BURNABY, British Columbia - Mike Te'o scored three tries in a 12-try rivalry affair Saturday night as the Men's Eagles improved to 3-0 in the Americas Rugby Championship with a 51-34 defeat of Canada.
Head Coach John Mitchell's squad's first game away from home began with a quick blitz and saw the Eagles equal their points total from last weekend's victory over Brazil, but the number of tries conceded was the most for the national team since Rugby World Cup 2015. The fifth consecutive defeat of Canada, with the four-try bonus point, keeps the Eagles tied atop the Americas Rugby Championship standings with Argentina XV. The traveling continues for the U.S. with a matchup in Santiago, Chile, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 25.
Ryan Matyas was one of just a few changes to Mitchell's starting XV from the eight-try defeat of Brazil. In camp but not fit to play until this weekend, Matyas made the most of his first appearance since 2016 with the opening try. The Eagles held Canada from advancing with the restart ball and Te'o opened a gap with a skip pass. Captain Todd Clever offered the final offload to the onrushing Matyas from the wing for a 7-0 lead after three minutes.
Before the Canadian crowd could digest the first try, Nate Brakeley stole Canada's lineout. It took just a couple of passes for Bryce Campbell and JP Eloff to put Te'o through for his first try of the match. Shaun Davies was able to convert the first of the two tries, and Will Magie extended the lead to 15-0 with an 11th-minute penalty kick.
Canada - in one of its few early possessions - benefitted from a U.S. penalty from the ensuing restart, but fly half Robbie Povey's attempt at points stayed outside of the posts. The home side worked its way into the match minutes later, however, as the No. 10 dummied a pass while the Eagles pushed forward. Povey broke down the field and offloaded to wing Taylor Paris in the face of a tackle for Canada's first try.
Nick Civetta was as effective as his second-row partner in the 17th minute, stealing a lineout that had been brought back to the U.S. half from an Eloff kick. The match official called the Eagles offside on a kick, and successive scrums made room for Canadian scrum half Phil Mack to bring the score to 15-12.
Penalties hurt the Eagles on both sides of the ball, but both teams were similarly plagued throughout the match. A Canadian knock at the end of the long run in the 25th minute preceded a back-and-forth series of scrums in the U.S. half. Davies took a tap in the 31st minute as the Canadians threw their bodies around in the contact area before slotting a penalty from another offense.
Lamborn conceded a penalty not far into the Eagles' side of the field a few minutes from the end of the first frame, allowing Povey to bring the score to 18-15. Magie almost added three points to his tally in the 37th minute with a drop goal during an advantage, but the attempt missed, and play went back to the infraction. The Eagles went for touch as Canadian captain Ray Barkwill was sent to the bin for a separate transgression, and Tony Purpura recorded his first international try from the maul.
The 10-point lead at halftime, 25-15, was not going to be enough to see out a victory. The Eagles were kept from driving their scrum closer than 10 meters from the line five minutes after the break, and a penalty advantage gave Magie the impetus to send a cross-field kick to the try zone. Canadian full back Brock Staller was in the kick's trajectory but could not account for the leap of Nate Augspurger at the try line. The wing knocked the ball backwards out of the air to keep it in play, and Te'o was the first to it for his second try and a 30-15 lead.
Set-piece dominance was again rewarded in the 53rd minute when Clever dotted down from a maul. Davies converted the Eagles' fifth try as the match official discussed Canada's play with Barkwill. Canada used a scrum to find its way back on the scoreboard, from which Paris doubled his tally with a run past Davies and Eloff. The winger's second try of the game cut the U.S. lead to 37-20.
The reserves have played vital roles in the Eagles' Americas Rugby Championship performances, with a combined 13 points conceded in the final frame through two matches. John Quill started in the opening games against South American opposition and scored his second international try seconds after being inserted Saturday. A lengthy attack by the forwards caused Canadian ill-discipline, but the attack continued before the whistle could blow and was finished off by Quill for a 44-20 lead.
Te'o's hat-trick try was sandwiched by scores from Canada's George Barton and No. 8 Admir Cejvanovic, bringing the score to 51-34 when it was all said and done. Te'o was recognized as the Man of the Match having elevated his international scoring tally to seven tries.
Five points from Saturday's clash gives the Eagles 14 in the Americas Rugby Championship standings. Argentina XV's bonus-point victory against Chile keeps the two countries tied for first place. Chile, 0-3 in the competition, will welcome the Eagles to Santiago next Saturday, Feb. 25, at Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo. The match will be broadcast live on The Rugby Channel.
Men's Eagles | v. Canada
1. Anthony Purpura (Waldren @ 57')
2. Peter Malcolm (Hilterbrand @ 50')
3. Chris Baumann (Tarr @ 50')
4. Nate Brakeley
5. Nick Civetta (Mahoni @ 66')
6. Todd Clever (C) (Tameilau @ 57')
7. Tony Lamborn (Quill @ 61')
8. Cameron Dolan
9. Shaun Davies (Davis @ 73')
10. Will Magie
11. Nate Augspurger
12. JP Eloff
13. Bryce Campbell
14. Ryan Matyas (Cima @ 47')
15. Mike Te'o
Canada | v. USA
1. Rob Brouwer (Sears @ 50')
2. Ray Barkwill (C) (Piffero @ 59')
3. Matt Tierney (Keith @ 66')
4. Conor Keys
5. Reegan O'Gorman
6. Lucas Rumball
7. Ollie Nott (Albornoz @ 59')
8. Admir Cejvanovic
9. Phil Mack (McRorie @ 55')
10. Robbie Povey
11. Taylor Paris (Barton @ 67')
12. Guiseppe Du Toit
13. Nick Blevins
14. Dan Moor
15. Brock Staller
Canada | Reserves
16. Benoit Piffero
17. Djustice Sears
18. Cole Keith
19. Liam Chisholm
20. Lucas Albornoz
21. Gordon McRorie
22. Gradyn Bowd
23. George Barton
Men's Eagles | 51
Tries: Matyas, Te'o (3), Purpura, Clever, Quill
Conversions: Davies (5)
Penalties: Magie, Davies
Canada | 34
Tries: Paris (2), Mack, Barton, Cejvanovic
Conversions: Povey, McRorie (2)
Discipline: Barkwill (Yellow)
USA Eagles | Americas Rugby Championship