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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

U.S. vs. Australia: Eagles Player Grades

To put the finishing touches on the Eagles-Wallabies match we offer our player grades. Despite what ended up being a solid defeat the Eagles played well for much of the match and our grades reflect that.

Blaine Scully, 74 minutes (7): Another solid effort from Scully. By and large his chase was good and his defense was underrated. He is never phased by the level of opponents and finds a way to step up every time.

Taku Ngwenya, 80 minutes (7.5): We thought this was Ngwenya's best performance in an Eagles shirt in a long time. His run and offload to Mike Petri will deservedly get plenty of attention (it says something that Ngwenya has been involved in two of the Eagles best tries of all time) but it's his defense that keeps him out on the pitch. He put in a couple of thunderous hits.

Seamus Kelly, 80 minutes (7): Kelly was also excellent and is playing his best rugby of the summer. Defensively he had one of his better matches and offensively he took it to Australia.

Take the jump to read more.

Thretton Palamo, 75 minutes (6.5): Palamo wasn't able to get as involved in the match as he would like but defensively he also had a couple of massive hits. If he can find a way to be a little more involved on offense the Eagles will be in good shape.

Chris Wyles, 80 minutes (7): He had to spend a lot of his time dealing with his opposite number but Wyles once again played a great match. His leadership in matches like this is fantastic.

AJ MacGinty, 71 minutes (7): This was the first time that MacGinty has had the chance to play an opponent like Australia and he responded well. He faced a tough opponent in Bernard Foley but he wasn't outclassed. Defensively he had some tackles and he did get the Eagles out running at times on offense. He did have a couple of good kicks from hand but also a couple he'd like back.

Mike Petri, 80 minutes (7.5): What a match from Petri. All players out there should watch how he ran support on his try. He also ran a smooth game on offense.

Samu Manoa, 40 minutes (7): You can easily see how important Manoa is to the Eagles, or any team for that matter. The match simply makes few mistakes. When he was on in the first half the Eagles trailed by four. That wasn't the case when he came on in the second half. Fans should truly appreciate how special Manoa is as a player.

Andrew Durutalo, 80 minutes (6.5): Maybe not his most active game but it was also the first match where the opposition was World Class at protecting their own ball at the breakdown. Time and time again you could see Durutalo put himself in position only to be cleared out at the last minute.

Al McFarland, 38 minutes (6): A decent match from McFarland before coming out for a concussion test. He's still not Scott LaValla but he filled in well.

Greg Peterson, 70 minutes (6): It was an up and down match for Peterson. His early yellow card hurt the Eagles but overall he had a decent match. His work in the lineout, which is typically strong, wasn't there at times and it led to an Australian try.

Cam Dolan, 58 minutes (6.5): A quiet match from Dolan but one that was not necessarily ineffective. Dolan looks to be a solid answer at lock and will create selection headaches when Hayden Smith returns from injury.

Titi Lamositele, 58 minutes (6.5): Australia were a tough test for Lamositele and he mostly did well in the scrum. We've said it before, but Lamositele is a future Mike MacDonald for the team.

Zach Fenoglio, 52 minutes (6): A bleeding nose for Fenoglio early on let him know what it would be like to face Australia. Decent at times but the lineout could have been better.

Eric Fry, 56 minutes (6): Fry had some trouble in the scrum against Australia but at the same time did well on a couple of occasions. His improvement in that category has been great to watch.


Danny Barrett, 42 minutes (6.5): Barrett came on in a tough situation but did well. He may be more suited to a starting role but if he can be a super sub the Eagles will have an advantage at the World Cup.

John Quill, 40 minutes (6.5): Another player that had their best match in awhile. He was one of the few subs in the second half to make an impact.

Phil Thiel, 28 minutes (6): Maybe not Thiel's best day in an Eagles jersey. The lineout didn't always function smoothly and the scrum struggled in the second half.

Ollie Kilifi, 24 minutes (6): Like the other front-row substitutes Kilifi strugged in the scrum but did get around the pitch well. He's probably the Eagles best option off the bench in the front-row at the moment.

Lou Stanfill, 22 minutes (6.5): At this point in his career Stanfill probably isn't going to start every single match but what he can give you is veteran leadership that can come into a match and make a difference. With the Eagles under fire in the second half Stanfill came in and immediately upped the intensity. Getting into some handbags with Australian players was just that and helped jump start the team.

Chris Baumann, 22 minutes (6): Baumann is a solid player but he still struggles at times in the scrum at the international level. It will be interesting to see if a player like Mate Moeakiola overtakes him at World Cup time.

Folau Niua, 11 minutes (NA): Niua came into the match at two separate times and it was hard for him to get much of a rhythm. That's why we're going with no grade.

Shalom Suniula, 9 minutes (6): It's getting harder and harder to replace MacGinty but Suniula came in and did well. It's good for him to get a run out before the World Cup.


  1. Isn't it odd that Captain Chris Wyles always touches the Ref. I know the refs in the Southern Hemisphere aren't too keen on being touched. I guess it's different in the UK

  2. Get beat by 37 points and no one gets less than a 6?

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  3. think the grades are in relation to previous iterations of the Eagles, not ranking by Tier 1 positions. you had to be excited watching this team - we have 1 all world guy and a bunch of tough semi pro's elsewhere that maybe sniff the far end of the Aussie bench. let's support 'em!

  4. The Eagles played great for 50 mins. - the pace of Australia was tremendous and they put in their studs to quell the onslaught by USA. Anyone who's been around rugby as long as I have can see this is, without a doubt- THE BEST eagle squad ever.