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Short Guys Rule in USA Win Over Canada

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Short Guys Rule in USA Win Over Canada

Mike Te'o was the player of the game, but all the vertically-challenged Eagles made big contributions. David Barpal.

Rugby is a great sport in part because it needs all sorts of body types to play - tall guys, wide guys … and sometimes little guys.

On February 18 against Canada, with a big thanks to the tall guys and the big guys, it was the little guys who really stood out.

Eagles Slam Canada in BC

Mike Te’o broke through for three tries in three different ways. Nate Augspurger repeatedly tested defenses, and set up two tries - one with a chase and tackle on a much bigger opponent, and another going way up into the air to knock back a ball for Te’o. Shaun Davis will superb on his goalkicking, and was active and smart in keeping the phase play going in the USA’s record-breaking 51-34 win (most tries and most points against Canada ever, and missed by 1 points the largest margin of victory). Will Magie isn’t exactly massive, either, and he patrolled flyhalf with poise and played a crucial role in the victory.

For Te’o, the performance led to him being the player of the game. He gets involved all over the place.

“I’ve been working on the structure and finding my opportunities in the structure,” said Te’o. His Coach, John Mitchell, said he’s been playing very well, but sometimes goes a little too far because he has so much confidence in his ability to make something out of nothing. “It’s really me trying to mature as a player,” said Te’o. “I just need to be patient.”

Te’o scored by inserting in the backline and breaking through a gap, set up by a lineout steal and quick reactions from Davies and Magie. 

“That was a good turnover from our forwards,” Te’o said. “We’ve been working on reading their lineouts and we got the ball and then a couple of passes and I just went. 

His next one was crated when Magie put a kick high and wide for Augspurger, who jumped nicely and was able to keep the play alive for his fullback.

“No one knew I could jump that high,” laughed Augspurger after the game. That’s for sure. Augspurger’s hustle helped set up a try for Todd Clever later on.

And then a perfectly-weighted kick from Magie gave another chance for Te’o. He somehow outpaced his defender and not only dove at the right time, but securely, and in total control, grabbed the loose ball and touched it down.

“I’m always looking for the space,” said Te’o, who has scored seven tries in ten Eagle games (that's good for tied for 14th; no USA player has as many or more and has played so few games).

And then, near the end of the game, when Canada was still thinking comeback, Te’o intercepted a pass to halt a Canadian attack. On defense, too, it was happening.

“Being in the right position and making those plays - it’s good to get excited about those plays,” said Te’o. He, Augspurger, Davies, and Magie, all played enormous roles in Saturdays win. And, as Te’o said in speaking to Goff Rugby Report, “it’s good to get excited about the little things.”

True enough.