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 (62)

  • 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.

  • Guest (Nick Fedorenko)

    The USA were the worst prepared team I have ever seen

  • Guest (Robert Howley)

    The USA Eagles last coach was Eddie O'Sullivan who took Ireland to near the top (No 2 in the World at one point) . He coached Brian O'Driscoll as well and he could not do much with USA Eagle Rugby. A good man but we have never had much success. I have been in the game for 41 years and I have seen so many technical changes that it makes my head spin. It used to be a simple game with little coaching. I want to see USA Rugby be competitive but I care more about the fact that we have a guy in Nigel Melville who knows how to market the game. We have over one million players now and 1/3 are female. What better way to go by getting women players involved.to play and spectate and play and be passionate about the game. What can be better than a passionate female player/fan? There is no way we can get guys from the West Coast/Denver and the East Coast to play together on a regular basis. Who cares where HQ is located. What a bunch of fickle fans. We don't need you negative people. A bad loss but we won our First World Cup Match in 2011 against Russia and Mike Petri scored the winning try as he did against Georgia. He tackles better than any scrum half I have seen. All you Xavier/NYC haters please disclose your name and where you are from. Then we will know your real agenda! Until then Ricky Ruck is a fool and so is the guy who posted five times with the same rant that made no sense named Vande. I really thought people in rugby had brains. Now I question that. Maybe the guy who posted five times should get a concussion test! I played touch rugby today with a bunch of people who are new to the game and some old timers. It is a handling game. I learned that from my old Irish Coach. I had four concussions but I can still think as I as a consulting actuary for 32 years. I have never seen develop spelled with an e at the end. No, I am not the Welsh scrum half although I met him and he was the most humblest of players. A man in the true spirit of the game!

  • Guest (Bill)

    In reply to: Guest (Robert Howley)

    I am a 41 year old rugger from Southern California that has lower club experience in South Africa and MARFU. If it hasn't already been apparently clear, I will give you my agenda again: Fire Mike Tolkin! I do not like the apparent nepotism within the selection process in favor of NYAC. There is a bias by Tolkin and nobody will convince me otherwise.

    As for Mike Perti, I don't care how good of a tackler a scrum-half is, his job is to get the ball out quickly and make good tactical decisions (kicking and feeding the back line). Neither of which are apparent and should be a clue why he was cut from playing professionally overseas. While he may be a great athlete, he is not a international caliber scrum-half. His employment with Xavier and play with NYAC only foments my belief in the nepotism with Tolkin.

    I want USA Rugby to hire a coach that has an attacking offensive style similar to that being used in the southern hemisphere. Tolkin has an abysmal record and has done nothing to develop the offensive game of the national team. A victory against Georgia and Romania is not what I consider resounding success.

    You cannot expect to win a game when you cannot develop an offense. Defense does not win in rugby. This is not 2003 when this same strategy worked for England because they had one of the best kickers in the game. The game is much more complicated today, has been professionalized and requires a coaching staff with a modern understanding of the game to bring some success to these shores.

    If a national team does not demonstrate some level of success you cannot expect the game to grow, especially at the grass roots youth level. These kids want to emulate their sports heroes. How do you find a hero in a team that doesn't win and are falling in the IRB rankings? U.S. Soccer is a perfect example of how they orchestrated success due to great coaching and development that brought success on the pitch. Without growing fan support how can you market a team and bring in the money necessary for development? It doesn't happen in any business model.

    Now tell me, where are you from that leads to my belief in your bias for Xavier and NYAC?

  • Guest (Ricky Ruck)

    In reply to: Guest (Robert Howley)

    Hey Robert Howley!

    Just because you're Tolkin's buttboy and a Mellville sycophant doesn't mean you have to give Petri a 24/7 reach around recovery session. Give your hand a rest and try pleasing a woman for a change.

  • Guest (Mark)

    Canada as the US number. But why?
    Do they have better athletes? I don't believe they do.
    Do they have more players at the professional level? Again I don't believe they do.
    Do they spend more time as a team together, playing international rugby? No.
    Are they better coached? I don't know. What I do know is that no US coach I know of has had much success against Canada.
    So why is Canada and Japan now so much better than the USA?

