As anyone reading this probably knows the USA won their match against Russia 13-6. In the battle of the Super Minnows the Eagles domintated possession in the first half but a constant stream of kicking away possession, knock-ons, and entering rucks incorrectly left the team with little in the way of points to show for their skill at quickly recycling multi-phase ball and towering control of line-outs.
USA gave up 3 points right away partly the result of kicking away clean possession from the kick-off. Although the Eagles were quick to rucks, they seemed a good bit more lethargic in supporting breaks and covering kicks. A second half penalty kick by Chris Wyles came off a post and as probably most U.S. club side rugby players know some players should have had the job to follow those kicks. The Eagles had a good push going off of lineouts that they were winning easily, but when they had a line-out at the 5 meter line they chose to throw long and after a few phases of ball one of the usual mistakes materialized and opportunity lost. The Eagles also continue to suffer from a problem common to many sides inability to run to space and offload in a timely manner. In this tournament only the All Blacks have shown some real talent at this last rugby skill so far. The Eagles controlled the major part of the match, but as the Russian coach proudly announced at the post match press conference, the Bears were in the match with a good chance oft a draw right down to the final whistle.
We’re packing up now and have to be out of this campsite in 30 minutes. Yesterday was my first press pass to a match complete with media room buffet, perfect midfield seat, and post-match press conferences with team coaches and captains. I’m working on an article on my experience. If anyone has read these from the beginning you know I am looking at this as a personal journey into journalism, but as the campsite manager is tapping on his watch the story of my hapless journey into the world of real sports journalism will have to wait.