Saturday, June 18, 2016

Match Commentary: Italy vs. Eagles

Today's Eagles coverage is brought to you by Canterbury USA


Today's match from Avaya Stadium in San Jose can be seen on The Rugby Channel. A preview of the match can be found here.

U.S. Line-up

Forwards: Titi Lamositele, James Hilterbrand, Chris Baumann, Nate Brakeley, Greg Peterson, Andrew Durutalo, Todd Clever, Cam Dolan; Backs: Nate Augspurger, AJ MacGinty, Blaine Scully, Shalom Suniula, Thretton Palamo, Taku Ngwenya, Will Holder; Bench: Joe Taufete'e, Ben Tarr, Angus MacLellan, Steve Tomasin, Harry Higgins, Tony Lamborn, Chad London, Mike Te'o

Italy Line-up

Forwards: Andrea Lovotti, Ornel Gega, Lorenzo Cittadini, Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Fuser, Robert Barbieri, Simone Favaro, Andries Van Schalkwyk; Backs: Edoardo Gori, Carlo Canna, David Odiete, Tommaso Castello, Michele Campagnaro, Leonardo Sarto, Luke McLean; Bench: Oliviero Fabiani, Sami Panico, Pietro Ceccarelli, Valerio Bernabo, Maxime Mbanda, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Allan, Giovanbattista Venditti

Take the jump to read more.

Pre-game: We need to say off the top that we're grateful to our partners Canterbury USA for making our coverage possible. To support us please support them!
Pre-game: Todd Clever will get his 67th cap tonight, tying Mike MacDonald for the all-time record.
Pre-game: The crowd is still filling in here at Avaya Stadium. There is a Copa America match just around the corner tonight which has taken some of the attention from local fans.
Pre-game: Anthems underway. The women doing the Italian anthem nailed it.
1: And we're off! This will be the Eagles first big test under Mitchell but they have the weapons to pull off the upset.
1: A kicking battle to start the match and the Eagles come away with better territory.
2: U.S. attack is bright early but a missed pass kills the momentum. That is the type of small stuff that will be the difference tonight.
4: A huge collision between Taku Ngwenya and Leonardo Sarto. Both are out cold.  Sarto looks to be the better off of the two but not by much. Both have moved under their own power but neither will continue. Giovanbattista Vendetti is on for Sarto. Te'o on for Ngwenya.
5: U.S. penalized at the scrum. Italy are going for the lineout rather than a shot at goal. U.S. steals the ball in the maul but then Clever throws it away. We'll do it again.
8: Italy threatening a couple of times but it's stopped with yet another forward pass. Not much rhythm to the match so far.
10: Italy kick the ball too far and MacGinty smartly lets it go out. Scrum to the Eagles. They've been so-so so far in that department.
11: Italy called for an illegal bind. MacGinty will have a long shot at goal. Good call. The kick is up and good! Eagles 3-0 Italy with 11 minutes played. They are going to need to repeat that all night.
15: U.S. called for tackling a player without the ball. Italy now with a shot. Carlo Canna's kick is good. 3-3.
18: More kicking back and forth. Unless past year, the U.S. is holding their own at the moment.
20: U.S. get a penalty but MacGinty shanks his kick. Once again, it's the small things. Will Holder with a break off an Italy kick. He couldn't make the final pass but the U.S. are pressing. TMO checking if there was a deliberate knock-on. Either way, the U.S. will get a penalty.
20: Carlo Canna given a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on. A penalty try is awarded! That was interesting. MacGinty hits the conversion at the Eagles have a 10-3 lead.
23: Greg Peterson getting attention on the sidelines for an injury. Tony Lamborn on.
25: U.S. defense is digging in but Italy have a lot of possession. Another Italian forward pass.
27: Italy win a penalty on a U.S. scrum and then there are some handbags afterward. Nice to see the new guy Tony Lamborn jumping in .
29: Italy gain a penalty on the maul and they'll go the lineout once again.
30: Try Italy! Ornel Gega sees the gap on the outside from the maul and takes it for the score. McLean's conversion is no good. U.S. 10-8 Italy. Good response from Italy being down a man.
34: A good attacking opportunity for the Eagles goes missing as Chris Baumann gets isolated. Italy back to full strength.
35: U.S. getting the benefit of the call for once tonight. What looked like a high tackle is instead a knock-on on Italy.
39: U.S. called for offside. Canna has another shot at goal and another one is good.
Halftime: That's halftime. A good half from the Eagles. Could have had the lead going into the break. They'll need to find more tries.
41: Second half back underway!
41: U.S. sloppy in the lineout Italy are going for the corner again after a penalty.
43: Drop goal Italy! Canna with the easy chip. The U.S. at least did well to prevent a try. 14-10.
45: U.S. is losing the kicking battle right now. It feels like if Italy get a try here more will pour in.
49: MacGinty finds a hole in the Italian defense and the U.S. are out attacking. Holder very active at the moment. Italy penalized. The Eagles will take the easy points. It's good. U.S. 13-14 Italy.
52: Italy with what should have been a try but they can't handle it at the end. 22 meter drop coming up. After review a 5 meter scrum to Italy. Taufete'e on for Hilterbrand.
55: U.S. penalized in the scrum. Italy will take the lineout and there is another penalty. Cam Dolan shown yellow for endangering a player in the lineout. They anticipated the maul too early.
55: Gega is over for Italy again! That one was coming and now the Eagles will have to dig themselves out of a hole. The conversion from Canna is good. 21-13 to Italy.
60: As we said in the pre-game, the U.S. need to get multiple tries. Outside of the penalty try they haven't threatened much.
62: Another penalty on the U.S. scrum. Italy are smelling blood.
64: A big win at the breakdown for the Eagles as Italy were within the 22. They still need to find a way to put points on the board. Dolan back in.
67: U.S. win the turnover and they are quickly away. Scrum to the U.S. in a good spot. Tarr on for Baumann. Lamborn with the good win there. Nice work from MacGinty and Palamo on that sequence as well.
68: Try Eagles!!! Lamborn scores on debut. MacGinty slipped through a couple of tackles, to Te'o, to Lamborn. MacGinty's conversion is good. Eagles 20-21 Italy. The U.S. are within one with ten minutes left.
72: Another big win at the breakdown for the Eagles. MacGinty doing more hard work.
73: And they lose the lineout. Big opportunity missed there. Scrum to Italy.
75: Augspurger charges down the kick but in the end it's a penalty on the U.S. for not rolling away. That was close.
76: Angus MacLellan on for Titi Lamosite. At the same time the Eagles teal the lineout. But they are stopped in the maul.
79: Italy going through phases hoping to earn a penalty and wind down the clock. And they get one as the U.S. go off their feet. Italy will have a shot at goal. Canna is on with the kick. Italy 24-20 Eagles. Not much time left.
Final: In fact no time left as the ref blows the whistle. Tough loss for the Eagles. Could have had the win.

