Saturday, February 3, 2018

Recap: Eagles Show Savvy In Win Over Argentina XV

Photo: Connie Hatfield
The Eagles took a big step to keeping their Americas Rugby Championship after a 17-10 win over Argentina XV at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles. The match was a far cry from earlier high-scoring matches between the two teams in the ARC. Instead it was a battle of two teams trying to get under their feet and play simply as they gathered cohesion. Both found positive aspects in the match but in the end the U.S. showed just enough to push them to the win.

It was the Eagles that were on the front foot early enjoying a good spell of possession even if it only led a missed penalty kick. It was clear that they were trying to build off what they did well in the fall and last year by going to their maul but Argentina were ready and able to repel the Eagles efforts.

The Eagles caused wasn’t helped with Marcel Brache was forced off with an injury. Juan Cappiello went straight for Brache’s legs with a no arm and late tackle. Yellow was the call from referee Chris Assmus but it could have easily been red. With a man advantage the Eagles were finally able to earn a penalty from Will Magie.

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After the tally from the Eagles the match switched in Argentina’s favor for the next 20 minutes. They were continually able to put the U.S. under pressure, especially at the scrum but the Eagles were mostly able to come up even with some good defense. Still, it wasn’t perfect and when Titi Lamositele was shown a yellow card for a high tackle Argentina had a chance. Still, they were only able to come up with a penalty from Juan Cruz Gonzalez to even the match.

The U.S. did have a spell at the end of the half but instead it was Argentina that would end strong. They continually put the U.S. under pressure, forcing them into penalties. The Eagles were able to hold firm until Cam Dolan was sent to the bin for an intentional knock-on. That gave Argentina the space they needed to put Santiago Montagner in for the try. At the half Argentina led 10-3.

In the second half the Eagles came out with new energy. Nearly immediately it paid off as Magie was able to slot his second penalty of the game. Argentina did have their chances but most of the second half belonged to the Eagles. That was especially true on the defensive end where players like Nick Civetta and Blaine Scully delivered big performances.

Soon the Eagles were able to come away with more points. The forwards went to work and came close to the tryline. Eventually Tony Lamborn would crash over in the corner for a crucial try. It was a just reward for the positive play the Eagles had up to that point in the half. The conversion was off but with 20 minutes left the Eagles took a 11-10 lead.

It was a lead that they wouldn’t give up. Argentina pushed hard at the end but it was the U.S. substitutes that made a big difference. It was also luck a couple of times as Argentina had a couple of tries called back for penalties after a TMO review as well as one lost to a knock-on. Had they converted those opportunities it would have been a different game.

With just over ten minutes to go the Eagles extended their lead with a crucial kick from Will Hooley. That put the U.S. up by a converted try at 17-10. It looked as if that lead would hold as the U.S. showed good game management until a final onslaught from Argentina nearly had them tie the game. With time expired Argentina went to the scrum time after time and earned penalties. However, the U.S. did just enough to avoid a penalty. Still, Argentina looked to be over for a try but a TMO review showed it was knocked-on.

In the end it was a big win for the Eagles. Last year a draw was good enough to give them the ARC championship because Argentina fell elsewhere. This year they won’t have to rely on that help if they win out and take bonus points. Even more, the Eagles played a solid match in the first of a long tournament. It wasn’t perfect but they built on positive things developed in 2016 and 2017. Heading into a year before that World Cup that is exactly what you want.


Tries: Montagner
Conversions: Gonzalez
Penalties: Gonzalez


Tries: Lamborn,
Penalties: Magie (2), Hooley (2)


  1. Do we know what final attendance numbers were?

  2. It was great to see Nate Augspurger at #9 again. His delivery was spot on and "how many tackles did he make?"