Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Will The Eagles Play Two Tier I Teams This Summer?

The picture for the Eagles summer schedule is gaining more clarity. Word out of Canada yesterday was that the Canadians would be facing Japan, Russia, and Italy this summer. It's already been widely known that the U.S. will almost certainly play Italy but does this put Japan and Russia in play? From the digging we've been able to do it looks as if the U.S. will play Russia but not Japan in June. Japan already have two tests against Scotland on June 18th and June 25th in Japan and their fixture against Canada on June 11th in Vancouver almost certainly rules out a visit to the States. Russia is far more wide open. Their only confirmed match of the summer is against Canada in Calgary on June 18th.

With Canada playing Italy on June 25th and Russia and June 18th it only makes sense that the U.S. is going to play Italy on June 18th and then Russia on June 25th. That's unconfirmed but if past year's are any indication it seems highly likely. So who are the Eagles going to play on June 11th?

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Here are the teams that are not playing on June 11th right now: some of the Pacific Islands nations, France, and Scotland. Georgia is touring the Pacific Islands this year so it doesn't make a lot of sense for one of the Pacific Islands nations to travel all the way to the U.S. for one match. France and Scotland make more sense. Scotland could use the U.S. as a stop on their way to Japan for two matches while France could use the U.S. as a stop on their way to Argentina where they play the Pumas on June 18th and 25th. Both have openings and both would be great opponents for the Eagles.

There is the possibility that a Tier II nation from Europe could accompany Russia to North America but it seems unlikely. Traditionally the rise of certain tournaments in Europe like the Nations Cup and Tbilisi Cup (which won't happen this year but will probably see another nation host a similar tournament) keeps many of the teams occupied. Also, the U.S. is one of the few Tier II nations not to be playing a Tier I nation during the November test series. This could help make up for that. All in all, it looks like the Eagles could gain two Tier I opponents this summer, which would be huge. 

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