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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tier I November Opponent Unlikely For Eagles

There seems to have been a bit of a shift this year in terms of Tier I nations hosting Tier II nations during the November test window. Georgia is going to play Scotland, Canada are going to play Ireland, Japan will face Wales, and the Pacific Island teams will once again have a shot at Tier I nations. Unfortunately for the Eagles, it doesn't look like they'll be getting the same chance this year.

Tier I nations hosting Tier II nations isn't new but with Japan playing so well at the World Cup there is interest in shaking things up a bit. Despite going 0-4 at the World Cup the U.S. are still an attractive option given our population and market potential. That caused some teams to sniff around but ultimately there wasn't room on the calendar.

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It's still possible that the U.S. takes on a visiting team on their way to Europe but it's highly unlikely. South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand are all engaged. New Zealand is even playing Ireland in Chicago. Argentina is a possibility, however, as is taking on a side like the Maori All Blacks as a warm-up to the Ireland-New Zealand match.

More likely is that the Eagles once again head to Europe. Neither Tonga, Japan, nor Fiji look to have an opponent locked down the first major week of the internationals. The same for Romania and Russia. The next week Samoa and Tonga are available. The week after that it's Romania, Samoa, and Fiji.

All that said, it's still very much up in the air as to who the Eagles could play. In comparison to a country like Canada or Japan that have played the RFU Championship XV, Namibia, the French Barbarians in recent years it could be the Eagles turn to play a non-cap match before taking on usual November opponents Romania and Georgia. They could also be the team to head to the Iberian peninsula to play Portugal and Spain.

No matter who they play it likely won't be a Tier I opponent, which for what should be a developing side isn't the worst thing. 


  1. Ireland is in Chicago to play New Zealand.
    Can they play the Eagles while in the neighborhood?

  2. You have to earn those shots at Tier I teams and unfortunately we haven't done so lately.