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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Match Commentary: Eagles vs. Springboks


The match can be viewed on Universal Sports and PPV. Our match preview can be found here.

U.S. Line-up

Forwards: Ollie Kilifi, Phil Thiel, Chris Baumann, Lou Stanfill, Matt Trouville, Danny Barrett, John Quill, Samu Manoa (C); Backs: Niku Kruger, Shalom Suniula, Zach Test, Andrew Suniula, Folau Niua, Brett Thompson, Blaine Scully; Bench: Joe Taufetee, Zach Fenoglio, Mate Moeakiola, Titi Lamositele, Cam Dolan, Al McFarland, Mike Petri, Chris Wyles

South Africa Line-up

Forwards: Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck Du Plessis, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebenth, Lodewyk De Jager, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Duane Vermuelen; Backs: Fourie Du Preez (C), Handre Pollard, Lwazi Mvovo, Damian De Allende, Jesse Kriel, Bryan Habana, Willie Le Roux; Bench: Schalk Brits, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Willem Alberts, Rudy Paige, Morne Steyn, Jan Serfontein

Take the jump to read more.

Pre-match: If the U.S. can pull out a result it will easily top Japan's famous win. However, given the line-ups it's certainly not expected.
Pre-match: Teams are out of the tunnel and the anthems are up!
1: And we're underway!
2: South Africa hit with a penalty early after the Eagles keep possession. W/o MacGinty they won't go for the posts but the line out. TMO looking at a high tackle. "Just a penalty" is the call.
2: Given the new penalty the U.S. will go for the long kick at the posts. Niua's kick is on line but just short. SA clear but U.S. keep possession.
4: First scrum and it's a penalty on the U.S. after holding out for a bit.
6: SA with their first period of pressure but a poor pass allows the U.S. to put in a good counter ruck. Clearing kick goes out on the full. Lineout to SA.
7: And the Springboks are in! Damien de Allende takes advantage of the U.S. disorganized in defense. Started with the maul at the line out. Conversion is good. 7-0.
11: SA penalized at the scrum. U.S. going for the line out rather than the posts.
13: Niku Kruger has been good so far. Eagles keeping possession again looking for the breakthrough.
14: Etzebeth not rolling away. Eagles going for the posts. U.S. with 79% possession at this point. Kruger's kick is off the post and no good. So close but they have the ball back.
17: SA try the maul again off the line out but the U.S. defense holds. All said, two missed kicks and the U.S. would only be a point down.
20: U.S. scrum is just barely holding on each time but so far only the one penalty. They also earned on. SA is on the attack now.
20: Blaine Scully was a massive collision with Bryan Habana. Both shaken up a bit. No penalty just a scrum to the Eagles.
22: Scrum under pressure again. Smart play by Niku Kruger to draw SA offside and allow the Eagles a better chance to clear. Wyles on for Scully as he's checked out.
24: SA with a big break (Pollard after great passing) and they are only meters from the line. All came from a turnover at the breakdown. Kriel claims a try but it's held up. TMO review up holds the call.
25: SA pressing hard but they will go back to penalty at the scrum. Habana and Scully back on.
26: U.S. getting warned for the scrum. Manoa told to talk with his front row.
27: There's the penalty try for another infraction at the scrum. The conversion is good. 14-0. The actual infraction for the try may have been debatable but no question it was coming.
32: U.S. under more pressure, including at another scrum, but they're still holding SA off.
36: Springboks just meters short and Thompson is called for being off his feet. SA haven't been clinical with their chances so far.
38: SA lose it forward but it's a penalty. They go quick and Scully intercepts. U.S. with possession. Scully made it far but didn't have the support. Almost identical to the start of Ngwenya's magic try in 2007.
40: The Eagles keep pressure but SA win the turnover and kick it out for the half. 14-0 to SA.
Halftime: SA very wasteful and ill-disciplined at times. U.S. defense holding firm. All said, being down 14-0 with two missed penalties isn't bad.
40: Second half underway! No changes to the Eagles at halftime.
41: Habana gets the Springboks off to a perfect start. They turnover the ball (Louw), du Preez puts the grubber in and Habana recovers to score. They TMO says it's 50-50 and they award the try. Needless to say, not good from the Eagles. Conversion good. 21-0.
45:  U.S. hit for offside. SA just five meters from the line. They are going for the scrum.
47: Try Springboks! Bismarck du Plessis with the try. Second half is going much better than the first for SA. The conversion is no good. 26-0. Dolan on for Manoa.
52: More pressure from the Springboks and Stanfill is called for not rolling away. SA choose line out. Springboks use the maul to give Francois Louw the try. U.S. looking tired. Expect some more subs. The conversion is good. 33-0.
57: South Africa make a number of changes but the pressure stays. Still very much danger time for the Eagles. McFarland on for Barrett.
58: Moeakiola is on for Kilifi.
59: Habana has another try after the U.S. defense is out of sorts from the line out. De Allende set that up. The conversion puts the Springboks up 40-0.
61: The ball is spilled out of the maul and Habana recovers for his second quick try. That puts him level with Jonah Lomu with 15 RWC tries. The conversion pushes the score to 47-0. This scoreline is closer to what we expected at the start.
64: U.S. finally gain a penalty. U.S. going for the line out rather than the points. Kick doesn't find touch.
67: Habana nearly with a fourth try but it's knocked on. SA look certain to score here again.
68: Louw with the try for South Africa. Not much left to say.  Steyn's conversion is off again. 52-0. Fenoglio on for Thiel. Wyles on for Scully. Sorry, Fenoglio came on for Trouville, Taufetee on for Thiel.
72: Jesse Kriel with the 9th try of the day for South Africa. The good news is there is only about 7 minutes left. Steyn is off once again. 57-0.
78: Only a few minutes left and the Eagles have had their first set of possession in awhile.
82: Taufetee with a run and the Eagles are 22 meters out with no time left.
83: After lots of phases the ball is spilled and Mvovo kicks it down the pitch to recover for a try. Disappointing end for the Eagles.
Final: The kick is good. 64-0 final. One to forget for the Eagles but given the RWC schedule this was always going to happen.

Thanks for following along!

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  1. Wow, impressive first half. The boks have been off, but lots of very physical play. Pretty good phase play. Scrums have been spotty, but we knew that was coming. Impressed so far. We'll see what the 2nd half brings.

  2. I am pissed at tolkin, not necessarily for any reason. He coaches for one half and just gives up after. Spend the money and make a big name hire.

    1. Don't forget evan. Tolkin is all about getting the process correct. Not necessarily about winning. He is under the mistaken assumption that the former means the latter. Unfortunately for the team, and us fans, it does not.

  3. Well that got out of hand quickly....

  4. How much does a well regarded international coach fetch ($$) for his duties as a coach for a world cup cycle?

  5. I hate to say it, but perhaps there is a silver lining to this. It will be a great boost if we happen to pull it off against Japan with the gamble. (I don't think we will, but who knows) And this is the part that makes me feel horrible, but hopefully we get a decent Coach out of all of this. It is obvious that the current standard of play and direction of the team is far beneath what the talent on the team is capable of.

    1. Absolutely. The team is capable of so much more. Yet every second half, and I'm sure with Japan too, it falls apart. I just think Tolken misses the point, to treat the team like the win is the all important goal is great, but equally many first team players have been denied of playing against quality opposition and gain valuable experience, all in the hope of possibly, may be beating Japan. A big gamble.