LONDON - The Collegiate All-Americans were blanked in their second match of the tour against Saracens Academy yesterday with a final score of 32-0.
Coach Alexander Magleby was noticeably frustrated with his side’s performance against the Academy team. When asked who stood out, he replied bluntly, “Nobody. Nobody stood out…We made a lot of mental mistakes.” The All-Americans couldn’t get out of their half very often even though they had plenty of ball. Some players tried to run out of their own twenty-two when the corners were open to kick into. “We had some opportunities,” said Magleby but the All-Americans’ decision making let them down. It was those poor decisions that sealed the fate of the American side.
On the positive side, there were vast improvements from the team’s loss against Richmond Football Club last weekend. However, Saracens was “a completely different monster” according to Magleby.
Saracens Academy is a rugby-focused academic institution where the players spend half their time playing rugby and half their time focused on studies, many of which are athletics and rugby based academic classes. As the United States tries to catch up, it seems the gap between the two nations, when it comes to rugby, is vast although closing steadily. Having tours like the one the All-Americans are currently on, gives American rugby players experience against excellent opposition.
The All-American program was validated by the appearance of some notable faces in American and European rugby such as Eagles head coach and former coach of Ireland, Eddie O’Sullivan. Two more Men’s National Team personalities were on hand as Hayden Smith and Chris Wyles, who both play for Saracens in the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup competitions, showed their support for the Collegiate All-Americans.
The All-Americans have gained valuable experience that many of the players will bring back to their respective college clubs, many of whom will compete in the new College Premier League that will launch in May of 2011.
“We are frustrated, but are ready for Leicester,” said Magleby. The All-Americans will play Leicester Academy at Leicester’s storied home pitch, Weldford Road on Saturday, August 21.
To follow the team, check out Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/aarugby) for real time match updates and to read player reactions, go to their blog: http://www.allamericanrugby.us/allamericanrugby.us/Blog/Blog.html