Wednesday, March 8, 2017

U.S. vs. Argentina XV: Eagles Player Grades

It was the draw that felt like a win. It's easy to forget that the Eagles actually drew with Argentina XV on Saturday rather than come away with the win but the fact that it was on the road against a very tough opponent and it gave them the ARC title it felt very much like a win. There was a lot to like about the victory and it is reflected in our player grades.

Ben Cima, 80 minutes (7): Cima was under a lot of pressure heading into the match moving to fullback and expecting to deal with Argentina's kicking game. He handled the test well. It wasn't perfect but he did help the Eagles stave off Argentine pressure and field position. Where he fits in on the pitch going forward is a question but he showed by his play he deserves to be more than in the conversation.

Mike Te'o, 80 minutes (6): We thought the move to wing was a good one. Te'o made several nice plays on the day but did also cost the team a try with his intentional knock down that earned a yellow card. There are still some questions whether it was intentional or not but either way it hurt.

Take the jump to read more.

Bryce Campbell, 80 minutes (6): With the Eagles using their forwards more to get out and run Campbell didn't have as many opportunities to break away as he did against other teams in the ARC but he still looks on track to make the summer team.

JP Eloff, 55 minutes (6): Eloff had a few nice moments but he also drifted in and out of the game at times. The ARC was a big opportunity for him to make the case for more time but at this point he probably hasn't done enough to earn minutes in the summer.

Nate Augspurger, 80 minutes (9): There were several strong candidates but for us Augspurger is our Man of the Match. As captain once again Augspurger led the way in all facets of the game. He thrived playing out of position on the wing and when the Eagles needed big play after big play it was Augspurger that stepped up and delivered.

Will Magie, 68 minutes (8): Will Magie has placed a firm imprint on the back-up flyhalf role. It will remain to be seen what happens when James Bird returns to health but so for Magie's savvy, especially in his kicking ability in open play, has given him an edge. He has such a smart head that the Eagles really benefit from him on the pitch. He makes good decisions. What really impressed us was his support of Augspurger's big run and his ability to handle the awkward offload.

Shaun Davies, 62 minutes (6.5): We thought it was another great match from Davies. The more time he gets with the Eagles the more comfortable he looks. He played the ball quickly at times when needed and he made a number of smart veteran plays that contributed to the draw.

Cam Dolan, 80 minutes (8): The now several years of professional experience for Dolan are paying huge dividends for the Eagles. He knows what to do in key situations and he makes it happen. He's also a leader off the pitch. It really is amazing that he doesn't get more time with Cardiff.

Tony Lamborn, 80 minutes (8): Having Lamborn available for all five matches has been huge for the Eagles. He brings so much experience to the team that is hard to replace. Like the rest of the back-row he was a monster at the breakdown against Argentina and was a candidate for Man of the Match.

John Quill, 66 minutes (8): John Quill has boosted his stock tremendously during the ARC. He gave another absolute masterclass at the breakdown with some very timely poaches. Going forward a lot of the Eagles success is going to depend on players like Quill.

Siaosi Mahoni, 25 minutes (6): Mahoni didn't get a lot of time on the pitch before having to come off with an injury. That was too bad as we thought he looked comfortable in the Eagles jersey for the first time.

Matt Jensen, 80  minutes (7): Jensen looked good on Saturday. It's hard to replace the production of Nate Brakeley and Nick Civetta but Jensen did his best. He goes hard every play which is a huge assett. Unfortunately for him he may get caught up in a numbers game going forward.

Chris Baumann, 58 minutes (7): Baumann was outstanding on the day. The Eagles scrum was always going to come under pressure against Argentina but overall it did well. That said, the one play we thought was Baumann's best on the day was when he ripped the ball from the Argentine player that led to Augspurger's run and Magie's try.

James Hilterbrand, 47 minutes (7): Another good outing from Hilterbrand who, like the rest of the front-row, did well in the scrum. He also did a lot of the veteran small things that helped the team get the draw.

Tony Purpura, 62 minutes (7): Of all the players on the roster Purpura may have gone from being very much on the outside looking in to becoming a piece of the squad moving forward. Purpura has been excellent not only in the scrum but in the open field as well.


David Tameilau, 55 minutes (8): Like a lot of players Tameilau could have been considered as Man of the Match. He was everywhere on Saturday as exemplified by his last try of the day that gave the Eagles the famous result. It's hard not to see Tameilau being a big player at the World Cup.

Peter Malcolm, 33 minutes (7): Another big shift from Malcolm as he looks to have firmly put himself in the picture to make the World Cup. It is a legitimate battle between him and James Hilterbrand at this point.

Calvin Whiting, 25 minutes (6): Whiting got more of an opportunity to make an impression but he didn't have a lot of chances to get out and run. He did make a few nice passes and generally fit in.

Ollie Kilifi, 22 minutes (6): We thought this was Kilifi's best outing yet in the ARC. He looked more comfortable and he made some good things happen.

Ben Tarr, 18 minutes (6): Another decent performance from Tarr. He was one of the reasons the U.S. were able to have success at the end of the match in getting the last try.

Spike Davis, 18 minutes (6): There wasn't a lot of time for Davis to have an impact. He had a couple of nice runs but he didn't see much of the ball as the match wore on.

Hanco Germishuys, 14 minutes (6): One of the things that Germishuys, and the other substitutes, brought to the team was energy. As the subs came on in the second half the Eagles picked up steam and Germishuys was one of those energy players even if he didn't see much of the ball.

Ryan Matyas, 12 minutes (6): A couple of good runs from Matyas as he came on, including one that helped set up a try.

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