LANGFORD, BC – You hear the sigh of relief from as far as the Rockies to Far Rockaway… The collective “Phew!” was exhaled throughout the United States after the USA Eagles Select XVs carved out a solid win over host Canada A , 10-30, in the “Northern Derby” leg of the Americas Rugby Championship.
The match marked the debut of 18-year-old fly-half Guiseppe Du Toit, who had an up and down match for the Canadians.The young Du Toit did put the hosts up 3-0 with a penalty kick, but the Eagles responded with 23 unanswered points. Fullback Joe Cowley, whom the Canadian announcers tabbed as Man of the Match, had a strong match for the Americans, converting 3 penalties and 3 conversions. Two of those conversions came after 2 tries by winger Tim Maupin, who made some defensive adjustments to stem an early match tide of Canadian ball-carriers turning the corner.
The third of the USA’s tries – and the back-breaker – came from a powerful 40-yard rumble by blindside flanker Daniel Barrett. But what precipitated Barrett’s statement-maker, was nothing short of bizarre… The kicking tee never materialized fr0m the sidelines for Du Toit to use for a penalty kick. As a result, his teammate held the ball as they rushed the kick. It was no good and the Eagles pounced on the mistake. An amazing turn of events, to say the least.
We reached out to USA Coach Mike Tolkin, who has been under much-documented fire. Here’s what Coach Tolkin had to say:
“The players trained with focus in the short period of time and responded to the feedback from the game against Argentina. It was important that we learned and responded to those failures and came out with energy and confidence. Pleased for all the boys and our program.”
Hooker Phil Thiel, the Team USA Captain spoke with Bryan Kelly of Rugby Canada post-match. Thiel said he was proud of the squad but knows that it’s just a step and the battle with Uruguay looms:
“We really want to go after them and really play hard and we’re expecting a very spirited game.
Meanwhile, the Canadians will get back at it vs Argentina and we expect them to play a much better brand of rugby after this wake-up call.
Here’s the match, in case you missed it:
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