Sunday, February 12, 2017

Recap: Eagles Thrash Brazil

By Derek Sagehorn

The Eagles defeated Brazil Saturday 51-3 at Dell Diamond Stadium in Texas for their second consecutive win of the Americas Rugby Championship. Despite starting a mixed-side of experience, the United States looked completely different from their 2016 shock loss to the then 36th-ranked side in the world. The Eagles played with width, confidence and fitness. All these were necessary for the eight tries the hosts scored en route to securing a bonus point ahead of their match with Canada next week

Spike Davis, debutante on the wing, opened the scoring after a stolen lineout was moved quickly across the field. Bryce Campbell drew his defender and put Davis into the corner. The big Ohio wing would have several other nice touches, drawing several defenders in contact. Will Magie added to the score several minutes late with a penalty kick, but the flyhalf otherwise struggled from the tee. He was the victim of dangerous tackle several minutes later from Nicholas Smith. The Brazilian captain was yellow carded but the Eagles failed to exploit several possessions within the 22 meter area to score. The hosts looked comfortable moving the ball across the field to utilize their width but lacked the change of pace necessary to break Brazil’s drift defense.

Take the jump to read more.

JP Eloff injected some of that requisite pace several minutes after Smith’s return from the sin bin. The center took a ball from the first receiver 35 meters out, showed half-a-dummy and burst through a gap for a long-range try. After several maul attempts on Brazil’s five meter that fizzled out, the United States got rolling. The maul was stopped just short of the line but Tony Lamborn dove over to extend the lead to 18-3 Eagles at half. The openside was a reliable ball carrier for the Eagles all game, a shining example of hard work off the ball to create space.

After the American scrum was humiliated last year by Brazil, there was some apprehension of starting two young props in Ben Tarr and Dino Waldren. Absent a few questionable officiating decisions, the pair played well and held their own against Wilton Rebolo. Nonetheless coach John Mitchell brought the older Chris Baumann and Anthony Purpura on at half. These two not only comfortably won their own ball but also twisted the screws on Rebolo and his replacement: pushing them back, turning the scrum, earning penalties.

Cam Dolan added pace and energy as a 2nd half replacement. The Cardiff Blues lock was all over the field and bagged a try off the maul at 59th minute. Several minutes later, Eloff clamped down on Brazil’s best chance to score a try by flying back to cover the in-goal. The Eagles turned the ensuing scrum over and relieved the pressure of the coffin corner. From that point, the Eagles put Brazil to the sword with superior fitness and a new-found confidence.

Nate Augspurger quick-tapped on his own ten meter, darted through an off-sides forward pack and turned a fullback’s hips no less than three times before dishing to a galloping Mike Te’o for a try. Minutes later Bryce Campbell stepped across a Brazilian movement and collected an intercept try. The center distributed well in addition to tough-nosed defense. Despite having only three caps, he has developed chemistry with the team and comfort in the number 13 shirt. Replacement Peter Tiberio added the final try by reading a fast defensive line perfectly with a short unders line. The final score brought to 51-3. The stink of last year’s loss is eradicated with this effort. But the Eagles will need to climb higher for next week’s match against Canada.


  1. When and where will highlights be available?

    1. This is one of the biggest issues: USA rugby (or TRC, though its one and the same), are so Micky Mouse when it comes to this type of thing. I am in Oz at the moment and can't even watch the highlights because they are geo-locked.
      I think its time that everyone admit that TRC isnt working and we move on. This is only limiting the number of people who are watching and it is bad for us trying to grow.

    2. I concur. Instead of trying to broaden the base, and showcase US rugby to as many people as possible, the powers that be seem to be more interested in bleeding as much as they can out of those who already know and care about it. Would it break the bank to put up a few youtube highlights? Even the main USARugby website is too often lacking in up-to-date match info, and when they do put something out, it often looks so poorly written and lacking in any match detail, it's as though they assigned some random intern to cover it. You have to seek out sites like this one, or Goss, to find any info on the national team they're supposed to be supporting. Don't even get me started on their pissing contest with PRO Rugby that's probably killed any chance of a professional league in North America.

    3. There's an announcement regarding the formation of Major League Rugby that is imminent. So, professional Rugby or at least something geared towards it isn't dead yet.

    4. The website / Facebook pages are so lacking in detail that it is hard to believe this is a professionally run / well funded enterprise. The NRFL has proven to be all bluster, Pro Rugby was run by a person with no understanding of the game, and now another a anonymous enterprise scant on even the most basic details. Count me as highly suspicious.

  2. I'll say this about PRO, they streamed pretty much all the games and had them available on YouTube straight away. I would show it to friends around the world and they would watch. It wasn't perfect, but it was accessible

  3. This may have been the breakthrough game for the Eagles under John Mitchell. There is actual depth building in the squad and some real competition for places, which can only help the players improve. The Awesome: Tony Lamborn- I think he has the #7 jersey sewn up for the next few years. The Good: The forwards played their hearts out, the fitness was there, the team had so much ball to play with. The Bad- The back play in the first half. With all of the ball they had, the backs looked like a bucket brigade.....each player catching the ball standing still and passing it laterally to the next guy, everything going sideways. It improved in the second half. The Ugly- The kicking game again. If Magie kicks like that again he'll find himself in Siberia along with James Bird and Will Holder, never to be seen again. The Improved- Some decision making under pressure. On the first try Brakeley held the ball a second, let the defenders commit, then made a nice pass to finish off. Shaun Davies made a nice flip pass on the run to Lamborn for another try. Summary- Davies gives them quicker ball, plays smart. Augspurger can learn from him but he did play well as a wing mostly. If he can continue then Mitchell can have a 6-2 split in the reserves, Augspurger can fill both scrumhalf and wing, with 2 playmaking centers also gives versatility. Eloff and McGinty look like the 10/12 pairing. It could be a genuine intimidating pack if you put Manoa at 6, an in shape Tameilau at #8 and have Langilangi as a sub. Clever is much better as an impact sub.