Watch the hard-hitting action of the Pacific Nations Cup rugby championship live online when the USA Eagles square off against the Japan Brave Blossoms in a match that brings an added spotlight on the USA performance less than two months away from September’s World Cup, not just because the Eagles dropped their tournament opener to upcoming World Cup opponent Samoa — but because the USA stunned the rugby world by suddenly releasing captain Todd Clever after the Samoa match.
The 32-year-old Clever (pictured above), who did not play in the Samoa game, is a 63-cap veteran who starred for the USA in the last two World Cups and has become easily the best-known American rugby player both at home and around the world. Clever recently appeared in the annual ESPN Magazine “Body Issue,” a photo spread featuring non-explicit nude images of top athletes.
In a statement issued on Monday, USA Head Coach Mike Tolkin cited “multiple squad conduct violations” as the reason for handing Clever his pink slip — but Tolkin went into no specific detail about what those “violations” might have been.
“Such behavior is contrary to the team culture that players and management have been fostering within the Eagles over time,” Tolkin continued. “Clearly, this is not a pleasant or desirable circumstance for either party.”
To watch the USA Eagles vs. Japan Brave Blossoms live online, use the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. The match is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. Pacific Time, 11 p.m. Eastern on Friday, July 24, at Bonney Field in Sacramento, California.
Ranked 16th overall in the world, the Eagles are getting a preview of the competition they are slated to face in Group B of the 2015 Rugby World Cup to be held in England from September 17 to October 31.
On Sunday, the USA gave up 21 early points to ninth-ranked Samoa, but fought back with 16 of their own only to fall short against their upcoming Group B foes
The USA will also face 12th-ranked Japan — winners over Canada in their opening Pacific Nations Cup match — in Group B once the World Cup gets underway.
While the non-stop heavy hitting action of rugby seems a natural to appeal to American fans, the rules of the game are likely unfamiliar to many who might watch the Friday match live online. For a quick guide to what you’re watching when you watch rugby, click this link.
To find out how the USA rugby team will fare against Japan in the second Pacific Nations Cup contest for both teams, watch the match live online on ESPN3, the online-only service of ESPN. ESPN3 will stream the USA Eagles vs. Japan Brave Blossoms, as well as most other Pacific Nations Cup rugby latches, live online at this link. ESPN3 is free to subscribers of most major internet service providers and many minor ISPs as well. For a full list, check this link.
[Image: Warren Little/Getty Images]