Eagles' late push not enough to overcome slow start, lose to Brazil 24-23 on final PK

Sao Paolo, Brazil - The Eagles started off slow in their fourth match of the 2016 Americas Rugby Championship. After conceding the first 18 points of the match, the Eagles came within one following tries by Joe Taufete'e, Aladdin Shirmer and Niku Kruger. However, a late penalty by Brazil's Moises Duque ended that run, as Brazil took a historic 24-23 victory.

The match seemed to go the way of Brazil almost from the start, as the Eagles conceded two penalties leading to points in the first six minutes. The first penalty coming following the Eagles being called off sides in an early maul, the second coming following a call against Kingsley McGowan for interfering with a Brazil kick.

It wasn't long before the Brazil attack would break through the Eagles defense yet again, this time for their first try. Following an Eagles lineout in Brazilian territory the home team would recover possession with a steal and nearly length-of-pitch run. The Eagles would recover, but a kick to change field possession was taken nearly 50 meters by Brazil's Daniel Sancery, through multiple would-be tacklers, to put the home side up 13-0.

The Eagles' scrum seemed to let them down in their fourth match of the Americas Rugby Championship, falling victim to a strong Brazilian push throughout the first half. Perhaps the finest example of the Brazilian scrum success came in the 22nd minute when Brazil's Lucas Duque picked up the ball following a strong push and slipped past the Eagles defense. Following a missed conversion, Brazil would lead 18-0 and had total control of the momentum.

After the first 30 minutes of the match had passed, the Eagles started to gain their composure and control possession. The Eagles would put together a strong run of eight phases, ending in a penalty try for James Bird from a safe distance. Bird would complete the kick and finally get the Eagles on the board though still trailed 18-3 through 31 minutes.

Head Coach John Mitchell made his first substitution at the 35th minute, replacing youngster Demecus Beach with veteran Eric Fry. From there, it seemed the Eagles would gain some added stability to the forward pack and looked to change their fortunes.

Eagle Joseph Taufete'e scored the second try of his international career, and second of the Americas Rugby Championship at the 28th minute after a bruising run. Following a quick ball from Niku Kruger, Taufete'e ran through four Brazilian defenders to cut the lead to 18-8. A Bird conversion attempt would be missed.

As the half was coming to an end, Brazilian flanker André Arruda, in his ARC debut, was sinbinned for a shoulder charge.

We're at halftime in Brazil with the score Brazil 18, USA 8. The USA Eagles look to stay undefeated in #ARC2016 despite...

Posted by USA Rugby on Saturday, February 27, 2016

At the start of the second half, the Eagles found themselves again working to stop a strong Brazil push in their own territory. An improved Eagle scrum held the Brazilians, and gained a penalty to escape danger. With momentum on their side, the Eagles managed their second try when Bird attacked a gap in the centers, and after passing inside, debutant Aladdin Schrimer scored the Eagles' second, unconverted, try.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, Brazil's penalty would end and they would be back to a full 15. Nearly immediately following, Moises Duque continued to hurt the Eagles by notching his third penalty. Now trailing 21-13, the Eagles would have to fight through fatigue and the Brazilian heat to get back within a score.

The Eagles did fight through however and cut the lead again. Showing off with offloads from Andrew Suniula and Mikey Te'o on the outside wing, an Eagle run ended with a Niku Kruger try. Now down by only 1, it seemed the scale had completely tipped in the USA's favor.

Down one with only ten minutes left to play, the Eagles would win a penalty deep in Brazil territory, in front of the posts. Niku Kruger's penalty kick would be strong and true, giving the Eagles a 24-21 lead - their first of the day. With just over four minutes remaining, the Eagles again would win a penalty but showed their respect for the home side by taking a penalty kick from behind the halfway line. Replacement JP Eloff would come up short after missing from almost 55 meters.

Now with only two minutes left on the clock, the Eagles would try to run out the clock, but lost possession in the Brazilian half via penalty. Their scrum would again let them down as the forward pack was pushed back a few meters. Brazil would take the opportunity to win field possession.

With Arena Baureri rocking, the Tupis of Brazil looked to make one last push from the lineout. It would be the Eagles who would give Brazil one last chance though, as they were penalized for being found off sides on the maul.

As he had all night, Moises Duque would make the Eagles pay. From the 15-meter line, Duque would go on to kick the winning penalty.

Brazil will host Argentina in the last round of the Americas Rugby Championship. The USA Rugby Eagles, who continue to lead the table with Argentina XV and Canada completing on Sunday, now travel to Montevideo to play against Uruguay.

Men's Eagles | v. Brazil

1. Demecus Beach

2. Joseph Taufete'e

3. Olive Kilifi (C)

4. Brodie Orth

5. Ben Landry

6. James King

7. Aladdin Schirmer

8. David Tameilau

9. Niku Kruger

10. James Bird

11. Ryan Matyas

12. Andrew Suniula

13. Mike Garrity

14. Kingsley McGowan

15. Jake Anderson

Men's Eagles | Reserves

16. Cameron Falcon

17. Eric Fry

18. Mike Sosene-Feagai

19. Hanco Germishuys

20. Mike Te'o

21. JP Eloff

22. Tim Stanfill

23. Chad London

Brazil | v. USA

1. Lucas Abud

2. Yan Rosetti

3. Wilton Rebolo

4. Lucas Piero Moraes

5. Luis Vieira

6. Andrew Arruda

7. Joao Luiz das Ros

8. Nicholas Smith

9. Lucas Duque

10. Moises Duque

11. Laurent Couhet

12. Martin Schaefer

13. Felipe Sancery

14. Stefano Giantorno

15. Daniel Sancery

Brazil | Reserves

16. Daniel Danielewicz

17. Caique Silva

18. Jonatas Paulo

19. Diego López

20. Gabriel Paganini

21. Guilherme Coghetto

22. Johannes Beukes Cremer

23. Robert Tenorio

Men's Eagles | Americas Rugby Championship 2016

v. Argentina - D 35-35

v. Canada - W 30-22

v. Chile - W 64-0

v. Brazil - L 24-23

v. Uruguay - Saturday, March 5 @ 4:10 p.m. ET - Charrua Stadium (Montevideo, Uruguay)