Saturday, November 12, 2016

Match Commentary: Eagles vs. Romania

Our coverage of the the Eagles November is brought to you by Canterbury


The match will be shown live on The Rugby Channel. Before it starts get caught up with our preview and analysis.

USA Line-up

Forwards: Titi Lamositele, Joe Taufete'e, Chris Baumann, Nate Brakeley, Nick Civetta, Al McFarland, Todd Clever (C), Andrew Durutalo; Backs: Nate Augspurger, Will Holder, Martin Iosefo, Bryce Campbell, Thretton Palamo, Blaine Scully, Madison Hughes; Bench: James Hilterbrand, Eric Fry, Dino Waldren, Samu Manoa, Langilangi Haupeakui, Steve Tomasin, JP Eloff, Matai Leuta

Romania Line-up

Forwards: Mihai Lazar, Eugen Capatana, Alex Tarus, Johan van Heerden, Marius Antonescu, Vasile Rus, Viorel Lucaci, Stelian Burcea (C); Backs: Florin Surugiu, Jody Rose, Ionut Dumitru, Florin Vlaicu, Jack Umaga, Fonovai Tangimana, Catalin Fercu; Bench: Andrei Radoi, Ionel Badiu, Alex Gordas, Valentin Poparfan, Andrei Gorcioaia, Valentin Calafeteanu, Florin Popa, Stephen Shennan

Take the jump to read more.

Pre-game: This match count in the World Rugby standings so it's vital the Eagles come away with a result. Whoever has the higher ranking between the U.S. and Canada at the end of the month will host the second leg of their qualifying series.
Pre-game: Anthems up. This match is called the Pershing Cup in honor U.S. general John Pershing.
1: And we're off!
1: Eagles bobble the restart, it leads to them being pushed into touch. Romania try their maul off the line out.
2: Penalty on Nate Brakeley for side entry. Romania will kick for points. Florin Vlaicu's kick is no good. Eagles catch a break.
4: Eagles with their first spell of possession and they are held up.  First scrum and it's a penalty on the Eagles.
7: Try Romania! They use their maul to push the Eagles back (great kick from the scrum penalty) and Johan van Heerden crashes over.Vlaicu's conversion is conversion. 7-0.
10: Try Romania! A fantastic kick over the top from Florin Surugiu sees Catalin Fercu score. Dreadful start for the Eagles. The conversion is off. 12-0 with 11 minutes played. Romania have capitalized on Eagles penalties.
15: After a few restarts Romania get the penalty on the scrum again. Romania will have a shot from nearly halfway. Vlaicu is on. 15-0 to Romania.
17: Through nearly a quarter of the match the Eagles have only their second real spell of possession. It's knocked on.
21: Eagles scrum finally holds and they are on their front foot. Augspurger is pushing the pace.
23: The last few minutes have been much better for the Eagles. They've earned an attacking line out. And it's lost with another knock-on. Maybe as part of the forwards scrum camps they can teach handling.
27: A bit of afters as Holder is pushed into the boards in touch. Nothing in it.
28: Romania with a spell of possession but they to knock it on.
30: Romania with a good chance after U.S. throw possession away but Romania can't convert and the Eagles clear to the 22.
32: Romania with a 5m line out but it's not straight. Eagles clear but it's not far.
33: Romania fling the ball out wide and they have a shout for a try. Could have been put into touch.  They give the try. In fairness it did look like Blaine Scully pulled him into touch before the ball was down.  Viorel Lucaci with the try. Conversion is off. 20-0.  Lots of danger for the Eagles right now. Probably as bad of a half as they could have had.
36: Holder tries the chip but no one is home. It does pin Romania in deep.
That's halftime. Not many, if any, positives for the Eagles in that half. They can turn it around but changes are needed.
40: Second half underway!
42: Eagles with a solid set of passing until Clever can't handle the offload pass. He's now getting medical attention.
44: U.S. now putting more pressure on Romania. They get a 5 meter line out. Also, Samu Manoa is in. U.S. shout for a try but it's held up.
47: Eagles try to go out wide. Doesn't work but it goes back for penalty advantage.
50: Augspurger has done well to go quick after penalties and get his team some chances.
51: Will Holder try!! After a long spell of possession they finally get something going. Well taken gap by Holder. Holder's conversion is good. 20-7 the U.S. are back in business.
54: Langilangi is on for Clever.
55: U.S. playing much better at the moment. Another score could be on the cards soon.
56: Yellow card on Eugen Capatana. That one was a long time coming. Ugh, horrible kick from the penalty that goes out the try zone.
61: Romania has done well to take time off the clock and be dangerous with a man in the bin. Eagles need to generate something.
64: Manoa and Durutalo crash for the line. It's held up.
66: The ball spits Romania's way out of the ruck and they clear. U.S. still have it but it's a turnover. Big, big chance goes missing for the Eagles. They needed a score their badly.
67: Hilterbrand on for Taufete'e.
68: Al McFarland creates a penalty. Some confusion but the U.S. are going for a shot. Holder's kick is good. 20-10.
71: The Romanians show their strength and pull Thretton Palamo into touch. Eric Fry is on for Titi Lamositele.
72: Eagles look like they are going to catch a break but the assistant calls Al McFarland for a late shoulder charge. Romania will have a shot.
73: Vlaicu's kick is good. 23-10 with seven minutes to go.
75: U.S. pushing hard again. It's a knock on although the medical trainers might have added to the confusion.
78: Just a few minutes left. Romania doing their best to slow it down. Eagles need a score quickly.
Apparently that's full time. Weird the referee didn't know the time. A poor first half dooms the Eagles. Romania was the match the Eagles were most likely to win. They will be massively disappointed by their effort. Recap to come.

