San Diego – July 1st. The USA Men’s rugby team came to San Diego for the 2nd and final match against Canada on Canada Day. Thanks to a 28-28 tie in Canada last week all the Americans needed was a victory. With a victory, USA would punch a ticket into the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Let see how well USA performed in front of a packed house at the University of San Diego.
USA came out of the gates fast and were already in striking distance of scoring but after many attempts to score, USA turned the ball over and Canada made a run but eventually kicked the ball back to the U.S. The Eagles finally broke out a big run, and a few passes later Cam Dolan was running in for a try to give the U.S. a 5-0 lead 12 minutes in after a failed kick conversion.
USA wasted no time scoring again and they did it in the same fashion. The Eagles broke off another run and a few passes later, Cam Dolan scored his 2nd try of the match giving the U.S. a 12-0 lead 17 minutes in. Canada finally got on the board with a penalty kick to Canada finally got on the board with a penalty kick to narrow the deficit to 12-3 with 18 minutes gone. The Eagles would answer back in a hurry as Nick Brakeley scored to put the U.S. up 19-3 in the 21st minute.
Canada grabbed 2 more penalty field goals before the half ended with the second one coming from a yellow card issued to James Hiltebrand of the Eagles. The score at halftime was Eagles 19 Canada 9.
The Eagles started the 2nd half a man down due to the yellow card and Canada was quick to take advantage. Canada closed the deficit to 3 as Admir Cejvanovic scored Canada’s first try of the match to bring the score to 19-16. With Canada closing the gap, the Eagles needed to respond in order to maintain control of the game, and boy did they ever. Joe Taufete’e score two trys in a 6-minute span (54′, 60′) to bring the Eagles lead to 33-16.
The Eagles broke out the highlight of the match as Ryan Mayas made defenders miss on a big run and then lateraled to Nate Augspurger who broke off into the open grass for the score and a 40-16 Eagles lead in the 64th minute. Dino Waldren increased the Eagles lead to 47-16 in the 67th minute with a bruising try at the goal line. Taufete’e scored a hat trick with his 3rd try of the match in the 79th minute as the Eagles Soared to a 52-16 Victory in a packed house at USD.
With the win, the Eagles have qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The players celebrated the win by carrying Todd Clever on their shoulders for his last win with USA Rugby. Todd Clever leaves the sport as the most capped player in United States Rugby Union history. Clever’s career spanned an amazing 15 years competing for the red, white and blue. Clever also competed in 2015 for a local San Diego Rugby Club in Mission Beach Athletic Club RFC known locally as OMBAC.
- The 52-16 victory by the Eagles was their heir largest margin of victory in the rivalry.
- First time since Rugby World Cup began in 1987 that the Eagles have qualified for the top spot (Canada previous held #1 spot)
The USA Women’s Eagles played against the Premier League All-Stars after the Men’s match and the Eagles won 50-0 in a hard hitting match.
I want thank USA Rugby for giving me the credentials and the opportunity to witness USA men’s and women’s Eagles in person. It was a real honor to watch and witness those games in person.
PHOTO CREDIT: Von Ware Studios (San Diego Sports Domination Photographer).
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