Eagles come up short in second leg of RWC 2015 qualifier

Eagles come up short in second leg of RWC 2015 qualifier

TORONTO, Ontario – The Men’s Eagles had a tough task ahead of them in Toronto and came out strong, but ultimately lost to Canada 11-13 in the second leg of the Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifier Saturday.

After their 9-27 loss to Canada in front of a sold-out crowd at Charleston's Blackbaud Stadium, the Eagles needed a 19-point win in order to qualify for the Rugby World Cup without having to play another series.

The Eagles had strong possession deep in Canadian territory for the first 10 minutes of the match. An apparent try in the seventh minute was held up by the northern rivals.

After regaining possession, Andrew Suniula made a surging run within five meters of the try line and Chris Biller finished it off in the try zone. Unfortunately, the referee deemed the try had been held up yet again, keeping the score at 0-0.

Luke Hume, returning to the team from injury, made a huge run in the 17th minute to get the ball back into the positive end of the field but lost it forward. Not long thereafter, Blaine Scully regained possession for the Eagles and fed Hume. Eventually, the ball came to Takudzwa Ngwenya, who broke a tackle and scored the game’s opening try.

Minutes later, Canada’s James Pritchard kicked a penalty goal from midfield and followed it up with a try of his own. From a lineout near the 22, Canada moved the ball quickly to the opposite side of the field and Ciaran Hearn fed the fullback for the try. Pritchard missed his conversion, but Canada still led at 8-5.

Harry Jones almost extended the lead in the 27th minute with a speedy run through the Eagles. Without support, however, the Eagles forced a knock and regained possession.

With just a minute remaining in the first half, Pritchard missed a penalty kick much closer than his earlier attempt from midfield. At the other end of the field, Chris Wyles successfully kicked his own penalty as time expired to draw level.

The 8-8 halftime score meant the Eagles still needed put at least 19 points on the scoreboard in order to qualify for the Rugby World Cup. It also meant they would have to keep Canada out of the try zone for the remainder of the match.

Canada put together a few positive phases in the 60th minute in the Eagles’ end of the field and were rewarded with a try from Jason Marshall, who sneakily dotted the ball down in the corner in front of the assistant referee. Pritchard missed the conversion, keeping the Eagles within striking distance at 8-13.

The Eagles could not take advantage of a Canadian yellow card, but Wyles drew his side closer with a penalty goal in the 67th minute. Time was not in the Eagles’ favor, but the visitors did not give up on the match.

In the final minute, Wyles lined up for a penalty kick attempt, which would have given the Eagles a very late lead. It missed just wide and the referee signaled full time. Canada qualifies as Americas 1 at the Rugby World Cup 2015 and took home the CanAm Trophy from the day’s match.

The Eagles will face Uruguay in another two-leg series next spring, with the winner advancing to the Rugby World Cup as Americas 2 in Pool B with South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, and the Asia 1 qualifier.

Men’s Eagles | v. Canada
1. Shawn Pittman
2. Chris Biller
3. Eric Fry
4. Louis Stanfill
5. Brian Doyle
6. Scott LaValla
7. Peter Dahl
8. Todd Clever
9. Robbie Shaw
10. Toby L'Estrange
11. Luke Hume
12. Andrew Suniula
13. Chris Wyles
14. Takudzwa Ngwenya
15. Blaine Scully

Men's Eagles | Reserves
16. Zachary Fenoglio
17. Titi Lamositele
18. Phil Thiel
19. Cameron Dolan
20. Derek Asbun
21. Mike Petri
22. Folau Niua
23. Roland Suniula

Men's Eagles | 11
Tries: Ngwenya
Penalties: Wyles (2)

Canada | 13
Tries: Pritchard, Marshall
Penalties: Pritchard

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Comments (14)

  • Guest - 5Lock4ward

    Hopefully Uruguay has less strict visa requirements. I've got to blame that on USA rugby management for not being more effective at greasing the wheels or for not having the foresight to take care of it well in advance. Also, does anyone with any legit info on the matter know why James Paterson was unavailable and why he isn't on a pro contract in Europe somewhere? I get that NZ won't have him anymore b/c he chose to represent the USA but shouldn't someone who played Super Rugby for the Crusaders be able to slot in somewhere in England, Ireland, France, Scotland or Wales? Thoughts on a new coach?

  • Guest - Lance

    We should have not let it come down to this. But it is hard to believe how deficient we are kicking the ball. It's not just today, but the results were particularly devastating this afternoon.
    A lot of Eagles deserved victory today. The heart and fire was there, if we can find the exceceution there is a lot this group can achieve.

