Brave Eagles Challenge Italy



BOULDER, Colo. - The USA Eagles put everything on the line in their final match at the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). They lost to Italy 27-10 at Trafalgar Park in Nelson, but have gained thousands of new fans across New Zealand and the world. (Photo Credit: USA Rugby)


"I am very proud of how the team performed in our final game at the RWC. I felt they showed tremendous spirit and commitment for the full 80 minutes. We really made Italy work hard for their victory, and stayed in the game until near the end," said Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O'Sullivan.


The United States scored the try of the match, and after 26 minutes were level with Italy at 10-10. On the stroke of half time Italy added to their total, taking them 20-10 ahead at the break. In the second period they scored twice more, despite being put under pressure from the Eagles.


"For some reason we got on the wrong side of the referee and a penalty count of 19 to 7, which mitigated against us in sustaining continued pressure on Italy. Once we got some flow to our game, we put them under pressure on numerous occasions," continued O'Sullivan.


Italy had a dream start to the match as captain Sergio Parisse found a hole in the defense, and dived over for the opening points in the third minute. Mirco Bergamasco kicked the conversion for a 7-0 lead.


The Eagles came back strongly, and scored a fantastic try. Todd Clever took an excellent lineout, with Roland Suniula finding Paul Emerick on the run. The powerful center broke through two tacklers, and with a deft Sonny Bill Williams back hand flick pass sent Chris Wyles over for the try. Wyles added the two points, and it was 7-7 after 20 minutes.  


Prop Mike MacDonald had another monster game, rumbling through the Italian defense. His work rate was outstanding, and was highlighted as one of the Eagles players of the tournament along with captain Clever. MacDonald also became the most capped USA player at a RWC with 11 appearances.


Later in the half Wyles traded penalties with Italy's Bergamasco to make the score 10-10. The Eagles had plenty of attacking opportunities playing an expansive game plan, but could not convert this into points. On the Italian side, nippy flyhalf Luciano Orquera dived over to score his team's second try. Bruising prop Martin Castrogiovanni bull-dozed his way over on the stroke of half time, putting Italy in front by 20-10.


In the second period some amazing Eagle defense prevented scores from Italy. Louis Stanfill, Hayden Smith and Emerick were all heavily involved shutting down certain Italian tries. The level of commitment was outstanding, with Italy putting 50 points on Russia last week.


The Italians pressured the Eagles in the final 20 minutes seeing a penalty try during scrum time, and Stanfill receiving a yellow card in the process. One would not have noticed the Eagles were a man short as they defended their line fiercely, and on attack carried the ball through some great phases.


Italy defended extremely well, and the score remained 27-10, with the Eagles exiting the RWC in 4th place in Pool C ahead of Russia.


"Overall it's been a very enjoyable World Cup. We set our goal of beating Russia and pushing some of the Tier 1 Nations, which we achieved. The Eagles have definitely won over a lot of supporters in New Zealand during this RWC." said the Head Coach.


The USA squad will depart for America tomorrow, with many players returning to their day jobs following almost two months on tour. The Eagles can hold their heads high for what was a very brave and spirited performance at the 2011 RWC. Every member of the USA team were presented with medals for taking part in the RWC tournament.



15 Chris Wyles (Saracens)

14 Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz)

13 Paul Emerick (Life University)

12 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)

11 James Paterson (Highlanders)

10 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)

9 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club)

1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie)

2 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)

3 Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny 93)

4 John van der Giessen (Unattached)

5 Hayden Smith (Saracens)

6 Louis Stanfill (New York Athletic Club)

7 Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath) *Captain

8 Nic Johnson (Unattached)



16 Phil Thiel (Life University)

17 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh)

18 Scott LaValla (Stade Francais)

19 Pat Danahy (Life University)

20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC)

21 Nese Malifa (Glendale)

22 Blaine Scully (Unattached)


USA Tries: Wyles (18')

USA Conversions: Wyles (19')

USA Penalties: Wyles (28')


Substitutions: Pittman on for Moeakiola - Blood Sub on (8'), Moeakiola on for Pittman - Blood Sub off (14'), Thiel on for Biller (29'), Scully on for A. Suniula (46'), Pittman on for Moeakiola (56'), Usasz on for Petri (64'), LaValla on for Johnson (68'), Malifa on for R. Suniula (72')

Yellow Card: Stanfill (59')



15 Andrea Masi

14 Tommaso Benvenuti

13 Gonzalo Canale

12 Gonzalo Garcia

11 Mirco Bergamasco

10 Luciano Orquera

9 Fabio Semenzato

1 Salvatore Perugini
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
4 Quintin Geldenhuys
5 Cornelius van Zyl
6 Alessandro Zanni
7 Mauro Bergamasco
8 Sergio Parisse *Captain



16 Fabio Ongaro
17 Andrea Lo Cicero
18 Marco Bortolami
19 Paul Derbyshire
20 Edoardo Gori
21 Riccardo Bocchino
22 Giulio Toniolatti


ITALY Tries: Parisse (3'), Orquera (30'), Castrogiovanni (40'), Penalty Try (67')

ITALY Conversions: Bergamasco (4'), (67')

ITALY Penalties: Bergamasco (22')


Substitutions: Lo Cicero on for Perugini (51'), Toniolatti on for Benvenuti (54'), Gori on for Semenzato (67'), Bocchino on for Orquera (67'), Derbyshire on for Bergamasco (70'), Ongaro on for Ghiraldini (73')



September 11, 2011: USA 10 Ireland 22 (Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth)

September 15, 2011: USA 13 Russia 6 (Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth)

September 23, 2011: USA 5 Australia 67 (Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington)

September 27, 2011: USA 10 Italy 27 (Trafalgar Park, Nelson)


Further Information:

Dallen Stanford | USA Eagles Rugby World Cup Media Manager | USA Rugby |


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