    I see centers grubbed kicking the ball inside the 22meter line...Suniula is the problem here. Emerick would run hard and go into contact. but how many time do we see Suniula kick and chase or knock on. Set your watch by it.
    The front row...ok Fry is a huge problem here. I'll put out an idea. Lets look to NCAA D1 heavyweight wrestlers as props. They understand leverage, they live and die by technique and most importantly they understand beating the guy across from you.
    My hope is that when we watch the next loss to Canada next week at least our defense will show up.
    Hats off to Clever, Lavala, Manoa, Pittman, Zee, Wyles and Scully for a good game.

  • Guest (Bill)

    In reply to: Guest (Mark)

    Couldn't agree more! Though I will suggest Japan and Canada have better coaching.

  • Guest (Brad)

    In reply to: Guest (Mark)

    Japan & Canada are 'better' then the States because of two things... passion & heart.
    Better coaching? better funding? more athletes to choose from? better domestic leagues?
    Intangibles such as toughness, confidence, desire, uncompromising, aggression, fearless, grit, comradery & teamwork... The Eagles always seem to have decent athletes yet lack a certain street-smarts, grit... overall nastiness & venom Japanese & Canadians have zero problem tapping into. I don't think the USA have a reputation internationally in rugby, a typical character trait all American rugby players seem to possess, until they put a stop to the defeats against their northern neighbours & maybe win a few RWC matches, their reputation won't ever develop in a positive direction.

  • Guest (College Rugby Coach)

    I can't be the only one who is completely sideways about our 9s incessant box kicking. While we have MANY problems, this one seems really simple to solve. I've watched the last 4 matches we've played. In EACH, I'm at a loss to explain why our 9 continually kicks away possession when the situation doesn't even have "kick" as an option. We won clean ball inside our 22 in a ruck. NEVER would I be OK with my 9 BOX KICKING the f(*&ing ball. We did, Canada fielded cleanly and scored within the first 2 minutes of the game. I recall watching this same 9 BOX KICK when we were down to Ireland, inside THEIR 40 meter line. WTF? I don't coach at the Eagles level, but I can assure you I'd be going batsh*( if my 9 kicked away possession OVER AND OVER again. What gives?=

  • Guest (5Lock4ward)

    It all comes down to selection. Lou Stanfill played his college rugby at 8 and plays 8 in Italy. Why not keep him where he's familiar? Clever has been an open-side from day one; why move him? He's probably our most aerobically fit forward and one of our best tacklers. Sounds like the basic ingredients for a 7 to me. Keep Lavalla at 6 move Manoa to 4 (where he gets most of his action for Northampton) and keep Doyle at 5. When they scrum down let Manoa get behind Fry to sure up the tight-head side. Pittman and Biller stay put. It isn't brain surgery. In the backs I'd have Scully at FB, Ngwenya and Paterson on the wings and move Wyles to 13 where he gets a fair bit of action for Saracens. We need surer hands in the centers and a more experienced voice helping to call plays and get the ball out wide. Keep Suniula at 12. If we're going to stick with L'Estrange he needs someone like Wyles in closer helping him. However, if Siddall's favored position is FH we should give him a shot. It's not like L'Estrange is dominating and has nailed it down. Obviously Petri stays put for now. Also, I respect USA rugby's desire to keep an American coach for fear of being used as a stepping stone like Eddie O. did. However we as a rugby nation aren't there yet. Mike Tolkin has done a great job w/in the American rugby community. As such he should be kept on board as an assistant to somebody like Andy Robinson or in a dream Jake White. Our top coaches should be sent to NZ, SA and England to study under the best the same way guys like Clever and Fry did in getting game time over in NZ. If the IRB wants to grow the game here they should be setting up American coaches, refs and players with such opportunities. The sad thing about this game is that Canada was missing a handful of their pros and we were only James Patterson short of our best 15. I'll be cheering them again next week but we better get ready for Uruguay.

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