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Monday, September 28, 2015

U.S. vs. Scotland: Eagles Player Grades

Last Sunday's match was another difficult match to assign grades. On the one hand the Eagles held a halftime lead against a Tier I nation for the first time but on the other they still lost big. Our grades reflect that with some players doing well and not others.

Eric Fry, 66 minutes (6): A mixed but overall decent day for Fry. He and Lamositele helped anchor the scrum throughout the first half and he was very active on defense. He have a couple of missed tackles but overall made a very solid impression. Like the rest of the forwards maul defense is an issue.

Phil Thiel, 64 minutes (4): It was definitely a day for Thiel to forget. His lineout throws were extremely costly every time they were off. Scotland didn't pick up a ton of points from those throws but more importantly it prevented the Eagles from possibly putting in one or two more tries which could have made a difference.

Titi Lamositele, 68 minutes (6.5): Lamositele had a fantastic match that was capped off by his try where he was in the right place at the right time. The U.S. has a good one in Lamositele and it's great to see him grow. However, it should be said that he needs to be better in the maul.

Take the jump to read more.

Hayden Smith, 43 minutes (5): Smith is definitely an asset in the scrum and defensively makes some great tackles. However, he misses out on a higher grade for us because of the lineout.

Greg Peterson, 49 minutes (4.5): Peterson's grade is closer to Smith's but he gets a little bit lower of a grade because he led the match in missed tackles with four.

Al McFarland, 80 minutes (6.5): McFarland had one of the better games among the Eagles. He did miss a couple of tackles but also made a team high 13. He also won a couple of turnovers. He did great work at the breakdown and made a few solid runs. He deserved to go the full 80.

Andrew Durutalo, 59 minutes (5.5): Maybe it's 15s fatigue catching up with Durutalo but it wasn't the best match we've seen from him. Scotland was able to neutralize him to a certain degree but he did have some nice moves on offense. After a rest he should be ready to go against Japan.

Samu Manoa, 80 minutes (7): Samu Manoa is such a fantastic player and it was evident on Sunday. He was everywhere making some thundering tackles, gaining meters, and generally just making his presence felt. At times it felt like he wanted to single-handily change the match and it nearly worked. He co-lead the Eagles with five carries that crossed the gain line. Hopefully this is not the last World Cup Manoa participates in. That would be a shame for rugby.

Mike Petri, 49 minutes (4.5): This was probably the worst game Petri played this summer. Scotland's pressure was too much for Petri and most of his kicks were poor allowing Scotland to win the territory battle. The Eagles did get out running in the first half but he showed fatigue in the second half.

AJ MacGinty, 80 minutes (6): MacGinty was 100% from the tee, made offense plays in the first half, and had good tackles. He did win a turnover but also lost a couple in his own half not always to his own fault. Still, like the rest of the team he appeared to tire having to defend so much.

Blaine Scully, 59 minutes (6): Scully was bruised and battered for much of the match and didn't have a ton of opportunities to touch the ball and make an impact. Scotland decided to take it down the middle and that hurt Scully's participation. That said, he did make 54 meters, fourth most in the match.

Thretton Palamo, 80 minutes (6): Palamo was good for much of the match but also had trouble defensively at times. He did make an impact and helped push the Eagles forward.

Seamus Kelly, 80 minutes (6.5): Overall a solid game for Kelly. He made two clean breaks, tied Manoa for a team high in five carries across the gainline and had a match high 74 meters made. Offensively he is really coming into his own and defensively also had a solid match.

Taku Ngwenya, 80 minutes (6): Ngwenya wasn't able to break out as much as he would like but he was still dangerous. Defensively he was also strong putting in the hit of the match if not one of the hits of the tournament.

Chris Wyles, 80 minutes (5.5): Not the best day kicking from hand for Wyles but he did make meters and helped calm the team down at times. Maybe there could have been a bit more leadership during Scotland's try blitz.


Cam Dolan, 37 minutes (6.5): It was the first extended minutes for Dolan at the World Cup and he showed well. He was good in the lineout and he got up and down the pitch. Put us in the camp that think he should start.

Danny Barrett, 31 minutes (6.5): Like Dolan, Barrett also saw some extended time. Also like Dolan, Barrett played very well and should see more time in the near future.

Shalom Suniula, 31 minutes (5): There was good and bad for Suniula but he didn't really get to be involved until the later stages of the match. His blocked kick showed a little nativity on the international stage.

Folau Niua, 21 minutes (5): Niua got a chance to play much more time than he has most of the summer but was invisible for a lot of the match.

John Quill, 21 minutes (5.5): A decent match for Quill and he came in at a time that was hard to make an impact.

Zach Fenoglio, 16 minutes (5.5): He replaced Thiel and did well. He'll likely return as starter soon.

Ollie Kilifi, 14 minutes (5): Knock-ons were not the friend of Kilifi in this match and he also struggled in the scrum at times with the tricks of his Scottish counterparts.

Chris Baumann, 12 minutes (5): Baumann had a couple of good moments but overall was pretty silent. 


  1. How do does Eric and titi not get 8s? They won two Scotland scrums against in the first half. And our scrums were rock solid. Of course, our scrums are getting better and then our lineout is absolute shit. We could have scored 2 or 3 trys in that first half if we won half of our frigging lineouts. Ugg.

  2. Scores were generous given

    To suggest an 8 for anyone is ludicrous

    1. I think this is actually a really good summary and accurate assessment. Key turning points were poor lineouts, aimless kicks, handling errors and minimal impact from the bench. The first 60minutes the Eagles looked good. Sustaining it appears to be the challenge.

    2. The bench has been a huge problem. Other than Dolan nobody has had a positive impact.

      Leaving Clever out of the team after Lavalla went down will rate as the single dumbest decisions Tolkin has ever made.

      The team now has the unenviable choice between a respectable loss against SA and a likely defeat against Japan or a heavy loss against SA using the bench to try and salvage a win against Japan to put some gloss on this turd of a WC.

      The coaching / game plan / execution / in game adjustment grades are a 4.

    3. Exactly. I think the stats are fair, but the real issue is game plan. The second half should have started off trying to retain possession and defend well when not in possession - not trying to relentlessly attack and the players find themselves helplessly out of position when a counter attack occurs. The start of the second half should have been more about frustrating Scotland and making them end up giving away penalties. The US are very good in sharp attack, but the game demands a team who can also control possession.