Men's Eagles
14 14
Ireland
55 24
Men's Eagles  @ Aviva Stadium
Autumn Internationals
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Men's Eagles handed first test match loss of 2018

DUBLIN, IRE. - On a chilly night at Aviva Stadium, the USA Men's Eagles were handed their first loss of 2018 at the hands of a skillful Irish side. In their final contest of the November Internationals 2018, the United States men were unable to overcome the powerful set piece pressure and sharp offensive attack that led Ireland to a 14-57 victory. 

The conclusion to a season that surpassed all expectations -- with the Eagles making history in every international test window -- the loss still doesn't hinder the most successful season of all time for the United States men. 

"Pretty disappointed in the scoreline, not necessarily in that we didn't win the game against a really good Irish team. I just think that some of the stuff we've been really good at this year -- which is exerting the pressure and playing in the right areas of the field -- when we did that well, we were reasonably in the game. And when we didn't do that well, we spilled possession," said Head Coach Gary Gold. 

"An event like this is a huge occasion for many of our young guys and so we'll learn from that. But, we can only play who we've got in front of us and from our point of view we're very grateful that we asked on to get these kinds of games and play against quality opposition like this and I think it'll only do us a huge amount of good." 

Ireland was first on the board when an opening on the right flank allowed them to run down the middle, break a tackle and dot down, 7-0. Called for not rolling away several minutes later, the Irish gave USA an opportunity to kick for points but the ball went wide. 

The Eagles finally claimed points of their own when a perfect lineout throw by Joe Taufete'e allowed him to reclaim the ball and crush his way through the opposition to make it, 7-7.

With the scoreline even and plenty of time to play, the Irish were quick to answer back. On a wide break on the left side, Ireland overcame a U.S. tackle and kept their attack flowing on the right edge to punch the ball in, 7-14. 

Punished by a penalty on a driving maul, the Irish next gave up a penalty try to the United States to even the score again. But, an offsides call on USA allowed Ireland to go for posts and the home team had once again reclaimed the lead, 17-14. 

The Irish notched one more just before halftime with their No. 8 finding space down the middle to runaway with a 24-14 lead. 

Despite a few critical moments, the United States had capped off a good first half of play. With an opportunity to build on moments of strength in the first half, the Eagles still had every chance of walking away with another victory. 

When play resumed, however, the tables had quickly turned as a hard knock to Joe Taufete'e forced him to be carted off the pitch. 

The Irish were vigilant through the remainder of the game, using unmatched pressure to force three consecutive scrum penalties and nail another try. 

An error-ridden second half stopped a multitude of opportunities for the United States, paving the way for Ireland to drive in another four unanswered tries. The scoreline could have been increased once more; less a forward pass on a breakaway, chip-kick score that was called back by the TMO. 

With the Irish up 50-14 and one final play to go, the U.S. defense put up a final fight but couldn't contain one last Ireland try, 55-14. 

Though the United States men did not conclude their 2018 year in the way they'd hoped, the loss does little to erase the heroic victories that captured the season. 

Opening the year by claiming their second consecutive Americas Rugby Championship title -- the only team to have done so by winning all five matches -- certainly charted a remarkable course. 

Then, a historic upset over then-No. 6 Scotland saw the stars align for the team still unbeaten to challenge the very best of the best. Accompanied by their first-ever win over Samoa, the United States ultimately climbed to their highest ever placing of No. 13 in the world rankings. 

It goes without saying that this will be the greatest year yet for the U.S. Men's National Team. But, as Head Coach Gary Gold approaches his second season, with the horizons opening to Rugby World Cup Japan 2019, one thing is undeniable: with one chapter already written, the larger story still lies ahead.

U.S. Men's National Team Staff

Head Coach | Gary Gold
Assistant Coach | Shawn Pittman
Assistant Coach | Greg McWilliams
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison
Head Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Assistant Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan
Team Doctor | Richard Kim (Romania & Ireland)
Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz (Samoa, Romania & Ireland)
Team Manager | Chris Hanson
Assistant Team Manager | Kevin McCorry

U.S. Men's National Team Schedule

vs Maori All Blacks | 22-59 (L)
vs Samoa | 30-29 (W)
vs Romania | 31-5 (W)
vs Ireland | 57-14 (L)