The USA Rugby Eagles looked fired up from the beginning, the Eagles players singing the USA’s Star Spangled Banner at the top of their lungs, inspired, eager, and ready to RUCK!
The battle before them would either earn their place in the Rugby World Cup – Something that has been spotty for the USA Rugby Eagles – Or relegate them to the past USA Rugby struggles.
Perhaps this was just the motivation the USA Ruggers needed, or maybe it was getting to play the winner-take-all match in front of a home crowd in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. Regardless, a victory for USA Rugby, versus Uruguay, was their ticket to the Rugby World Cup and through tremendous determination, aggravation, resiliency and grit, the USA Rugby Eagles beat back a feisty and, some might say, non-gentlemanly, Uruguayan side, to prevail 32 -13 and earn their berth to England for the Rugby World Cup!
Finally a reason for American Rugby fans to shout, “Congratulations USA Eagles Rugby!”
“We put ourselves under a lot of pressure, but we didn’t panic, though,” said captain Todd Clever after the match. “We knew we were going to break them, we were confident with it, but it took longer than expected.”
Fired up from the pre-game, from the first whistle the USA side showed they were ready to go, stealing the first line-out from the Uruguayans, and establishing a physical, hard hitting presence on the pitch.
Unfortunately, the Uruguayan National Team had plans of their own, and they didn’t involve success for the USA Rugby Eagles.
The feisty Uruguayan side picked at the Americans – tearing off scabs from another chippy game between the two last week which ended in a 27-27 draw – and forcing the USA Rugby boys to make some lame penalties, earning 2 yellow cards, and losing two players, allowing the Uruguayans their first scores.
By half time, USA Rugby found themselves down 13-3, despite their often dominating performance in the first half.
But the second half remained and the USA Rugby team took control, ripping through the Uruguayan side on their way to a 26-0 run that put the USA Eagles out front for good while making their trip to England for the 2015 Rugby World Cup a reality.
Brothers Andrew Suniula and Shalom Suniula scored tries within two minutes of each other, breaking the game open and causing USA Rugby fans to celebrate in the rainy Spring Georgia air.
USA scrum-half, Mike Petri, also ran for a beautiful try in the 61st minute, taking a quick tap off a penalty and bolting through the weathered Uruguayans for a long score.
USA fullback and kicker, Chris Wyles also contributed 12 points for the Eagles with his foot, sending two penalty kicks and two conversions between the posts.
The Eagles have been placed in Pool B for the Rugby World Cup, facing top international teams from South Africa, Samoa, the Asia qualifier which will likely be Japan, and Scotland. For a preview, the USA Rugby squad will face off with Scootland in Houston in June.
“We’re not backing down from anyone,” said USA coach, Mike Tolkin, following the victory over Uruguay. “Our goal is to get out of the pool.”
Other top international Rugby teams include World Cup host, England, Australia, and New Zealand.
So, congratulations to USA Rugby’s Eagles and best of luck in the Rugby World Cup, 2015.
Images via Google Images