USA vs Italy: A Detailed Review

Martin Castrogiovanni
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HOUSTON, TX – All the RWU staff has been able to talk about is this game. We have discussed it in rugby chat-rooms and email groups with refs as well. In fact, fellow RWU contributor Cody Kuxmann analyzed the refereeing yesterday. My personal consensus? Referee Garces was within his rights to Red Card both players. I cannot say I agree with his decision but there is illegal action there for a red card to be justified. Again, Cody covered the specifics – it’s his bread and butter – and I’ll leave that analysis to him. I will, however, review the players and their performances, with an emphasis on the first half when it was 15 v 15.

15 Chris Wyles – Not as dominating as he was in the previous game but still proved why he is a world class player.
14 Luke Hume – His pace and counter attacking seemed to cause problems, looks to become a mainstay.
13 Paul Emerick – Well-taken try but the card was a bang-bang matter and better discipline would have made the difference.
12 Andrew Suniula – Bad game all around. His handling was inconsistent and led to his actions that resulted in a red card.
11 James Paterson – Got hurt early so hard to tell. His replacement Colin Hawley played a decent game.
10 Roland Suniula – Seemed to lack the quality front football to create magic like last week.
9 Mike Petri – Quicker delivery at rucks and more alertness at scrums for lost put-ins.
8 Todd Clever (c) – He is the captain for obvious reasons and his all-around play showed why.
7 Scott Lavalla – Showed great ability to get physical and counter ruck at the breakdwon to be a pain.

Martin Castrogiovanni

6 Taylor Mokate – Again showed his ability to handle the speed and physicality of the test arena.
5 Brian Doyle – Didn’t make his presence felt in the set piece.
4 Louis Stanfill – Loads of dirty work but not able to get involved in the other aspects of the game.
3 Eric Fry – The questions about his ability to be the long-term tighthead prop for the US will continue.
2 Chris Biller – Good defense but suffered in the set-piece with lineouts just not getting to the target.
1 Shawn Pittman –Did ok in the loose but had no answer to Castro’s Shenanigans. McDonald and Folifau were also brought in and they did seem to improve in the scrum slightly.

Scrums – Were not totally dominated but lost a few of our put-ins with one leading to an Italy try.
Lineouts – Very inconsistent with a few overthrows.
Rucks – For the most part the US rucked well when possible.
Mauls – Have yet to see a quality one put together this summer.
Defense – Rather very well. They held Italy out for large parts of the game. The try before the end of the half was kind of random and the one at the end of the game was a result of 13 man fatigue.
Transition – Never got the counterattack going and defense after a lost ball was helter skelter at times.
Handling – Handling was actually a bright spot over the weekend.
Kicking – Wyles still is not a great enough kicker at this level so the US may have to get creative.
Attack – It was good when it needed to be, but just didn’t get enough opportunities.

Positives – The defense and commitment when down to 13 men was impressive. The score line could have been worse but it wasn’t.
Negatives For experience veterans to get such poor cards is unacceptable. Quick draw by the ref or not, you cannot but yourself in that position and at his mercy. How will Coach Tolkin disciplines his vets is the key question.

SIDE NOTE: On Tuesday, 6/26/12, the USA’s U-20, aka Junior All-Americans won against RUSSIA 36-13 in their third and final pool game of the Junior World Trophy, moving them into the final against Japan, 6pm MST on Sat., June 30th. The Junior All-Americans are players made up of College underclassmen, High School All-Americans and Club Under-19 stars. It’s a second tier competition of the Junior World Cup, with the winner (again the US is in the final!!) getting promoted to the Junior World Cup competition. This year it will be held in Salt Lake City June 18th til June 30th. If you are looking to watch some of the action, CLICK THIS.

Loads of good stuff for the US team to build on.  Feel free to comment below and until the next time, stay low and keep pumping those legs.

About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at