parfrey Reserves 16. Eric Howard 17. Djustice Sears-Duru 18. Rob Brouwer 19. Kyle Baillie 20. Liam Chisholm 21. Michael Hamson 22. Andrew Ferguson 23. Duncan Maguire
USA: 1. Eric Fry 2. Mike Sosene-Feagai 3. Chris Baumann 4. Brodie Orth 5. Ben Landry 6. Nate Brakeley 7. Todd Clever (C) 8. David Tameilau 9. Mike Te’o 10. James Bird 11. Kingsley McGowan 12. Lemoto Filikitonga 13. Chad London 14. Luke Hume 15. Jake Anderson Reserves 16. Joseph Taufete’e 17. Olive Kilifi 18. James Hilterbrand 19. Patrick Blair 20. Alec Gletzer 21. Niku Kruger 22. JP Eloff 23. Mike Garrity
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