August 19, 2013 Where do we go from Blackbaud Stadium?

August 19, 2013     Where do we go from Blackbaud Stadium?

The Eagles dug a giant hole for themselves on Saturday, Aug. 17th, 2013, by losing to Canada 27-9 in Charleston. That is if the goal was to be America 1 team to the 2015 World Cup. The America 1 team will be in Pool D.  To get out of the hole and be in Pool D the USA will need to beat Canada by at least 19 points in Toronto on Aug. 24th.

 Hopefully there is a goal growing  to try to win at least 2 games in the next World Cup and there isn’t  much difference between Pool D (France, Ireland. Italy, Europe 2) and Pool B (South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Japan *probably). The Eagles are favoured to take  the Pool B slot by winning a home and away series against Uruguay in the near future.

USA Rugby official website attributes the humiliating defeat to Canada to small mistakes. The huge problem seems to be we keep making a lot of  the same small mistakes … kicking away possession early in a match and ending up playing catch-up, failure to set the backline deep enough to run a hard straight line and offload before contact. Offense is a huge problem made of many small mistakes.  Bright spot was Folau Niua injection of pace and good offloads late in the game. It will be hard for Coach Tolkin to start Toby L’Estrange in the Toronto match. The hoped for display of a a great set of backrow  forwards kind of happened. Samu Manoa started at 2nd Row and was a force around the pitch. Clever was his usual omnipresent self. LaValla had a good game.

 If you read my pre-game article,  you know I said if USA lost by 3 tries it would be hard for Coach Tolkin to hold his job. Time will tell. A fellow I was talking to on the sideline who used to coach Tolkin at Xavier said the problem was Melville. Two ex-rugby players with 2 different opinions, imagine that.

Canada got a couple of tries after rather quick goal line stands. The reffing seemed o.k. except for allowing a lot of going off feet in loose. I was  the last minute photographer for and was on the tryline  right where Canada got their second  try. I  was tapping away on my Ipod touch to catch  the Canadians  leaving their feet. I think all I got was a bunch of Canadian asses, though. If any of the photos come out I’ll post them with the article. During a post match chat with a NACRA ref he expressed some discomfort  on  how the new scrum call was going, I don’t think there were any penalties given for scrummaging, though.

It was definitely a great show by a very good Canadian side. Their 7s players bring a lot of flare to their side.  I’ll be there cheering for them at all of  their matches in the 2015 World Cup…  except when they go to Milton Keynes. See my prematch  article on why you wouldn’t want to go to Milton Keynes … but Canada vs France might be a reason to brave a night in  Milton Keynes once again.

Defense certainly had its share of small mistakes. Paul Emerick is missed.

Giving up 27 points against a good Canadian side that won the Pacific Nations Cup is not too embarrassing. The Canadians had another try disallowed and I haven’t seen the replay yet. I was on the other end of the pitch and didn’t hear at the time why. There  was a weird time when the home crowd started heckling their own players. There were some USA fans yelling, “ Hey #14,  do something with those fancy shoes.”  When I told this to my wife, she told me fans around her were doing the same thing to other players.

The size of the crowd was better this year than 4 years ago, but personally the stadium is not conveniently located and the fans are heckling . You pretty much have to drive there. If you have a few beers at the match.  you could get a DUI and then you couldn’t go to Canada for 10 years. I wonder what they do if a Canadian comes here and gets a DUI .  

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