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Monday, August 3, 2015

Late MacGinty Drop Goal Gives Eagles Win Over Canada

Photo: Judy Teasdale

Overcoming a sloppy second half and 30 minutes of playing down a man a late drop goal form AJ MacGinty sealed a 15-13 U.S. win over Canada to claim fifth place at the Pacific Nations Cup. The win means the U.S. finish up with two wins and two losses, albeit a tight loss to Samoa. More importantly, the Eagles have gained a clearer picture of who’s ready to make an impact at the World Cup is less than two months. The U.S. will now take a break before assembling in Ottawa for a rematch against Canada on August 22nd.

The match didn’t get off to the brightest of starts for the Eagles as they conceded a penalty only two minutes in that Liam Underwood would convert. However, after that it was pretty much all Eagles for the rest of the half. After the penalty the Eagles had a series of pressure only meters short of the tryline. They were able to put together phases but a rushed pass from Scott LaValla as he was being pressured halted the opportunity.

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Match Commentary: Eagles vs. Canada


The match can be viewed on ESPN3/WatchESPN. It can also be seen on World Rugby's webpage.

U.S. Line-up

Forwards: Eric Fry, Zach Fenoglio, Titi Lamositele, Hayden Smith, Greg Peterson, Scott LaValla, Andrew Durutalo, Danny Barrett; Backs: Mike Petri, AJ MacGinty, Zack Test, Andrew Suniula, Seamus Kelly, Blaine Scully, Chris Wyles; Bench: Phil Thiel, Mate Moeakiola, Chris Baumann, Cam Dolan, John Quill, Al McFarland, Shalom Suniula, Thretton Palamo

Canada Line-up

Forwards: Hubert Buydens, Aaron Carpenter, Jake Ilnicki, Jon Phelan, Brett Beukeboom, Kyle Gilmour, John Moonlight, Richard Thorpe; Backs: Jamie Mackenzie, Liam Underwood, Conor Trainor, Connor Braid, Ciaran Hearn, Jeff Hassler, Harry Jones; Bench: Ray Barkill, Djustice Sears-Duru, Doug Wooldridge, Evan Olmstead, Nanyak Dala, Phil Mack, Nick Blevins, James Pritchard

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Mystic River Pick Club 7s Nationals Side

Mystic River have named their team for the Club 7s Nationals and it is loaded with experienced players. Like fellow Northeast qualifiers Old Blue, Mystic River are made up of players who are also a part of the Northeast Academy, including Sean Rafferty, Jon Kokinda, Vini Daley, Jared Collinson, and Duran Vota. Also on the team are Pono Haitsuka and Marcus Satavu, two players with World Sevens Series experience. Players we're looking at to excel are Haitsuka, Daley, and Evin O'Driscoll.

The side were consistently the best team in the Northeast throughout the year and emerged with several key results. As mentioned, they are a very experienced side and could be a darkhorse to make the championship match.

Squad: Sean Rafferty, Jon Kokinda, Chris Frazier, Evin O'Driscoll, Vini Daley, Alatasi Tupou, Duran Vota, Marcus Satavu, Pono Haitsuka, Jon Feldman, Jared Collinson, Dimitri Efthimiou

Tuisamoa Joins Ostberg At Aurillac

According to reports out of France (and as reported by Americas Rugby News), Tai Tuisamoa will be making the move from England to France next year as he gets set to suit up for Aurillac in the Pro D2. He'll be the second American at the club after Christian Ostberg also joined the team in the offseason. Roland Suniula also played for the club at one point.

After coming to rugby late as a convert from basketball Tuisamoa excelled for OMBAC before landing a contract with London Scottish at the end of the 2013-14 season. In his season and a half for London Scottish he played eight times with two starts. That does not include his starts in the British & Irish Cup.  Although left off the Eagles Pacific Nations Cup team Tuisamoa is still a part of the Eagles wider World Cup training squad. However, he'll have to wait and see if he can earn a place on the team when the Eagles name their next camp.

Video: Dan Lyle Picks Eagles RWC Standouts

Opening Kick

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National Teams:

The Eagles have named an experienced team to take on Canada today (5:00 p.m. et/2:00 p.m. pt on ESPN3). We have everything you need to know in our preview.

However, before you turn your full attention to the match check out our player grades from the match against Tonga.

Rugby Wrap Up has a Q&A with Eagles fly-half AJ MacGinty.

Bryan Ray from Americas Rugby News has a look at Canada and who might make the World Cup team.  Additionally, here is a profile on rising Canadian star Evan Olmstead.

Americas Rugby News also has their latest edition of who's up and who's under.

Also from Canada, the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence has received a funding boost.

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Preview: U.S. Closes Out PNC Against Canada

While it may feel like the Eagles are on a bit of a down note after a poor performance against Tonga last Wednesday in Toronto there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Eagles ahead of their match against Canada. Not to excuse the number of mistakes made by the Eagles against Tonga but that was nearly an entirely different team than the one that played against Samoa and Japan and the conditions did make for a tough match.  Again, while not entirely discounting the match against Tonga, it's important to remember that the team that will play Canada will be the team that played well against Samoa and Tonga. Look for them to continue their strong attack, great work at the breakdown, and a better kicking game thanks to the return of AJ MacGinty.

While Canada isn't a World Cup opponent like Samoa and Japan they are still a great barometer for the Eagles. It's arguable that no other team in the world has as similar of a make-up and background to the Eagles as does Canada. They have plenty of players with 7s experience, they have overseas pros, domestic players, and they have similar athletic builds. If the U.S. want to judge where they are as a team there is no better team to do that against than Canada. 

Take the jump to read more.