Simple mistakes hurt Eagles in 9-27 loss

Simple mistakes hurt Eagles in 9-27 loss

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Men’s Eagles fell to Canada 9-27 in front of 5,258 fans at Charleston’s Blackbaud Stadium Saturday. The Eagles will need a big win in the second leg in Toronto next weekend if they are to ensure qualification for the 2015 Rugby World Cup England.

The perfect start came from Canada in the first minute of the match, as Phil Mack chased his own chip kick into the try zone and dove on it to give the visitors the lead. Though the play was seen a second time by the referee, he awarded the try and James Pritchard converted from the touchline.

Down by seven with another 78 minutes on the clock, the Eagles started to get to work. A few minutes of possession resulted in a Canadian penalty, and Chris Wyles had an opportunity to put the Eagles on the board. From 45 meters, however, Wyles’ kick was just short, keeping the score at 0-7.

The Eagles committed a penalty in the 14th minute and paid for it as Pritchard successfully kicked the penalty goal to extend the Maple Leafs’ lead to 0-10.

After 18 minutes, the Eagles had committed four penalties to Canada’s two, indicative of the way the game was going for the home side. Taku Ngwenya chased his own clearance kick in the 22nd minute and was able to put pressure on the Canadian backs, but the return clearance kick bounced awkwardly for Toby L’Estrange. L’Estrange was tackled with no support around him and turned over possession, but Scott LaValla pushed an attacker into touch to get a lineout.

The Eagles were awarded another penalty in the 22nd minute after a Canadian’s high tackle on Blaine Scully. Wyles hit one of the uprights from 25 yards, prolonging the Eagles’ scoring drought in the match.

Mack seemed to score his second try of the match in the 25th minute, but the referee called the play back for obstruction.

Wyles caught a Canadian clearance kick in the 30th minute and made a nice 20-meter run past a few defenders, but should have offloaded it to the wing before he was tackled. The Eagles committed a knock a phase later.

Pritchard kicked his second penalty goal of the match in the 37th minute, sending the teams into halftime with the Eagles down 0-13.

It took three minutes into the second half for Wyles open the Eagles’ scoring account with a 25-meter penalty goal. Canada responded minutes later with a try from Harry Jones. A run from Mack put the Maple Leafs on the try line and Jones finished the sequence with a strong run across the line. Pritchard converted for a 20-3 Canada lead.

Wyles converted his second penalty kick in the 60th minute and Canada again responded with a try. Ciaran Hearn received a nifty switch pass 15 meters out and was not held after being knocked to the ground. DTH van der Merwe got the ball and walked between two defenders into the try zone for five points, with Pritchard adding the extra two for a 27-6 lead.

Folau Niua looked like he was starring in the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series after he entered the match, dummying past the Canadian defenders and running half of the length of the field before passing off to Titi Lamositele. Lamositele earned his first cap with his substitution and became the youngest Eagle to enter a test. The Eagles were awarded a penalty after a few more phases and elected to go for points.

While the game might have been out of their hands with four minutes remaining, they had a second leg to look forward to in Toronto. Wyles converted the penalty goal and the Eagles were humbled 9-27 in front of a sell-out crowd at Blackbaud Stadium.

“You let them score 25 seconds into the game, you’re starting off on the wrong foot,” Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin said. “We didn’t get our attack going, we were playing in the wrong end of the field, we didn’t get our momentum going early enough – so we wound up playing catch-up ball.”

“Obviously we feel pretty dejected,” Wyles said. “Canada were more clinical in the important areas and fed off of our mistakes. They do that often, so fair play to Canada.

“We’ve got to take a good, hard look at ourselves. We’ve got to dig real deep and pull together. We’re all pretty proud characters and we’re going to be putting in everything we have into this next game. That’s for sure.”

The Eagles will travel to Toronto for the second leg of the Rugby World Cup Qualifier against Canada and will need to win by at least 19 points to gain the Americas 1 position in 2015. Watch the Eagles from BMO Field on Universal Sports Saturday, August 24, at 4:00 P.M. ET.

Men’s Eagles | vs. Canada
1. Shawn Pittman
2. Chris Biller
3. Eric Fry
4. Louis Stanfill
5. Samu Manoa
6. Scott LaValla
7. Peter Dahl
8. Todd Clever (C)
9. Mike Petri
10. Toby L'Estrange
11. Blaine Scully
12. Andrew Suniula
13. Seamus Kelly
14. Takudzwa Ngwenya
15. Chris Wyles

Men's Eagles | Reserves
16. Zachary Fenoglio
17. Titi Lamositele
18. Phil Thiel
19. Brian Doyle
20. Cameron Dolan
21. Robbie Shaw
22. Folau Niua
23. Roland Suniula

Men's Eagles | 9
Penalties: Wyles (3)

Canada | 27
Tries: Mack, Jones, van der Merwe
Conversions: Pritchard (3)
Penalties: Pritchard (2)

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Comments (61)

  • Guest - Ricky Ruck

    Dear Nigel,

    Please fire Tolkin after next week. He is obviously over his skis in the role as Head Coach and has lost the respect of the players who don't seem to want to play for the man. The longer you wait the worse it will get.


