Saturday, March 3, 2018

Eagles Thump Uruguay To Claim ARC Title

The Eagles have claimed back to back Americas Rugby Championships with a thorough 61-19 win over Uruguay. Pressure was on the U.S. to get a victory with Argentina XV expected to take care of business against Brazil. Had the U.S. not come away with the result Argentina would have claimed the championship. Instead it was the Eagles that came out very aggressive with a dream start. The win was impressive and historic. It meant that they snapped Uruguay's test winning streak. It meant that they've won back to back titles for the first time in their history. It meant that they were the first team to complete the Grand Slam. It also meant that Gary Gold remains unbeaten as head coach. Overall there are a lot of positives the Eagles can take away from not just this win but the tournament in general.

Uruguay have always been known for their forwards but instead it was the U.S. that was using their forwards to their advantage early. They used their forwards to perfection to create space with their backs that caused Uruguay to be stretched out. After numerous phases, and strong running from Paul Lasike, the U.S. earned a penalty. The U.S. signaled their intentions with a lineout. From there the Eagles continued to link phases together. Off another penalty it was Tony Lamborn that took a quick tap to rumble over for the try.  Will Magie converted to make it 7-0.

It was a perfect start for the Americans. Six minutes dripped off the clock without Uruguay even touching the ball. Everything was played deep in the U.S. attacking zone. Even when Uruguay did have possession on the restart the U.W. was there with an intercept. Uruguay were shocked early and never really got into it.

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Defensively the Eagles were sharp with multiple turnovers. It was a steal from Tony Lamborn that led to the second try. Lamborn stole the ball and passed to Te'o who only had to beat one defender to double the U.S. advantage. With only nine minutes played the U.S. had a 14-0 lead and were halfway to a bonus point.

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Uruguay did have some possession and even sniffed the try line after a strong scrum. However, the U.S. defense was up to the task. That, plus some questionable decisions from Uruguay who looked rattled, kept the Uruguay off the board.  Uruguay were able to keep the ball for awhile but with the U.S. offense clicking on all cylinders it wasn't long before they were on the board again. A deep kick put Uruguay under pressure and it forced Uruguay into a poor clearing it. The ball landed in U.S. hands within the 22 where Dylan Fawsitt finished things off. That put the U.S. up 21-0.

Even in areas in which they may have struggled early the U.S. started to improve. Uruguay had an advantage in the scrum throughout the first part of the match but eventually the U.S. starting picking up penalties and Uruguayan mistakes.

The next best chance for the Eagles came about a dozen minutes before the half. Nate Augspurger was able to slip through the defense and put in a kick through the defense. The ball went into the try zone where it took a really high bounce. The Eagles weren't able to recover because Uruguay intentionally knocked the ball forward. Not only did that lead to a penalty try but it led to a yellow card. That essentially put the seal on the match.

A man up the U.S. would make Uruguay pay. It once again came from kicking downfield and putting pressure on Uruguay where they made a mistake trying to clear the ball. It didn't go where they wanted it to and it was simple passing from the U.S., along with a kick ahead from Dylan Audsley, that led to Nate Augspurger collecting for the score. The U.s. would have one more try before that half with Hanco Germishuys scoring. The conversion was off but the U.S. led 40-0 at halftime.

The second half started as brightly as the first. Once again they played quickly leading to Te'o scoring the corner. Uruguay had no answer for the U.S.'s speed out wide. Will Magie, who had a fantastic kicking day outside of one kick, extended the lead to 47-0 with the conversion.

Uruguay did strike back within a minute but by that point it was settled. Cat would score the next try for Uruguay as they enjoyed a good spell of possession but the Josh Whippy scored for the Eagles. Another yellow to Uruguay killed off most of their opportunities although they were able to score a try from Mieres. Psalm Wooching would score the final try for the Eagles.

As mentioned, it was an overall fantastic match and fantastic tournament for the Eagles. They started out well against Argentina XV and then they took care of business against the teams they were supposed to beat easily. They then capped off the tournament with a big win. Not only during this time were they able to work together but they were able to develop some younger players. Without question the ARC is paying dividends for the Eagles. They are deeper than they have been in years and they look like they are ready to make waves at the World Cup.


Tries: Lamborn, Te'o (2), Fawsitt, Penalty Try, Augspurger, Germishuys, Whippy, Wooching
Conversions: Magie (6), Penalty, Cima


Tries: Arata, Cat, Mieres
Conversion: Albanell (2)

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