Eagles Select XV earn first win at IRB Americas Rugby Championship against Canada ‘A’

LANGFORD, British Columbia – Tim Stanfill dotted down twice from the wing to lead the Eagles Select XV to a 16-3 win against 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship host Canada ‘A’ Wednesday.

Though it did not rain during the match at Westhills Stadium at Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence, the pitch was slick from an earlier storm, which led to a slippery rugby ball all night.

Both the Eagles and Canada found it hard to put together a continuous drive, with set pieces dominating play. Tolkin mentioned wanting more success disrupting the opponents’ set pieces following his team’s 41-14 loss to the Argentina Jaguars at the weekend.

Adam Siddall, who recorded four points in the opening match with two conversions, used his boot to place a kick that bounced five meters from the try line in the corner of Canada’s side of the pitch. Siddall received a reply kick at midfield and sent another in the air to the same spot. No. 8 Matt Trouville chased down the kick and pressured the Canadian player into dropping the ball, forcing a scrum.

The Eagles won the scrum and set play towards the right touch line. Brian Doyle, in his first start at the ARC, kept play in bounds and Shalom Suniula sent the attack to the left. Canada could not keep up with the quick passing of the Eagles and the ball fell to Stanfill on the wing. Stanfill, who won the 2014 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship with Seattle Saracens this summer, burst into the try zone to open the scoring.

Canada’s first scoring opportunity came in the 17th minute when the Eagles committed a penalty in their own half. Gordon McRorie lined up the kick, which was near the touch line with a relatively wide angle for the kicker. Canada’s fly half missed the kick and the chance to get his team on the scoreboard.

Constantly-improving scrummaging led to another Eagles score minutes later. Canada was called for offside during the Eagles’ attack as it neared midfield. Match captain Phil Thiel put his faith in Siddall and was repaid with a beauty of a kick from the line of paint 50 meters from the posts.

McRorie was given a shot at redemption in the 24th minute after an Eagles penalty around 10 meters from midfield. The fly half missed his second conversion of the night to keep the Eagles’ lead at 8-0.

A minute later, resulting from defensive pressure by the Eagles, full back Troy Hall blocked a clearance kick a few meters from the try line. He could not recover quick enough to reach out for the ball, but Siddall was supporting the play. The fly half was too eager in this instance, and was called for offside.

The Eagles resorted to kicking to avoid dropping the wet ball and it worked, causing lineouts away from their own try zone and pressure on Canada’s back three, who had been inconsistent in gathering kicks cohesively up to that point.

Kyle Sumsion was penalized for an unavoidably-high tackle near the end of the half, which allowed Canada to get a lineout. The Eagles forced Canada backwards and closed down space before Canada could throw multiple passes. The pressure force a loose ball and Tim Maupin kicked it towards the uprights. As he outran a defender towards the bouncing ball, he kicked it a few more times before trying to grab it in midair. The bounce was awkward and could not be handled by the wing, who knocked it on to draw the referee’s half-time whistle.

Four minutes into the second half, Andrew Suniula was sent to the sin bin for a second high tackle against the Eagles. To add salt to the wound, McRorie kicked a successful penalty from the spot of Suniula’s tackle to bring the score to 8-3.

Much like their performance Saturday, the Eagles were on the positive side of the turnover ratio in the tackle throughout the match against Canada. The host broke through the stingy defense in the 50th minute with a gainline-busting run from Pat Kay. As he was being brought down, his low pass was bobbled by Wilson-Ross on the wing, ended the opportunity.

Maupin was cleated as he waited for a Siddall kicked to drop at midfield, and Thiel again turned to Siddall for some points. Rivaling his earlier kick from about the same spot, Siddall rang the right post to keep the ball in play and the score at 8-3.

After Canada won a scrum at midfield in the 60th minute, the team wearing black lost possession of the ball and Stanfill was in the right place at the right time with speed to scored his and his team’s second try of the match. Siddall missed his second conversion from a tough angle, but the Eagles still led by two scoring plays at 13-3.

Men’s Eagles Sevens recruits Andrew Durutalo, Folau Niua, and Zack Test each saw playing time in the second half, as did Colorado State University’s Ben Pinkelman and Davenport University’s Ben Tarr.

In the 71st minute, Hall picked up a loose Canadian pass just inside the Eagles’ half and stepped past multiple defenders on a 40-meter run before the defending team took a penalty. Siddall rewarded his full back’s play with a converted penalty, which extended the lead to 16-3.

Three missed tackles let Kay break down the touch line with five minutes remaining, but the Eagles stopped the attack and stole the ball in the ruck. A few more minutes of set pieces and turnovers led to the Eagles kicking to touch for the final whistle.

Argentina defeated Uruguay 31-9 in the day’s first match. The score increases the Jaguars’ point differential to plus-49 and adds a second tally to the win column. Unless Canada beats Argentina by more than 50 and the Eagles defeat Uruguay by more than 30, the tournament is Argentina’s to lose.

The Eagles Select XV will finish the 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship against Uruguay Sunday, Oct. 19, at 5:30 P.M. ET. Watch the match live on Rugby Canada TV and follow live match updates with @USARugby on Twitter.

Eagles Select XV | v Canada 'A'
1. Nick Wallace
2. Phil Thiel
3. Olive Kilifi
4. John Cullen
5. Brian Doyle
6. Louis Stanfill
7. Kyle Sumsion
8. Matthew Trouville
9. Shalom Suniula
10. Adam Siddall
11. Tim Maupin
12. Andrew Suniula
13. Chad London
14. Tim Stanfill
15. Troy Hall

Eagles Select XV | Reserves
16. Zachary Fenoglio
17. Angus MacLellan
18. Ben Tarr
19. Ben Pinkelman
20. Andrew Durutalo
21. Justin Hundley
22. Folau Niua
23. Zack Test

Eagles Select XV | Coaching Staff
Mike Tolkin - Head Coach
Justin Fitzpatrick - Assistant Coach
Nate Osborne - Assistant Coach
David Williams - Strength and Conditioning Coach
Chris O'Brien - Kicking Coach/Video Analyst
Terrence Cronin - Doctor
Richard Quincy - Physiotherapist
Zach Vyhnanek - Physiotherapist
Tristan Lewis - Manager

Canada 'A' | Starting XV
1. Tom Dolezel
2. Ray Barkwill
3. Doug Wooldridge
4. Aaron Flagg
5. Evan Olmstead
6. Nanyak Dala
7. Kyle Gilmour (C)
8. Seb Pearson
9. Jamie Mackenzie
10. Gordon McRorie
11. Dan Moor
12. Patrick Parfrey
13. Nick Blevins
14. Sean Ferguson
15. Pat Kay

Canada 'A' | Reserves
16. Ryan Hamilton
17. Pete Houlihan
18. James Smith
19. Callum Morrison
20. Admir Cejvanovic
21. Jordan Wilson-Ross
22. Derek Daypuck
23. Andrew Coe

Eagles Select XV | 16
Tries: T. Stanfill (2)
Penalties: Siddall (2)

Canada 'A' | 3
Penalties: McRorie

Eagles Select XV | 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship
v Canada 'A' - Wednesday, October 15 - 11:00 P.M. ET
v Uruguay - Sunday, October 19 - 5:30 P.M. ET