    USA Rugby Community

  • Guest - Concerned fan

    In reply to: Guest - Ricky Ruck

    This has got to stop. Canada obviously has their stuff toghether and they play like a team. They play for each other. Why can't we beat them in our own backyard?

    The boys better get ready to travel to Uruguay because to beat the Canucks in Canada is a tall order.

  • Guest - Canuck

    In reply to: Guest - Concerned fan

    Canada has a good coach who they respect as a former All Black and RWC 87 winner. Tolkin has lost the respect of the team between the fall internationals and the summer internationals. He is on pace to be the worst Eagles Head Coach ever.

    Tolkin is 3-9 (25% Winning Percentage)

  • Guest - Alex

    In reply to: Guest - Canuck

    It's not just their coach. Canada is reaping the benefits of a highly organized player development that goes back almost 20 years. I played against Cuddles and Pritchard when they were 18-20 years old at CCSD in Victoria. Every Canadian on this team has learned the same system since then. If you are a 30-year old player in the USA, you have probably had three or four different playing styles preached to you at one point or another, and none of them the same as any of your teammates'.

  • Guest - Tony D

    In reply to: Guest - Canuck

    He is the worst coach ever... Example: They kick away possession in every match while they have a rolling advantage??? WTF???? That is basics of coaching - I would be pissed, if I my boys continually kicked away our chance to retain possession and possible draw a penalty or score a try. To many New York cronies on the team. Where are our Sevens stars???? Nick Edwards would be great as well as Luke Hume.

  • Guest - Nigel M (not that one !)

    In reply to: Guest - Ricky Ruck

    Your arrogance is surpassed only by your supreme ignorance !!
    US rugby will never reach the Tier 1 level of international rugby unless there is a total root and branch appraisal of the infrastructure and support for the coaching team. Primarily, that starts with removing the rugby HQ, and some of the officials, from the wilderness of Colorado to the heart of New York City, where you have a chance of attracting the sponsorship and media coverage the game badly needs to compete on a level playing field.
    The long term strategy has to be to have faith in the best "home grown" coach, and you have that in Mike Tolkin, not in the foreign mercenary coaches on a 2/3 year contract. The players do have faith, as have the more intelligent amongst the rugby community.
    Creating negativity with banal characatures is brain-dead schoolboy stuff !
    Old native Indian proverb - "Be careful what you wish for" !!!

  • Guest - Rugby4life

    In reply to: Guest - Nigel M (not that one !)

    In response to: Nigel M(not that one),
    If you are really from NYC, then you know that sponsors are attracted to "Winners". Fact is Tolkin is out of his league and yesterday's game definitely looked like Canada was playing a high school team. The problem is Nigel Melville. Nigel Melville is the CEO, the President and the High Performance Manager. He has been at the helm since 2006 and yesterday's game was complete proof of what he has accomplished. USA Rugby needs to hold Nigel Melville ACCOUNTABLE. He is paid somewhere around $300,000 a year to ruin USA Rugby. FIRE NIGEL MELVILLE!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest - Bill

    In reply to: Guest - Nigel M (not that one !)

    What is it with the name calling? Talk about "schoolboy stuff".

    While I agree USA Rugby has many issues within their board. But to suggest that the HQ needs to move to NYC to attract sponsorship and media coverage is simplistic and stinks of a typical New Yorker arrogance that seems to believe the country revolves around the them. Let me guess, NYAC or Xavier H.S. supporter? Any relation to Robert Howley? The two of you sound awfully close.

    As an avid supporter of calling for the firing of the Melville and Tolkin to suggest these guys are our long term strategy does nothing for the development of rugby in the U.S. I politely disagree with the idea we can develop a "home grown" coach. Look at Canada and Japan having foreign-born coaches at their helm. Their programs are growing at leaps and bounds. My only solace remains in elder players that have a great deal of international experience like Dan Lyle. Only then can we bring a level of experience necessary to develop our players to the caliber necessary to compete with Tier 2 teams at the international level.

  • Guest - West Coastie

    In reply to: Guest - Nigel M (not that one !)

    Twenty-one of the 42 members of the Canadian National squad play in Vancouver or Vancouver Island. The metopolitan areas of Victoria and Vancouver combined have 2.6 million people, but they have 32 high school clubs in two divisions. Plenty of high school games. They have years of consistently competitive club rugby to hone their skills. Each time a premier division club takes the pitch there are likely to be two or three internationals playing, and many more knocking on the door. They play from September through April, with only a couple months off in winter. Repetitions at a high performance level, that's the most significant difference. Moving the HQ to the Big Apple as a cure for what ails U.S. Rugby? That's absurd.

  • Guest - Florida rugger

    Would someone in the communications dept of USARFU PLEASE find and pass along links to pages for those of us that do not get Universal? We should not have to go crazy searching for sites and then downloading stuff while the matches are underway.....

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