Saturday, June 25, 2016

U.S.A. vs. Russia Match Commentary

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


Today's match from Bonney Field in Sacramento 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, James King, Nate Brakeley, Tony Lamborn, Todd Clever, Cam Dolan; Backs: Nate Augspurger, AJ MacGinty, Blaine Scully, Shalom Suniula, Thretton Palamo, Mike Te'o, Will Holder; Bench: Joe Taufete'e, Ben Tarr, Angus MacLellan, Harry Higgins, Langilangi Haupeakui, Steve Tomasin, Chad London, Luke Hume

Russia Line-up

Forwards: Alexey Volkov, Evgeny Matveev, Evgeny Pronenko, Andrei Garbuzov, Denis Antonov, Viktor Gresev, Pavel Butenko, Anton Rudoi; Backs: Rushan Iagudin, Yury Kushnarev, Vasily Artemyev, Dmitry Gerasimov, Kirill Golosnitskiy, Denis Simplikevich, Ramil Gaisin; Bench: Nazir Gasanov, Azamat Bitiev, Vladimir Rodrezov, Evgeny Elgin, Danila Chegodaev, Alexey Shcherban, Evgeny Kolomitsev, Anton Ryabov

Take the jump to read more.

Pre-game: It is HOT here is Sacramento. You have to wonder how the Russians are going to adjust to the heat.
Pre-game: For many of the Enisei players (and AJ MacGinty for that matter) have to have an unofficial record for playing in the coldest and the hottest game in the same year.
Pre-game: Just announced that there will be a TMO tonight.
Pre-game: Anthems done. Time for some last minute predictions. We have the U.S. winning by three tries. What say you?
1: We're underway and the kick goes out. Scrum to the Eagles.
2: A couple of good surges from the Eagles early. They thought they had an advantage but Russia clears on the knock on.
4: Russia with some possession but they are called for obstruction. Another good chance coming for the Eagles on the lineout.
9: Not a lot of rhythm to this match so far. Lots of lineouts and a few penalties all at midfield. Just as we say that the Eagles get something going with their backs. Russia called for offside. MacGinty brings out the tee. MacGinty is good on the kick. Eagles 3-0 Russia with 10 minutes gone.
13: Another penalty on Russia for offside. MacGinty will have another shot at goal. The kick fro straight on is good. 6-0 to the Eagles.
16: Some slick passing sees Te'o break free and then offloads to Augspurger but it's knocked on. U.S. coaching staff not super pleased so far.
17: Cam Dolan with a nice charge down as Russia try to clear and it leads to a lineout for the Eagles. Great pressure.
18: U.S. maul their way forward and it looked like Hilterbrand had a try but he wasn't able to dot down and Russia clear.
20: Clever called for pulling down the jump. Russia choose the lineout over easy points. Interesting. U.S. penalty count too high. Water break.
20: Russia try to maul their way to a try but the U.S. stop them and get the put in at the scrum. Eagles win a penalty at the scrum. They need a lot of that today.
26: Back and forth at the moment. The Eagles with better field position but the little things, a pass or kick are letting them down. Holder tries to recover his own kick ahead but can't get it at the final moment! So close. Penalty on Russia again. MacGinty's easy kick is good. 4/4. 12-0 to the Eagles.
27: MacGinty's kick is good. He's 3/3 and the Eagles lead 9-0.
30: Passing is letting the Eagles down at the moment. They've had several opportunities stopped by mindless passes.
34: U.S. run through some phases on penalty advantage but the ref will go back the infraction. He's now having a word with the vistors.
38: U.S. penalized on the scrum. That's a bailout for Russia. Small things are killing the Eagles once again. They also need a try.
40: Russia penalized to end the half. The U.S. will have a shot. The kick is up and good. Eagles lead 15-0 at halftime. MacGinty with all their points.
Halftime: Not the best 40 minutes from the Eagles. Too many penalties and small errors. Too timid at times. Letting Russia hang around isn't a good idea. At some point they also have to show they can score tries.
40: Second half underway!
43: Dolan with a break, offload to Suniula, to Scully who's caught. Eagles applying the pressure now. Russia with another offside penalty. Some Eagles want to go quick but they'll have a shot. Another easy kick is good. 6/6. 18-0.
48: Luke Hume is on the pitch for Holder. Of course he's involved as the Eagles try to go quickly through phases.  The Russian lock (#4) is shown yellow for repeat infractions. Eagles going for the scrum.
49: Russia are making a number of changes just as the temperatures start to cool. Important spell coming up.
50: Chad London and Joe Taufete'e on for Palamo and Hilterbrand.
52: Not much urgency from the Eagles while they have a man advantage. They will have a lineout at the 22.
54: Another missed chance for the Eagles as yet another pass is sloppy. This is not the way they want to go into a break until the fall.
57: Russia overthrown the lineout and Augspurer pounces. Nice offload from MacGinty to Clever, but then it's spilled a couple of phases later. That describes the day.
58: Scully bounces off the defense and has a shout for a try. The TMO reviews it and it's held up. That's 3 tries they should have had. In fairness, that was a great tackle from the Russian defender.
60: Angus MacLelland is in for Titi Lamositele. Langilangi Haupeakui is on for Tony Lamborn who is cramping up.
61: TMO is checking for foul play. Nothing in it they say. Russia have been back to full strength for several minutes. Langilangi puts his stamp on this match with an absolutely crushing tackle.
63: Russia with some pressure but the U.S. win a turnover at the breakdown and are able to clear.
64: Mikey Te'o try! Finally they grab one! Great passing from MacGinty to set that one up. MacGinty started with his patented dummy to draw in the defense and then offloaded to Te'o who shrugged off the defense. Conv. good. 25-0.
67: Tarr on for Baumann. Tomasin on for Augspurger.
69: U.S. defense stops Russia at the line. If they keep a clean sheet that's two this year. Can't remember when that's happened.
72: Langilangi called for holding on. Russia are going for the lineout but it's shanked. Higgins on for King.
75: Five minutes left in the match and the Eagles will have a lineout in a great attacking position. And it's cleared. Not a lot of energy left in this one as both teams suffered hard from the heat.
80: There is the hooter. THe U.S. keep going with MacGinty on the break. Clever then runs past a couple a defenders. Langilangi tossing it up with the Russians. Great impact from him today.
Final: Harlem Globetrotters stuff from the Eagles but in the end Russia kick it out to end the match. Final: Eagles 25-0 Russia.