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  1. Just absolutely poor execution. Too many handling errors, poor exit strategy, poor tackling, and just no creativity on offense. It is painfully obvious that Holder is not an international quality #10. We are desperately missing MacGinty.

  2. Game been over for 2 minutes.....instant reaction.
    THE GOOD-1. Eagles played hard for 80 minutes,maybe fitness is improving. 2. The backs looked dangerous when they had the ball and had space.
    THE BAD- 1. Another slow start. Misplaying the opening kickoff put them deep in their own territory, set the tone for the 1st half. 2. Still have some aimless kicking. 3. Could not convert the 10 minute man advantage to points, even when knocking on the door. 4. Way too many times the Eagles run high into tackles, easily get help up and lose possession.
    THE PATHETIC- 1. Holder's kick after the sin bin penalty, took all the momentum away from the Eagles and killed them. 2. The refereeing, absolutely pathetic in the second half. 8-10 penalties on Romania inside their own 25, at least 5 were obvious cynical penalties, no yellow cards. 3. The knock on call on the Eagles on their overlap when Romania's staff was tending to an injured player. May have been a try to the Eagles, at the very least restart with Eagles ball.

  3. Instant angry reaction. I hope there is some legit reason Manoa, Dolan, Brache and Langi were not starting. And if I hear development of other players I'm going to be beyond pissed. November and June tests aren't for development, they're for winning. Particularly when world rugby rankings are on the line, which will affect whether we get a home match against Canada in World Cup qualify. And if anyone things qualifying for the World Cup is a given for this team, you're drunk.

  4. Brakely, an amateur player, missing the opening kick was brutal, and they have Manoa on the sideline, who plays at the highest level on one of the best teams. There was no physicality in the first half, but their two most physical forwards are on the bench watching the game. And Holder missing kicking that penalty through the end line after the sin bin penalty was absolutely pathetic. You don't even see that in college rugby, and this was an international test match. So frustrating to watch.

  5. I don't think the selection was terrible, as the US was clearly in position to put points on the board multiple times. It was a failure to execute. Madison Hughes is showing his class. I would like to see him at #9 though. Augspurger is too slow with the ball from the base of the ruck.

    Our best front row combo was the group that started today. They stood up well to the Romanian scrum. However, our front row subs got crushed in their first scrum together. We really have no depth behind Lamositele, Taufete'e, and Baumann. The backs have loads of potential but we need MacGinty. Wish Cima were on tour, he needs the game time. He is a good player and needs the opportunity to place at the senior level. I hope to see him in the ARC. Discouraging start to the match. We beat ourselves with too many silly errors.

    1. Failure to execute is right, and high level professionals are more likely to execute properly. Such as Top 14 Manoa, Ngwenya, Super Rugby Brache, Lamborn and Pro12 Dolan, Langi. All 6 should have been in the starting lineup. Augsburger and Holder may one day be a viable halfback pairing but neither has been consistently playing scrum half/flyhalf in 15s for the past year so I'm not sure what Mitchell is expecting from them right now. When selections clearly show that winning now isn't a priority, what effect does that have on the players?

    2. Well, that we don't know since we are not in the meeting rooms. We don't know exactly what the message to the team is or what the exact plan for this year may be. Frankly, Mitchell's comments that he is trying to develop and unearth talent in an attempt to have a viable 45 player Eagle pool by 2017 likely means that this year isn't so much about results as it is about finding players and seeing which players can execute. Which means you need to play the new guys so they can develop. You know what all of the professionals offer, so nothing to find out there. I think we need to give Mitchell a chance to find players and develop them. If we are still achieving results like this in November 2018, we will have a problem.

    3. Not too mention that Romania were over 2 full point ahead of us in the rankings prior to this match. Their only loss this year was to Georgia. They even beat the Argentina XV, who we only drew against. I'm not sure why we were expecting a win.