Saturday, July 1, 2017

Eagles Thrash Canada, Qualify For 2019 World Cup

Photo: Connie Hatfield
The Eagles knew they probably had an advantage heading into their Rugby World Cup qualifier finale against Canada but it was all about the execution. In the end everything went according to plan as the U.S. ran out 52-16 winners and achieved qualification for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Big flurries in the first and second half did the job leaving little doubt about the outcome with a quarter of the match to play.

Qualifying for the World Cup two years out from the tournament is big for the Eagles and for U.S.A. Rugby. Now they can begin preparations for Japan both on the field and financially. Crucially it gives who ever is their new head coach an opportunity to know they won't have to compete against Uruguay in what should be a tough series. The U.S. also now have plenty of momentum heading into what should be a big fall.

The first big win over the match came before kickoff. Last week both Taylor Paris and DTH van der Merwe were at the heart of everything Canada did but both players were ruled out at the last minute with injuries. Canada didn't really have an answer for the holes they left. On the flip side the return to health of Joe Tauete'e and Tony Lamborn proved to be a huge plus for the Eagles.

Take the jump to read more.
The first twenty minutes of the match went as close to perfect for the Eagles as they could have. Riding the large home crowd. The U.S. dominated possession early and they camped down in the Canada end for most of the first ten minutes. However, credit to Canada as their defense initially held firm. That broke just short of the ten minute mark. AJ MacGinty made a first initial move before throwing a looping pass out to Ryan Matyas. He then put back into side to feed Bryce Campbell who fed Cam Dolan for the score. Soon after it was Dolan in again to put the Eagles up 12-0 and rolling.

Canada did manage to grab a penalty to cut into the deficit but it was soon neutralized by another Eagles try. Once again it was Dolan at the center of the action as he found a gap in the defense before passing to Nate Brakeley for the try. McRorie would add another penalty to make it 19-6.

It didn't all go smoothly for the Eagles to end the half. Canada were able to apply some pressure deep in the Eagles end using their maul. The pressure was too much and it resulted in Tony Lamborn being sent to the bin and McRorie adding a penalty to end the half.

Canada got off to a perfect start in the second half as Admir Cejvanovic scored just a minute in. The conversion cut it to 19-16 and Canada seemed in business. However, it only stood up a little more than 10 minutes. The second half substitutions of the likes of David Tameilau and Taufete'e began to have immediate dividends as the Eagles got back on attack.

The first domino in fall in the second half for the Eagles came courtesy of the TMO. Canada had won the ball back but a TMO review said that a Canadian player had made a dangerous tackle. From that the Eagles went to the lineout in the corner and from the maul Joe Taufete'e went in to score. Just minutes later Taufete'e added another try on another maul and the Eagles held a 33-16 lead.

That second try from Taufete'e opened the floodgates as the Eagles dominated the rest of the half. After the game Canada head coach Mark Anscombe said that the Canadians had no answer to the likes of Durutalo, Taufete'e, and Tameilau who simply used their power to put Canada on their heels. To close out the match the U.S. picked up another forwards try, this time through Dino Waldren. Nate Augspurger was able to pick up another easy try and David Tameilau had the last try. It's difficult to underscore just how dominant the Eagles were in the second half.

With qualification now under their belts the Eagles can look forward to two years of planning and preparation under a new coach.


Tries: Dolan (2), Brakeley, Taufete'e (2), Waldren, Augspurger, Tameilau
Conversions: MacGinty (5), Magie


Tries: Cejvanovic
Conversions: McRorie
Penalties: McRorie (3)


  1. That was a professionally played game today. Best game I ever saw Teo play. The forwards, except for the scrum, were outstanding, and look forward to continued improvement. Dreaming of a forward pack of Lamositele, Taufete'e, someone to step up at prop, Peterson, Civetta, Mahoni, Lamborn, Tameilau, Dolan, Durutalo playing forwards. All professionals, and some younger guys developing. Two years to get more players some pro contracts, or hopefully a year in the Pro12 before the next World Cup. Great job Eagles.