Eagles Abroad - Nov. 22, 2011
by Curtis Reed
It was another busy week for Americans overseas as the Heineken Cup, Amlin Challenge Cup, and RFU Championship continued to excite.
It was a busy week for Americans playing overseas and none more so than in France as U.S.A World Cup vets Taku Ngwenya, Chris Wyles, and Hayden Smith all took to the field at the same time as Biarritz and Saracens squared off in the Heineken Cup. In the end it was Ngwenya’s first try in European rugby this year that saw Biarritz win the match 15-10. Ngwenya and Wyles both played a full 80 minutes while Hayden Smith went 48 minutes.
Samu Manoa also saw Heineken Cup action, coming off the bench and playing the last 15 minutes against the Scarlets. However, he couldn’t help his team as they lost the match 28-13. Still, it wasn’t all bad for Manoa as he scored a try against Derek Asburn and the Oxford Blues in a reserve match on Monday. Asburn came off the bench for the Blues.
Up in Scotland, Tommy Seymour started at #14 and played the full match as the Glasgow Warriors lost to Leinster 38-13 in the Heineken Cup.
Hanno Dirksen didn’t dress for the second consecutive week for the Ospreys as they drew with Benetton Treviso in the Heineken Cup 26-26.
Back in France, Kevin Swiryn started for the first time this year and played the full 80 minutes for Agen as they lost to Brive 29-8 in the Amlin Challenge Cup. Two consecutive strong performances for Swiryn should put him back in contention for a spot on the roster as the Top 14 season continues next week.
Also in the Amlin Challenge Cup, Scott LaValla came off the bench and played the last 25 minutes for Stade Francais as they won big over Bucharesti 49-3. LaValla, who was scheduled to be an academy player this year for Stade has turned out to be a big addition for the Paris-based team.
Seta Tuilevuka didn’t take part in Montpellier’s 16-13 loss to Bath in the Heineken Cup. However, according to his twitter page, he did see action with the reserves.
Inaki Basauri and Perigueux had the weekend off.
Over in the RFU Championship, Andrew Suniula scored his first try for the Cornish Pirates in the 3rd minute of the match against Bristol. It wasn’t enough as Bristol came out on top 37-33.
Mike MacDonald returned from injury and played the entire second half as Leeds won a tight match against Esher 20-15. MacDonald sat down and talked about the win with Carnegie TV. Robbie Shaw once again started at #9 for Leeds.
Shawn Pittman started and played 80 minutes at prop for London Welsh as they beat their fellow exiles, London Scottish, 18-16.
Todd Clever continues to have an up and down season after not dressing in Suntory Sungoliath’s 26-13 victory over Yamaha Jubilo.
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