Eagles Slam Canada in BC
Eagles Slam Canada in BC
The USA has logged their 5th-straight defeat of Canada and third straight on Canadian soil after they defeated their longtime rivals 51 to 34 in Burnaby, BC Saturday night.
On a cold, damp Pacific Northwest night, both teams were looking to make a bit of a statement what with the all-important World Cup Qualifiers coming later this year.
In the opening minutes, it all looked very bad for Canada, as the Eagles scored two tries in the first six minutes.
The first came as the Eagles showed plenty of desire to run the ball. Bryce Campbell, continuing his superb season, made a snappy half-break and fed Todd Clever on the wing. The captain and flanker garnered plenty of attention from the Canada defenders, but offloaded back inside to Ryan Matyas, and the hirsute former Arizona All American raced in for a try. Shaun Davies put over the conversion, and then almost from the restart, the USA was on the attack again. Cam Dolan stole a Canada lineout throw, and the ball was sent quickly out through the hands, where fullback Mike Te’o slotted in and went 50 meters for the try. Less than six minutes gone, and it was 12-0.
Pushing the pace, the Eagles got a penalty near midfield, and flyhalf Will Magie whacked it over to make it 15-0.
But perhaps that was too easy. Certainly Canada has never given up on a rugby game in the history of the sport, and they started to put the USA under pressure. They certainly were able to get the ball, and used their big forwards to target the USA’s relatively small #10 (Magie) and #12 (JP Eloff). Backpedaling somewhat, the Eagles started to commit penalties, and while Canada debutant Robbie Povey missed his first one, the Maple Leafs countered off the ensuing 22-meter dropout, exploited a poorly-organized USA chase, and sent Taylor Paris in at the corner.
A penalty for being in front of the kicker set up Canada for another attack. They took the lineout, were stopped, but illegally, and after opting for the scrum (and another penalty), scrumhalf Phil Mack went in on his own. 15-12.
A slight lack of urgency from the Eagles saw Canada be hungrier for the ball, and while the Americans wanted to send the ball wide quickly, they were also a bit static in the open field. Stuck in their own end, they kept making little errors - a missed tackle here, a penalty at the scrum there - to keep them on the back foot.
Finally, after a strong defensive sequence by the Eagles, they got a chance to move through the phases. When that happened, and the Americans ran hard, Canada started to get penalized - killing the ball, in from the side, and pushing a player off the ball three key infractions, and Davies eventually punished them for three points from 40 meters out.
Canada replied with a nice penalty kick from Povey, but the Americans had the run of play in the final minutes of the first half. Going through the phases, they once again forced penalties, and eventually Canada hooker and captain Ray Barkwill was sin-binned for a no-wrap tackle on Clever. The Eagles went for the lineout, and in a brilliant take-and-maul from the forwards, Anthony Purpura logged his first USA try.
Davies was good on the conversion, and after a few dodgy moments for the Americans, the half ended 25-15 for the Americans.
The second half began with the USA on the back foot despite being up a player because of the yellow card. They were too impatient to get the ball back and started to get into penalty trouble. But Povey missed a long range kick and it stayed 25-15.
The Eagles got an excellent attacking chance when a somewhat innocuous kick from Te’o wasn’t claimed by blood-sub George Barton and the ball rolled into the Canadian 22. On the chase, and pretty much alone, was lock Nate Brakeley, who thundered into Barton, jarred the ball loose, and somehow offloaded to Davies in support. They didn’t score, but the Eagles did get a scrum from that, and after winning the ball, Magie popped a wide kick for Nate Augspurger. The wing went way up in the air, couldn’t control the ball, but managed to knock it back. Te’o was, of course, man on the spot, and picked up the ball to touch it down in the corner. A brilliant try that turned the momentum of the second half.
The Eagles kept it up, thanks in large part to a superb kick-chase from Augspurger. Canada again seemed unable to defend for long periods without committing penalties. A series of them led to a USA lineout, and another superb take from Nick Civetta. The maul was just about perfect, and Clever held on was over.
Davies was good on the ick and suddenly the Eagles were up 37-15. At this point the Canadians started shoving and getting somewhat grumpy. It wasn’t what they needed, as they had to keep their discipline with 25 minutes to go. They also needed a spark and got one quickly as Paris, back on the field after a concussion protocol test, weaved and powered around and through for a superb individual effort. It was an important score for Canada, but the USA still led 37-20.
The Eagles came right back and camped out in the Canadian 22. Once again they looked to test Canada through the phases, and once again Canada started committing penalties. And with the advantage, eventually sub flanker John Quill capped off perhaps their best and most patient sequence. Davies happily put over the kick and it was 44-20.
Canada got that one back relatively quickly on a nice kick over the top for Barton (back on as a permanent sub) who grabbed it and dragged a couple of tacklers over. At 44-27, Canada was certainly still in it. The Eagles had run on almost every sub at this point, and their unity of purpose had to hold. It did. The Eagles won the ball off the restart, and Magie put a perfect grubber through. The ball rolled and bobbled and waited in the in-goal area. Te'o chased and wove around Canadian fulback Brock Staller, dove, and slapped his hand on the ball for his third try. The Former Belmont Shore U19 rugby star was again showing his versatility and his ability to make plays.
Up 51-27, the Eagles had fresh legs and should have been more active on defense, but they instead got into off-the-ball issues (for which Argentinean referee Damian Schneider gave them a stern talking-to), and eventually Canada was right on the Eagle line. After a tenacious stand by the Eagles, Canada No. 8 Admir Cejvanovic powered over. But there wasn't much time at that point. Canada needed to score three times in two minutes. It wasn't going to happen. Even though they made a break, Te'o (of course) was there to intercept and keep the USA on the front foot.
With a minute to go the Eagles got a penalty which Ben Cima milked for every second. He missed, but that time was more precious to Canada than anything else. Canada had one more attack, got an offside penalty, but their kick for touch went dead, and that was it.
In the end, a good performance, sometimes a great one, from the USA. Nick Civetta, Cam Dolan,Davies, and Te'o were brilliant. Others had some excellent moments. But they also kept leaving the door open for Canada, and could have won by a ton more. Still, a bonus-point victory for the USA, and 3-0 in the Americas Rugby Championship.
Tries: Matyas, Te’o 3, Purpura, Clever, Quill
Convs: Davies 4
Pens: Magie, Davies
Tries: Paris 2, Mack, Barton,Cejvanovic
Convs: Povey, McRorie 2
USA Lineup to Face Canada
Canada to face USA:
1. Rob Brouwer