Final: Italy 24-20 U.S.

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  1. 3 things.
    #1 - US is playing closer to Italy than I thought maybe they could have.
    #2 - Any word on Taku's condition?
    #3 - Glad to see calls going our way for a change, but they need to take advantage of it. Didn't score a single try all half except off an Italian penalty. Too many little mistakes.

  2. Despite being down for awhile, taku walked off under his own power so have to hope he is roughly ok.

    Saw too many matches last year where we played tight to the half. Big question, and change, will be if we can play tight to the finish.

  3. I'm really pissed that USA Rugby went from ESPN to the Rugby Channel. The webcast either buffered and/or no video, especially the last 3 minutes. Although the IOS app worked, there is no cast functionality. If they correct this before the match with Russia, give it back to ESPN. I'll still keep my Rugby Channel subscription for the overseas matches.

  4. Eagles didn't collapse in the final 20 minutes! In fact, they could have had that game. Noticeable improvement of small amounts in the team. Too many little mistakes.

    1. It looks like the fitness standards Mitchell has implemented are working. We still need to work on fitness, but much improved from what we saw at the World Cup. It helps having 21 of your 23 players playing professionally.

    2. I think we are seeing how important a game last week might have been here. Shake the dust off with that one, work out the kinks, and the boys might have won this one. This was always going to be a tough get for them, but it was at least within the realm of doable.

  5. The rugby channel gets a big thumbs down from me. Intermittent issues the whole game then no video the last 3 minutes.

    1. The more I read about them, the more I am glad I did not waste my money.

  6. The Rugby Channel is a total joke. Apple TV/Laptop both run WatchESPN just fine but will do nothing but buffer and error with TRC every few minutes. It's unacceptable that we can watch U-20 matches on the other side of the world at ESPN's quality but cannot get the same service for eagles games. Also, had a buddy who isn't a rugby guy look up the eagles game after hearing me mention it and planned to watch it this evening. Once he realized it was going to cost him $5 to watch he bailed...missed opportunity for rugby to earn a fan in the USA---way to go USA rugby. The eagles should be free content, the club playoffs and college playoffs should be the premium content if you ask me, no random people are going to stop to watch a random d2 final but will go to check out the US national team. This whole situation couldn't be any more Nigel Melville'd. Already cancelled my membership...lasted about 6 hours. Apologize for the rant.

    1. Don't sugar coat it son. Tell us how ya really feel!

    2. That is why I refuse to subscribe to the TRC. It is doing more harm than good for USA rugby.

  7. My app buffered as well, but Roku did not. That worked well until the horribly timed 77 minute mark...but I still had audio, to hear it fall by the wayside.