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 - vande

    USA President needs to step down and or be fired ASAP

  • Guest - Robert Howley

    Ricky Ruck is an idiot. How does he say Mike Tolkin has lost the respect of his players? That is not true by all accounts. We had a poor showing for sure but Canada is playing very well. Last summer we beat Georgia and Romania convincingly and had a good game against Italy despite two red cards. This year we had a close game against Ireland and Tonga, a loaded professional team. Let's see what happens next week and later on this fall. We had a crowd of 5,200. Too bad we could not have had the game in Philly. Go ahead, go to the Steelers- Bills game. Have fun, we don't need you there anyway.

  • Guest - Robert Howley

    Why does Vande post the same thing five times? is he a technical moron? Also he needs to have his grammar and spelling checked before he posts. He seems to have no real brain power. I thought rugby players were well college/educated? I couldn't follow his stupid rant. Canada seems to have our number. We have to see what happens next week. As for Tolkin being a HS coach he took NYAC to a number of club championships and his players have always respected him. Nigel Melville has done a great job of keeping our sport front and center. It is not all about how the USA Eagles perform. He was England's youngest captain and was a British Lion Captain as well. He was as successful coach in England and USA Rugby is lucky to have him. I guess we should appoint someone from Utah to take over USA Rugby.

  • Guest - Bill

    In reply to: Guest - Robert Howley

    Robert Howley: Check your own grammar and spelling before you start casting stones. We don't have editors checking our work, but are trying to voice an opinion. To be rude and start calling people names for expressing their opinions only demonstrates your ignorance and lack of tact. In the end , it is about how the Eagles perform, period. How do you market a product that doesn't produce results? Attendance will fall, as demonstrated by other stating they will not attend a game, and the money sponsorships bring will dry up. Get off Melville's, Tolkin's and the rest of the Eagles coaching staff jocks!

  • Guest - Robert Howley

    My final comment is to Ricky Ruck. To imply that the players gave up is a huge insult to guys like Todd Clever, Sean Pittman, Chris Biller, Fry, Stanfill and Manoa and all the other guys in the scrum who played their hearts out. We had 51% possession and 49% territory at the half but were down 13-0 due to a clever play by their scum half and Chris Wyles missed two of his attempts at goal. He had an off game but he has been playing well. I could see some frustration on Todd and a couple of others in the scrum at some of the calls but they never gave up or stopped playing for Coach Tolkin. It seems clear to me that you have never played rugby at any sort of high level to make such silly comments.

  • Guest - Ricky Ruck

    In reply to: Guest - Robert Howley

    An insult to Clever? The guy is an insult to the entire USA rugby community. Personally, I found the Clever schtick of long hair and a flavor saver trite and immature from the beginning, but now seeing how poorly he manages the team and ref as captain causes me to find his whole "look at me!" cartoonish look and behaviour as offensive. The guy is an immature tool.

  • Guest - Constructive Bob

    As a viewer only wanting the best for USA rugby, a large part of the offensive failings lie in the first five position. It is obvious to me that the attack in phase play is starting to deep, drifts across field, doesn't attack the line, never gets over the advantage line, tactical kicking is non existent, and even positional kicking is poor. There is also no imagination on second and third phase, everything is to predictable. The team needs someone with attacking flair who takes the ball to the line creating indecision in defenders and opening gaps for his attackers. Also someone who can get USA into attacking positions with some tactical kicking. We saw a glimpse of that once the first five was substituted. USA needs to give themselves more chance to score tries on attack, the current personal in the critical pivot positions and team tactics are not doing the job and need to be re-evaluated.

  • Guest - BC

    What I noticed watching the game yesterday was our penchant for putting the boot to the ball and losing possession repeatedly. What is the reason for the excessive kicking - is it the coaching tactic or poor choices by those on the pitch? How come we don't keep possession and keep pounding and attacking, wearing them down and hopefully creating an opportunity. Last night just after a few successful and good looking phases our scrumhalf kicks a box kick or someone else decides to kick with only a turnover of possession resulting.

  • Guest - Rugby4life

    Tolkin is definitely out of his league, but the real problem that seriously needs to be addressed is Nigel Melville. He is the CEO, the President and High Performance Manager. He has been at the helm since 2006 and look where USA Rugby stands now. That game was embarrassing to watch! When is USA Rugby going to hold Nigel Melville ACCOUNTABLE. Did anybody see that Charlie Manuel was just fired as Manager for the Phillies and he won the World Series in 2008?!?!

  • Guest - Bill

    Robert Howley: I can't speak for the respect of the players, but I can say with certainty that he has lost the respect of USA Rugby supporters. Convincingly beating a two lower ranked Tier 2/3 teams "last year" is not much of an accomplishments when taken against the pool of players we can select. Ireland, while close was a not a true Ireland squad when ten of their top players were on tour with the British Lions. The idea is we should be playing at a much higher level, but have yet to demonstrate the the Eagles are even a Tier 2-level team. A couple more decisive losses will certainly drop us in the IRB rankings relegating us to the Tier 3 status.

    To call a supporter an idiot because he doesn't want to shell out hard earned cash for a team that doesn't have a coaching staff capable of preparing a team against a rival is cheap and low. All these supporters are asking for is a team that looks prepared to play a game at the international level. You wouldn't happen to be a NYAC or Xavier High School Supporter? You sound as if you are awfully supportive of a coach that is quite possibly the worst in USA Eagle history. 0-7 in last seven matches! Looks like and 0-9 is not too far off the mark.

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