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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cape Town 7s: Eagles Beat Russia, Through To Quarterfinals

The Eagles are through to the medal quarterfinals after beating Russia 26-17 in their final pool play match. Although the end result was closer than the U.S. would have like they controlled most of the match and showed a lot of the same strong form they had earlier in the day. Next up for the team will be Scotland at 5:38 a.m. et/2:38 a.m. pt.

As expected the Eagles got off to a bright start against Russia wanting to put up a few scores to seal the match. Neither team helped themselves early and the Eagles put themselves in a hole when Martin Iosefo was sent to the bin. However, even down  a man the Eagles did well to push down the pitch and find Danny Barrett out wide who rolled over yet another defender for a try. The conversion was off and the Eagles led 5-0 with three minutes left. The Eagles soon added another try as they once again stayed patient and this time found Steve Tomasin for the score. With the conversion the Eagles led 12-0.

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Cape Town 7s: Eagles Lost To South Africa

The Eagles moved to 1-1 at the Cape Town 7s after a 28-10 loss to South Africa. However, the team is still on track to make the quarterfinals if they defeat Russia in their final pool play match. Facing the host team was always going to be difficult and when the U.S. had a couple of errors South Africa were there to capitalize.

The U.S. started the match well putting South Africa on their back foot for a long stretch. That was eventually capped off with a try. Folau Niua took kick well and then after a few phases Perry Baker drew in the defense before offloaded to Maka Unufe who went in for the try. The conversion missed and the Eagles led 5-0.

However, it's hard to keep South Africa off the board. On the restart Seabelo Senatla kicked the ball down the pitch. He whiffed on one of his kicks but Cecil Afrika was there to clean up for the try and a two point lead.

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Cape Town 7s: Eagles Blank Australia

The Eagles gave their chances of making the medals quarterfinals a big boost after beating Australia 19-0 in their first match at the Cape Town 7s. Traditionally, the Eagles have always done better of the second leg of a two tournament series and that was evident once again as they played one of their best matches in awhile. With tough sides Australia and South Africa in their pool the U.S. had to beat one of them and now they have a chance to beat both to top the group. They play South Africa at 9:10 a.m. et/6:10 a.m. pt.

The match started well with Perry Baker taking the restart in the air (with an assist from Danny Barrett). Even though Australia won the ball back at the breakdown the U.S. defense was up to the task forcing Australia into coughing up the ball. Sloppiness of Australia was a theme throughout the match but a lot of that had to do with the U.S. defense. On several occasions early Australia had a couple of five meter scrums and what looked to be sure tries only to be caught. In particular on one sequence a big hand from Andrew Durutalo stopped a score.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Cal Cup Week One Preview

There is no time for teams to rest and they get right back at it for week two of the Cal Cup. OMBAC, SFGG, and Life West picked up wins in week one and if they can repeat that this week they will have a good cushion at the top of the table.

OMBAC vs. Belmont Shore (Long Beach State University, 3:00 p.m.)

OMBAC were very, very good in their week one win over Olympic Club. Zach Pangelinan was at the top of his game and the new additions to the team seem to have flawlessly fit in. Their offense is looking like the top in the competition at this point and if Kalei Konrad is on with his boot, as he was last week, then they are so difficult to beat. Additionally, only having to go up the road to Long Beach should have them fresh.

Belmont Shore came back from a 20 point deficit to make things very close against Life West last week. They will be very disappointed that they couldn't finish things out and take the win. They will head into this weekend with a chip on their shoulder. Defensively they did well to hold Life West at times and they are going to need to show some of their traditional tough tackling to get the result. Playing at home always helps.

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Eagles Abroad: Weekend Preview

Eagles Abroad is brought to you by Grubber, makers of fine sporting apparel. 

There are lots of Americans going to be busy this weekend. The European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup resume this weekend and that means a lot of Americans are going to be involved. One of the most appealing matches for fans is the match between Saracens and Sale. Both Chris Wyles and AJ MacGinty will start. Also starting in the Champions Cup is Samu Manoa who is once again a big presence on Toulon. In the Challenge Cup, Nick Civetta will get the start for Newcastle. Thretton Palamo, Taku Ngwenya, and Blaine Scully will all also start.

Outside of the European cup play Americans will be busy in the Pro D2. Christian Ostberg is out injured which means he won't be able to line-up against Eric Fry who will start for Vannes. Fry is slowing moving into a starting role for the club. David Tameilau will start for Narbonne.

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Cape Town 7s Preview: Eagles Look For Top Eight

The Eagles didn't perform the way they wanted in Dubai. A slow start cost them a chance to make the top eight. They rebounded from a subpar match against Scotland and half against Uganda but then played well against South Africa and did really well on day two to take home the Challenge Trophy. If the Eagles can play like they did on day two then they have a chance this week. However, with matches against Australia and South Africa they face a tough task.

When the Eagles had success in Dubai it came from winning the battle and the breakdown. Andrew Durutalo showed glimpses of his vintage self and it paid dividends for the team. Martin Iosefo also had a nice match. The U.S. needs more power running like that if they are going to be successful. The more defenders are drawn into the middle the more space there is for the speedy wing players. Will it happen? It's possible but lots of things are going to have to come together to make it happen.

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Weekend Television Listings

The European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup continue this weekend although the selections in the U.S. aren't that great. Only two matches will be on ESPN3/WatchESPN.  Outside that the Cape Town 7s will dominate the weekend. American fans should be able to watch on worldrugby.org. 

If you know of an event or a tournament that is not on our list, please share it with us at thisisamericanrugby@gmail.com.

  • Cape Town 7s, 3:15 a.m. et/12:15 a.m. pt (live on worldrugby.org)
  • Clermont vs. Ulster, 8:00 a.m. et/5:00 a.m. pt (live on ESPN3/WatchESPN)
  • Cape Town 7s, 3:30 a.m. et/12:30 a.m. pt (live on worldrugby.org)
  • Connacht vs. Wasps, 8:00 a.m. et/5:00 a.m. pt (live on ESPN3/WatchESPN)