Harsh Lessons for Eagles Against Saxons
For Immediate Release
June 4, 2011
HARSH LESSONS FOR USA AGAINST SAXONS
(Ian Muir photo) Northampton, ENGLAND – The USA Eagles took on the England Saxons on Saturday in their opening match of the 2011 Churchill Cup and ended up on the rough end of an 87-8 score line. The USA started mostly domestic players to give them experience against a Saxons team that was fully professional.
Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan tried some experimental combinations and gave domestic players an opportunity to play at a very high level. The Eagles were starved of possession by the Saxons and the English side was able to capitalize on turnovers, scoring seven tries from turnover ball.
USA struck first after solid phase play resulted in a penalty which outside center, Tai Enosa, converted with ease in the 3rd minute. England answered back quickly through the very lethal Miles Benjamin, who ended up scoring a hat trick in the encounter.
The first 20 minutes would see the Saxons run rampant and the Eagles were up against it to the tune of 33-3 at halftime.
“The game got away from us early on and we were struggling early. On some occasions we held onto the ball and did some good things,” said O’Sullivan.
“It was a very big ask of our team to go against the fully professional England Saxons side and a lot of our problems were of our own making.”
The coach continued to say that mistakes and turnovers were compounded by the Saxons’ speedy backs and defensive lapses by the Eagles.
The scrums were also an issue for the Eagles and the Saxons were able to drive the American forwards back, compromising the USA’s attacking platform when awarded scrums.
Even under immense Saxons pressure and a unfavorable score line, the Eagles kept fighting as Scott LaValla pushed over for a try in the 72nd minute after the USA forwards built on strong phase play to get the Saxons back pedaling.
Colin Hawley and John van der Giessen played well for the Eagles and were very gritty in their defense. Van der Giessen was also very good in the lineouts and was able to provide a threat in the air to that set piece.
Tonga is up next for the Eagles, which is a full test match and a ranking test so fans can expect to see a very different Eagles team on Wednesday as the talents of several seasoned internationals will be called on.
The USA v. Tonga match will kick off at 12:30 ET and will be broadcast live online at www.universalsports.com and on tape delay on Universal Sports at 8 p.m. ET.
15 Mike Palefau (Utah Warriors)
14 Mile Pulu (San Francisco Golden Gate)
13 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
12 Junior Sifa (Nottingham RFC)
11 Colin Hawley (Olympic Club)
10 Troy Hall (New York Athletic Club)
9 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club, captain)
1 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
2 Phil Thiel (Life University)
3 Will Johnson (London Irish)
4 John van der Giessen (Utah Warriors)
5 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais)
6 Pat Danahy (Life University)
7 Danny LaPrevotte (San Francisco Golden Gate)
8 JJ Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town)
16 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
17 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)
18 Louis Stanfill (Mogliano)
19 Inaki Basauri (L' Aquila)
20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC)
21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
22 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)
USA Tries: LaValla (78’) Penalties: Enosa (3’)
Substitutions: Pittman on for Fry (50’), Biller on for Thiel (50’), Stanfill on for LaPrevotte (55’), Basauri on for Gagiano (62’), Usasz on for Petri (70’), A. Suniula on for Sifa (77’)
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins)
14 Topsy Ojo (London Irish)
13 Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby)
12 Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers)
11 Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors)
10 Rory Clegg (Harlequins)
9 Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons)
1 Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
2 Joe Gray (Harlequins)
3 Matt Stevens (Saracens)
4 Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
5 Dave Attwood (Gloucester Rugby)
6 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)
7 Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
8 Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers, captain)
16 David Paice (London Irish)
17 Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)
18 Graham Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
19 Jamie Gibson (London Irish)
20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
21 Alex Goode (Saracens)
22 Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
Saxons Tries: Benjamin 3 (4’, 10’, 57’) Brown 2 (6’, 42’), Hodgson (73’), Johnson (49’), Kitchener (71’), Sharples (67’), Trinder (60’), Twelvetrees (52’), Young (24’) Conversions: Clegg 11
Substitutions: Goode on for Brown (53’), Sharples on for Ojo (53’), Brookes on for Mullan (60’), Paice on for Gray (55’), Brookes on for Stevens (40’), Kitchener on for Botha (60’), Gibson on for Gaskell (17’)
CHURCHILL CUP SCHEDULE | ENGLAND
June 4, 2011: USA vs. England Saxons (Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton)
June 8, 2011: USA vs. Tonga (Moseley Road, Surrey)
June 18, 2011: Elimination Match (Sixways, Worcester)
Visit www.churchillcuprugby.net for more details on the tournament.
Universal Sports will be broadcasting the USA pool matches as well as the Bowl and Cup finals. These will be LIVE online and delayed on television, with the schedule available at www.universalsports.com or by clicking here.