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Eagles Ride 2nd-Half Surge to 50

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Eagles Ride 2nd-Half Surge to 50

JP Eloff scored a key first-half try for the USA. Colleen McCloskey photo

The USA Men’s National Team overcame a somewhat sloppy first half and patiently waited out a hard-tackling Brazil team to win 51-3 Saturday night at Dell Diamond Stadium in Austin, Texas.

The win puts the Eagles at 2-0 in the Americas Rugby Championship, and earned the USA a much-needed bonus point in th ARC standings.

The game started off nicely for the USA team, as they got a penalty right off the kickoff, set up a lineout, and immediately put Brazil under pressure.

Debutant Aaron “Spike” Davis got his first touch, and powered into the defenders, but then lost the ball in the ruck. Davis would get a chance to make up for that seconds later.

A huge kick from flyhalf Will Magie landed just before the 22. Brazil passed back into their 22, which meant a kick directly into touch would come back to the point of kick. So they chose to run, right into a wall of chasing USA forwards. The Americans ripped the ball away, and sent it wide where lock Nate Brakeley wisely delayed his pass to avoid an interception, and fed Bryce Campbell, who drew his man and popped to Davis for the rookie’s try.

It all looked as if the Eagles would dominate from there, and in many ways they did, but they also couldn’t quite finish off their chances. 

John Quill went on a run and set up Nate Augspurger (playing wing this weekend), but Augspurger was just caught. Repeated penalties from Brazil resulted in a warning, but the South Americans held at the tryline. Eventually the Eagles had to settle for a Magie penalty goal.

Brazil did get a yellow card later on for a high tackle, but it took the Eagles a while to make that pay. Magie missed a kick, and the USA team was veru imprecise with the ball. Eventually, however, the forwards set up a nice platform and lock Nick Civetta set up JP Eloff. The center saw he had a mismatch with two forwards, sidestepped through both and took off down the sideline. That made it 13-0, but the Eagles did not convert other chances - including a Magie penalty attempt right in front of the posts, and the score remains 13-0 at halftime.

For their part, Brazil didn’t do much on offense, but their tackling was very aggressive and secure, and too often their tackles left USA players isolated.

At the break, the Eagle coaches apparently told the players to stop kicking the ball, and take the game to the Brazilians, and that started to pay dividends. Head Coach John Mitchell made changes in the lineup relatively early, and those started to show, eventually, as well.

A series of Brazilian high tackles led to a USA lineout inside the Brazil 22, and a maul that sent gameday captain James Hilterbrand almost to the line. He was stopped, but flanker Tony Lamborn was there to pick it up and dive over for the third USA try and a scoreline of 18-3.

Brazil then had one of their better sequences, and with the USA penalized more than once, eventually Moises Duque put over a long-range penalty. More Brazil penalties led to another USA lineout, and this time the maul was taken down just short of the line and Cam Dolan - one of the subs on early - picked up and dove over.

Then came Brazil’s best chance at a try. They kicked deep and chased well, forcing Eloff to carry the ball into in-goal and touch it down. From the 5-meter scrum Brazil got a penalty, and opted for another scrum. They ran a weakside move that USA fullback Mike Te’o read all the way and intercepted. It was a try-saving move and he got his team out to halfway with the help of Lamborn - who was a terror with ball in hand all day.

Eventually that led to Augspurger breaking through and linking with scrumhalf Shaun Davies. The former BYU All American then logted a pass over his shoulder for Lamborn in support, and the flanker did the rest.

It was now 30-3, and the game opened up from there. Another Augspurger break than went about 65 meters set up Mike Te’o. Then Campbell intercepted a pass and went the distance. And finally, some good phase play set up 15s USA debutant Peter Tiberio for the final score.

The Eagles goalkicking settled down when Ben Cima came on, and the young flyhalf kicked four conversions in the final 20 minutes.

Brakely and Civetta were really, really good for the USA at second row, dominating the lineouts, stealing ball in the rucks, and making some nice open field players as well.

Augspurger was a revelation at wing, while Campbell got the player-fo-the-game honors, an honor Lamborn might well have lobbied for is he wanted to. 

Despite some very sloppy moments, the Eagles dominated and garnered some revenge for an embarrassing loss to Brazil a year ago. They now look ahead to away games at Canada, Chile, and finally the Argentina XV.


USA 51

Tries: Davis, Eloff, Lamborn 2, Dolan, Te’o, Campbell, Tiberio

Convs: Cima 4

Pens: Magie


Brazil 3

Pens: Duque 


USA Lineup:

1 Ben Tarr

2 James Hilterbrand (c)

3 Dino Waldren

4 Nate Brakeley

5 Nick Civetta

6 John Quil

7 Tony Lamborn

​​​​​​​8 Al McFarland

9 Shaun Davies

10 Will Magie

11 Nate Augspurger

12 JP Eloff

13 Bryce Campbell

14 Spike Davis

15 Mike Te'o



16 Peter Malcolm (at 70 for Hilterbrand)

17 Anthony Purpura (at 40 forTarr)

18 Chris Baumann (at 40 for Waldren)

19 Cameron Dolan (at 51 for McFarland)

20 Todd Clever (at 72 for Quill)

21 Ben Cima (at 62 for Magie)

22 Peter Tiberio (at 62 for Davis)

23 Deion Mikesell (at 71 for Eloff)



15 Daniel Sancery

14 De Wet van Niekerk

13 Felipe Sancery

12 Moisés Duque

11 Stefano Giantorno

10 Josh Reeves

9 Matheus Cruz

8 Nick Smith (c)

7 André Arruda

6 João Luiz da Ros

5 Lucas Piero

4 Luiz Vieira

3 Wilton Rebolo

2 Yan Rosetti

1 Jonatas Paulo



16 Daniel Danielewicz

17 Caíque Silva

18 Pedro Bengaló

19 Diego López

20 Arthur Bergo

21 Beukes Cremer

22 Luan Smanio

23 Guilherme Coghetto