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KPIs For Eagles vs Pumas

National Teams

KPIs For Eagles vs Pumas

Photo: USA Rugby

The Eagles are going to be up against it against Argentina, but they are targeting a win regardless.

Playing in the third Rugby World Cup pool match of 2019, the USA is 0-2 and needs to win the remaining two to get that coveted 3rd spot in the pool, which brings the reward of an automatic berth in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Reporters were asking players about that.

"Each person to a man, and the staff included, are to be a part of something special," said USA captain Blaine Scully. "That's why we're working bloody hard at this."

 

 

"We didn't come here to make up the numbers; for us to put up a performance and get a win this weekend is extremely important," said Gold. But he cautioned against looking ahead with the idea of beating Argentina and Tonga. "We came to this World Cup to perform."

 

 

"It's going to be huge for us. We've still got things to fight for in beating the last two teams in the World Cup," added Joe Taufete'e. "We've set a lot of goals for ourselves coming in. Even though we haven't hit those marks, we’re looking forward to coming out and learning those lessons."

OK so then, how do they accomplish that?

Defense

The Eagles made 303 tackles in the first two RWC games, but missed 86, a success rate of 78%, which isn't good. The key thing about that stat is that you have to make that first tackle. When someone misses one tackle, there's a high likelihood that the next attempt could miss, too.

What the Eagles need is to have a slightly better plan of contact, avoiding diving at the ankles of elusive players, and also avoiding going in too high so as to avoid high-tackle penalties or being fended off. We'd like to see more hits around the ball under the fend.

Scrum

The USA scrum can be good, and can hold firm. The big issue is the referee. If referee Paul Williams doesn't make the assumption that Argentina is never at fault because of their scrum reputation, if he had an open mind, then the USA could scrum well.

"We thought the Argentinian scrum would overcome France's one but France really put them under pressure," said Taufete'e. "I'd like to say we scrummed well against France as well. You can see it around the matches that they've played in the World Cup already. They're prone to getting a lot of penalties against them."

Kick

Argentina will kick on the Eagles, that's for sure. Mike Te'o is a pretty good counter-attacker, actually more than pretty good, and with Blaine Scully and Marcel Brache in at wing, the USA has a pretty good counter-attacking group. Kicking back? Well let's hope they run. But ... running can be problematic if a fullback is caught early. That means that the USA forwards have to haul butt to get back when Argentina kicks. If they don't, then Argentina will be getting some holding-on penalties or turnovers. 

Possession

We haven't seen a lot of sustained possession, and therefore not a lot of front-foot ball for the Eagles so far. In the last two games, the Eagles won 103 rucks and mauls, and lost four. So they were relatively secure, but they couldn't sustain it. The opposition won 196 rucks and mauls—so basically twice as many. Quicker ball will make recycling and the attack more successful.