  • Guest - Bill

    For once the Eagles did not start the game the their heels and game out ready to play. They held a continuous attack and kept Canada under pressure, but seemed to let up after they put one down across the try line. Wyles looked uncomfortable at 13 and his ordinarily solid defense was questionable today and seemed to carry over into his kicking game. Hume looked like a man on mission attacking frequently, but often left his support looking unprepared and he looked weak in his tackling. Shaw looked strong initially getting the ball out quickly and resisting the temptation to kick away after two phases. Once Canada put one down across the line the Eagles seemed to accept their fate (Watch Fry's body language when Pritchard put it down). Occasionally we would see sparks of the early attack, but they never put anything sustained together. Unfortunately, the Eagles could not execute when it counted the most often mishandling in front of the try line and missing vital penalties. It is a sad state of affairs when the Canadian announcers comment how poorly Canada played while they still held on for the win.

    While I understand a couple of the substitutions, what was the point of bringing in Petri. My hope is it was to give him one last cap before crossing the border to head back to NYC, permanently. Forget tactical changes, it is time for strategic changes in the coaching staff and some old guard players. Petri, L'Estrange and Clever need to get their walking papers. Neither of the three of provided any semblance of leadership or skill necessary to bring the Eagles out of their current state. To hold onto these guys for two more years until RWC 2015 will be disastrous and do nothing to show we have advanced beyond 2011.

    All this said, even the Canadian announcers said the Maple Leafs played poorly today.

    Canadian announcers

  • Guest - Bill

    In reply to: Guest - Bill

    Sorry all for the repetitive sentence at bottom. Didn't catch it in preview. Sorry again.

  • Guest - Bill is an idiot

    In reply to: Guest - Bill

    1. You are an idiot.
    2. You have no idea what you are talking about.
    3. I doubt you have ever played, coached, understood, or properly watched the game of rugby.
    4. Your perception USA's team leadership, both players and coaches, is flawed and inaccurate.
    5. Your grammar and writing style are far superior to any point you tried to make on your post.

    - Stop doing what you are doing, please.

  • Guest - Joe

    In reply to: Guest - Bill is an idiot

    I think Bill has a very accurate assessment of USA Rugby and its really shows someone's intelligence level when they start calling people names. Facts are facts no matter how emotionally tied to the situation a person may be. A great point to look at is that the CEO of Canadian Rugby was interviewed during half time to discuss how well Canada has been progressing. I haven't seen Nigel Melville being interviewed because USA Rugby is not Progressing.

  • Guest - Bruce

    The America 2 berth at WRC 2015 is a better chance to advance (Okay, unlikely) to the knock out phase. Sometimes a loss is no defeat.

  • Guest - Red Faced Boy Scout

    In reply to: Guest - Bruce

    WOW! Tolkin is playing some 3 dimensional chess here. What a coach!

  • Guest - Robert Howley

    It as really tough to take the recall on Biller'r try. I saw no video evidence of him being held up or reversing the call as the ref was right there.. It would have been 7-0 and another game. Yes, Chris Wyles missed a tackle on his opposite number and also missed some kicks but he played well. We had a chance to win this game and the scrum dominated for the USA. Wasn't Billy boy calling for the scrum coach's head last week? He also hates Todd Clever and his long hair. I saw Clever take Pritchard to ground in the open field and get to his feet and take the ball all in one play. One of the best plays I have ever seen. I saw Clever all over the field making plays like that. . Billy is a psychologist as well as he thought Fry's Body Language told him something about the team. What a brilliant comment. The guy as injured you jack ass. Have you ever even played rugby at any level? As per Petri coming in, I thought he threw a quicker ball for a tired Rob Shaw and as also he drew that final penalty that cold have won the game for the USA with Wyles kick. Get over your hatred of NYC and Xavier rugby and Catholic people Billy boy. You are just a boy and a silly one at that. Tell us your name please but if your employer if you have one would likely fire you.

  • Guest - Red Faced Boy Scout

    In reply to: Guest - Robert Howley

    The USA scrum only looked better because the new engagement sequence has created parity between the 2 packs by eliminating the hit contest, which obviously the Eagles couldn't win. Also, the Eagles were playing a Canada side with their 3rd choice hooker, their less than best prop pair because their best prop is in NZ with club duties keeping him out and without Cudmore and going 3 to 4 deep in one of their two second rows.

    Secondly, how much lack of confidence does Tolkin have in Clever? Can anyone tell me when they have seen an international level coach circle up the teams just prior to kick-off and trying to fire up the team? That's the captain's roll. As one observer said, "Tolkin looked like a red faced boy scout", and it was an embarrassment. Tolkin has never even played in a test match and he is there moments before battle saying what? "When we are deep in the red zone and it is our lineout we throw to 2 and drive before giving the ball to the 9 to distribute to the 10 to clear our lines" COME ON! He is saying hit them hard, tackle low, etc. All those trite platitudes that are said prior to a game to motivate and ease nerves. Coming from a guy old enough to be their dad and who has never worn the jersey. Tolkin is a complete joke. Worst Eagles coach ever and a huge failure.

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