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Gold Praises Eagle Toughness, Looks to Chile

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Gold Praises Eagle Toughness, Looks to Chile

Gary Gold has his eyes on the two-game series vs Chile. Ian Muir photo.

Beating the French Barbarians was most certainly a nice confidence boost for the USA team, but Head Coach Gary Gold has his eye on the major goal, and the major goal is not beating the French Barbarians, it's beating Chile.

"It was a very good French team and while we made lots of mistakes the guys put their hands up and met the challenge," said Gold. "The thing is we've got Chile next week and we need to be prepared for that. I think this was good preparation because they are a professional team."

But there were mistakes. The scrum was good early on but had trouble late. The lineout was inconsistent. The Eagles had scoring chances off the lineout but couldn't fire, so while—glass half full—they scored six times they also—glass half empty—only got two tries.

But on defense, despite the three tries given up, they were solid.

"There was always a threat that they were going to rip us to shreds," said Gold, giving a nod to many a professional touring side that has come to the USA loose and ready to let their expressive rugby fly. But the USA team didn't let the Barbarians get too wild with the ball.

"We were good in the tackle," Gold said. "Our defensive coach Scott Lawrence did a really good job getting everyone ready."

And while Gold said little about the preparation going into the game, the team came together in dribs and drabs throughout the week. The team that started on Friday night hardly had any time together as a unit. In the end, that's OK—they did just fine and now have some time to work on a few things (lineout, attack pattern, scrums without David Ainu'u in them). But maybe not a lot of time. Remember that Saturday is a recovery day. Then they have a travel day down to Santiago, along with a rest day and the captain's run, leaving three days to put the work in. 

But some things you need as a basis, and Gold got that.

"I was pleased with the grit and the fight in the guys," he said. "And they played to the very end."

They'll need that in Santiago more than anything.