AUSTIN, Texas - The Men's Eagles earned their eighth largest victory in team history Saturday in a 51-3 Americas Rugby Championship defeat of Brazil at Dell Diamond.
Aaron Davis and Peter Tiberio each scored tries in their international debuts in an eight-try, bonus-point performance by the Eagles. Head Coach John Mitchell's team is now 2-0 in the second year of the ARC and will continue the campaign next Saturday, Feb. 18, against Canada north of the border before the final two matches in South America. Updated standings and scheduling and broadcast information can be found on the ARC page on USARugby.org.
"We've asked them to get better and asked them to go to areas and attack tonight that were the right areas to go," Mitchell said. "We asked them to quicken up the ball and asked them to finish their tackles. They did that, and it's nice to see that we are creating the necessary variety in our game.
"To become a four-try team you still have to be able to score from turnover ball and counter as well as first phase. That was a pleasing aspect. It's good the assistant coaches are getting rewards in their areas for their hard work. Marty Veale's done a great job with the set piece and Phil Greening is starting to get the reward of turnover ball from very good line speed and tackling."
A young starting lineup saw seven changes from the U.S.'s victory over Uruguay in nearby San Antonio just a week ago, and the starting XV starved its opposition of possession for almost the entirety of the first half. Davis and new wing partner Nate Augspurger, in the latter's seventh consecutive start for the national team, were active early and often along the touch lines. Brazil could only counter the U.S. onslaught with clearance kicks, and a third-minute lineout steal led to Bryce Campbell feeding Davis for a try in the corner.
The Eagles did not have the high success rate in the opposition's 22 Mitchell and staff were hoping for, but took the points on offer from a 13th-minute penalty against Brazil. Will Magie kicked his only points of the match for an 8-0 lead just a minute before Argentinian match official Pablo Deluca flashed a yellow card in front of Brazilian captain Nicholas Smith for a dangerous tackle on the U.S. fly half. Brazil's center, Moises Duque, attempted to put his side on the scoreboard when the Eagles were penalized in the game's first scrum, but missed the target.
Brazil did see out its captain's sinning without conceding any more points, but the full complement of 15 players on the field was not enough to keep inside center JP Eloff from scoring in the 27th minute. The attacking phase reached Eloff near the gain line for a split between two defenders before a final juke and step out of an attempted tackle allowed the Davenport University graduate to dive over in the corner of the try zone. The touch-line conversion was wide of the posts to keep the score at 13-0, where it would remain until halftime.
The traveling opponent could not keep ahold of the second-half restart for a U.S. set piece and consequential lineout in attacking territory. A strong maul pushed forward within feet of the try line, and flanker Tony Lamborn scored his second career international try with a quick dive over the line. Duque ended the Eagles' shutout bid in the 48th minute when the Eagles' scrum, with Chris Baumann and Tony Purpura called upon for the first time in the game, was penalized in front of the posts for an 18-3 score line.
"The bench did another good job," Mitchell said. "We were a little bit loose after halftime; we were off-process with a bit of individualism but that was kind of the way the game was. The Brazilians obviously didn't like being without the ball for long periods of time.
"We fell into the trap of almost playing at the same tempo Brazil wanted to play at some point."
About 10 minutes of back-and-forth was the last of Brazil's positive play as the Eagles found their stride and capitalized on mistakes. Cam Dolan, who joined camp over the last weekend from his professional club in Wales, dotted down from a U.S. lineout in the 58th minute to give the Eagles their tournament bonus point. Eloff saved a try in the 60th minute with a chase of a deep kick before he was taken to the ground in-goal, and the Eagles overturned the scrum.
Brazil was awarded possession from an awkward play as young Ben Cima kicked a ball to the try line minutes later, but the Eagles won the ball back from a knock. Augspurger's mazy run led to scrum half Shaun Davies popping a pass on the run to Lamborn in support for a 30-3 lead.
Augspurger nearly had his first try of his international career with a break from the Eagles' side of the field, but offloaded to full back Mike Te'o in the arms of the tackler at the try line. Te'o's try pushed the score to 37-3 before Campbell intercepted a Brazil pass at midfield for a 44-3 advantage. Tiberio capped off the match on the last play of the game with his first try, bringing the final score to 51-3.
"You've got to congratulate them, clearly," Mitchell said of his winning squad. "A lot of work goes into one week and it's been a challenging week with injuries. The milestones - Aaron Davis scoring on debut; Peter Tiberio also scoring on debut - it's all special.
"We just have to keep our feet on the ground. The one thing we can control is our training week."
The 48-point win marks the Eagles' eighth-largest margin of victory on the international stage. The U.S. will continue the second season of the Americas Rugby Championship Saturday, Feb. 18, in its first road game at Westhills Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia. The opponent, Canada, defeated Chile for its first win of the competition Saturday. The match will be broadcast live on The Rugby Channel to subscribers.
Men's Eagles | v. Brazil
1. Ben Tarr (Baumann @ 40')
2. James Hilterbrand (C) (Malcolm @ 59')
3. Dino Waldren (Purpura @ 40')
4. Nate Brakeley
5. Nick Civetta
6. John Quill (Clever @ 63')
7. Tony Lamborn
8. Al McFarland (Dolan @ 52')
9. Shaun Davies (Mikesell @ 73')
10. Will Magie (Cima @ 59')
11. Nate Augspurger
12. JP Eloff
13. Bryce Campbell
14. Aaron Davis (Tiberio @ 61')
15. Mike Te'o
Brazil | v. USA
1. Jonatas Paulo (Bengalo @ 36')
2. Yan Rosetti
3. Wilton Rebolo (Segura @ 59')
4. Luis Vieira (Danielewicz @ 70')
5. Lucas Moraes
6. João da Ros (Bergo @ 40')
7. Andre Arruda
8. Nicholas Smith (C)
9. Matheus Silva
10. Joshua Reeves
11. Stefano Giantorno (Coguetto @ 54')
12. Moises Duque
13. Felipe Sancery
14. Jacobus VanNiekerk (Cremer @ 73')
15. Daniel Sancery (Smanio @ 67')
Brazil | Reserves
16. Daniel Danielewicz
17. Pedro Bengalo
18. Caique Segura
19. Diego Lopez
20. Arthur Bergo
21. Johannes Cremer
22. Luan Smanio
23. Guilherme Coguetto
Men's Eagles | 51
Tries: Davis, Eloff, Lamborn (2), Dolan, Te'o, Campbell, Tiberio
Conversions: Davies, Cima (3)
Brazil | 3
Discipline: Smith (Yellow)
USA Eagles | Americas Rugby Championship