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 - steve

    How can you be so poor defensively, when you know that's what you are going to be doing the most of. Train to be a defensive team, I blame the coach but I think the players are worse, they do not give there all. Fire them all!

  • Guest - Alex

    In reply to: Guest - steve

    If you play a slide defence the entire game against a back-line like Canada's, giving them that much space, they will cut you into pieces. At the very least, you have to move into an out-and-in or something else once in a while to give them a different look. Teams are VERY comfortable possessing the ball against the Eagles. If you can hold onto it through 4 or 5 phases, you are almost certain to get a shot at goal at worst.

  • Guest - Really Guys?

    I was going to go to Philly to watch the Eagles v Maori All Blacks, but after this display me and the boys are going to go to the Steelers v Bills game in Pittsburgh. Sorry USA Rugby. You put out a bad product and you lose your audience.

  • Guest - Alex

    The Eagles have absolutely no presence on the pitch. Canada came out in a rush defence early to challenge the new American fly-half. How could they have not been prepared for that? Steepen the back-line or run some misdirection in the first and second channel! They have no patience in attack. They try to score off of every single touch and don't think even one phase ahead. They will never beat a team as disciplined and confident as Canada until they play with more intelligence and stop relying on their athleticism. Our youth program suffers from the same disease that used to afflict American football/soccer: the best athletes coming up in the sport don't develop any technical or game management skills, because they are allowed to achieve solely from being stronger and faster than their opposition at the lower levels. I feel certain that Japan has also passed us for at least the medium term. We are closer to Uruguay than we are to Canada.

  • Guest - We Suck

    In reply to: Guest - Alex




  • Guest - Bubba Littleton

    America 1 is a far worst Pool than America 2 will have. Sometimes you win by losing at the correct moments.

  • Guest - Eric

    In reply to: Guest - Bubba Littleton

    Not cause to celebrate but that is true. Americas2 has a better shot to win two games in the WC. That AM1.
    That being said I was at the game last night and we look like a team who's confidence has been shattered.
    Uruagury will be a huge challenge with this broken look in their eyes. Let along rebounding in Toronto.

  • Guest - Vande

    Heads need to roll and it starts with getting rid of an over priced USA rugby President. USA clubs pay for travel to get top level matches with no support from national level and USA clubs help develope players only to have those players pulled at the national club championship level for a defensive crappy national team with no sign of a creative offense in the last twenty plus years. It is time we take back our union and tell IRB to €£¥¥*%# when they send us their retreads for a president and a retread 2011 USA world cup coach. We need to support our clubs and to develope from within. Defense might be nice in stopping embarrassing defeats to heavy weight opposition but if you can not score try's you will not win against even some of the lower level teams we should be smoking. Fire them or if they have any respect please res

  • Guest - Bill

    I posted before after their loss to Japan and I will say again, it is time to clean house and get rid of the USA "Chicken Hawks" coaching staff. Tolkin is a high school coach, nothing more. I hope he was a good English teacher because he should start updating his resume. Dan Payne needs to tuck his tail and continue heading south down I-95 back to Georgia.

    Offensively they were a complete bore. I've seen Old Boys teams with more creativity and flair. And here we have another game without a single try scored. Five of the last six games the "Chicken Hawks" have failed to put the ball down. Unfortunately, we cannot expect a great many scoring opportunities when Petri box kicks the ball away almost every series with little tactical advantage gained. Petri need to follow his Daddy Tolkin back to NYC and stick with teaching.

  • Guest - vande

    You can not win if you can not score. We keep going with defensive athletic players instead of going with rugby offensive players in the squad. To make matters worse our defensive skills have been failing at the international level. USA rugby leadership is horrific. Overpriced USA IRB retread president needs to be fired as do some of the coaches. The scrum has been crap since they let Billy McClerk go from USA scrum coach prior to 2011 world cup. Players on the squad are picked on heresay and whomever got a contract overseas. Bring in an offensive southern hemisphere coach and bring back the ITTs or pick from the final four USA clubs. I think you can include DI, DII, and DIII championship final four teams with whom you pick players for USA pool since at least the clubs that pay their dues into USA rugby and get to a final four do a much better job coaching up players than some of the retreads I see still stinking up the field after 2011 world cup team. USA needs to stop worrying about losing by multiple points to the IRB heavy weights and start picking players that can put the ball over for try's and at least have a chance of beating lower level teams. Proper offensive minded coaches are in dire need. USA keeps thinking they can take what they deem as athletic players and develope them but in process many times stick with losers for multiple matches/ years in a row who get beat in some cases on our own national club level. USA in 20 plus years has proven they are incapable of developing players. Clubs pay for these players to get developed and USA treats club championships like crap. We need to stop USA rugby from keeping club players from playing for their clubs in our own national championships so as to rest them for an international a week away where they in turn lose at the international level. 20 years plus of putting defense first. Put rugby players first or go back to 1920's twice gold medal teams and put the top USA club team on as the USA team on the field. Embarrassing to watch.

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