Thanks for following along!


  1. We are playing the pattern well but the overall execution is killing us. It seems that the aimless box kick we saw under Tolkin has returned.We should have at least 2 tries in the board. If we don't put 2-3 tries on in the second half, it cannot be a successful match.

    1. That wasn't a successful match at all. What a regression from last week. We should have put 4 more tries on the board. However, this is just the beginning of a new WC cycle. Augspurger has to go. He is like molasses with the ball. Was Shaun Davies just horrendous in camp? Really? I would take a slightly less fit Davies over super fit but super slow distributor Augspurger.

    2. Molasses? He picks and chooses when to go fast. There were multiple times when he went quick. And is doing well finding runners. It's only his 2nd test match and yikes what I see. Does he have to clean up some of those box kicks, absolutely. But he has put in two decent showings. I will agree that I do want to see Davies, he has been killing it for Ohio.

    3. Giving away a free kick at a scrum for not feeding the ball is abysmal. He seems to tick the boxes except for distributing and kicking. Which are actually quite necessary.

  2. Not a lot to like today, even though the US won. The decision making is slow while in open play, and at the breakdown Augspurger is like a robot. He doesn't produce quick ball at all, a couple of times the ball came out and he wasn't even looking, more worried about setting up the other robots. They need Bliss to get some time with McGinty. Palamo looked like his heart wasn't in tackling. The forwards worked hard but weren't rewarded. Same old thing when the ball was spun, no execution on the passing.

    1. Palamo fell off tackles like it was going out of style! It was atrocious defense. He has seemed to reach his potential as a rugby player and it's an average international player at best. We definitely need to sort the #9 jersey. Her Bliss, Hughes, and Davies some have time. I hope that happens post Rio.