Eagles Abroad - Nov. 15, 2011
by Curtis Reed
It was try time for Americans Abroad as four Eagles crossed the line for their team during a busy week of league and cup action.
The highlight of the weekend was the opening of the Heineken Cup. One of the top performers on the weekend was Chris Wyles, who got on the scorers sheet for this first time this year for Saracens. His try in the 60th minute essentially sealed the deal for Sarries as they eventually topped Benetton Treviso 42-27. Wyles was taken off only a minute after his try, but lock Hayden Smith continued his hot play for Saracens with a complete 80 minutes.
While Saracens were on their way to victory fellow Premiership Eagle Samu Manoa and his Northampton side were pipped 23-21 at the last-minute by the boot of San Diego-born Ronan O'Gara. Manoa played the last 15 minutes of the match in his Heineken Cup debut.
In Wales, Taku Ngwenya played the full 80 minutes for Biarritz but it wasn't enough as BOPB lost their pool 5 match to Ospreys 28-21. American (declared for Wales but we'll see...)
Hanno Dirksen didn't make the game day roster for the Ospreys. Also in Heineken Cup action, American Tommy Seymour started and played 63 minutes for the Glasgow Warriors in their 26-21 pool 3 win over Bath.
Seta Tuilevuka was not in the match day squad for Montpellier as they tied Leinster 16-all at home.
Meanwhile, over in the Amlin Challenge Cup, Kevin Swiryn made his season debut for Agen in fashion, scoring the last try for Agen in their 50-10 victory over Spanish side La Vila. Swiryn came on in the 24th minute and showed the skills to which we are all accustom. He'll certainly hope that his performance leads to more playing time.
Uncharacteristically since his arrival, Scott LaValla wasn't in the match day squad for Stade Francais as they travelled to England and beat Worcester 23-14. Felipe Contemponi's six penalties pushed the French side to the top spot in pool 1.
Moving away from Continental action, several Americans were involved in the British and Irish Cup. Mike MacDonald sat out Leeds 31-16 victory over Scottish-side Curries with an shoulder injury picked up a couple of weeks ago, but that didn't stop Robbie Shaw from continuing his scoring streak. Shaw came on for the last 28 minutes of the match and scored the bonus point try.
Andrew Suniula was rested by the Cornish Pirates and not in the match day squad as they beat Munster 'A' 10-6.
Shawn Pittman was also rested for London Welsh as they beat Aberavon 27-19 to go atop their pool. The Bellingham, Washington native played 20 minutes for the Exiles in their 38-0 victory over the Oxford Blues last Tuesday. American graduate student Derek Asburn appeared for the Blues.
As for the rest of the world, Todd Clever didn't want to be left out of the scoring action, so he scored the opening try for Suntory Sungoliath in their 17-10 win over the NTT Shining Arcs. After three matches played in the Top League season, Suntory sit in second place. Inaki Basauri found the pitch for consecutive weeks for Perigueux. He played 80 minutes at lock as his team lost to Beziers 21-13. Newly promoted Perigueux sit in last place with only one win in ten ProD2 matches. The Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup continue this next weekend, but the RFU Championship will be returning to league action.
Curtis Reed is the creator of the blog This Is American Rugby (www.thisisamericanrugby.com) which shares news and opinion about the Eagles and home and abroad. You can follow him his website or on Twitter@ThisIsAmerRugby