Men's Eagles
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Men's Eagles  @ Starfire Sports
Americas Rugby Championship

Men's Eagles fall short of Uruguay in Seattle

TUKWILA, WA - It was a crisp night in Seattle as the Men's Eagles kick off to Uruguay in the latest installment of America Rugby Championship (ARC). The US fell short to a tough Uruguayan side 25-32, and ultimately surrendered the second seed in the ARC rankings. A touch stretch here in 2019, Head Coach Gary Gold noted on where the United States sits when taking the pitch, “as last year’s winners coming in, we’re targeted. We have to deal with that. It is a learning curve, and a tough one at that.” “We wanted to improve from last year, and we haven’t done that. But in saying that, this is a time that you learn the toughest lessons.” “as we build up to the world cup, those lessons are worth it.” 

Uruguay felt pressure from the US immediately and answered with a quick clearance kick. The US pushed their first possession across the 50 meter line. A US penalty allowed Uruguay an attempt at as 52 meter penalty kick. Frederico Favaro’s kick rang off the post, and the US dodged an early bullet.

This scenario was somewhat foreshadowing, and both teams threatened deep, but un-earned penalties brought the attacks short. Uruguay found themselves deep in US territory and after a few pick-and-go’s, Loosehead Prop Mateo Sanguinetti finds a hole in the US line for the first score of the night. Favaro adds the conversion for Uruguay as they began their quest against the reigning ARC champions. 0-7 (5’)

USA were back on the attack and a bruising run by Blaine Scully got them to the Uruguay 22. An Uruguay penalty this time, and the Eagles elected for a kick to touch. The ensuing line-out showed the strength of the US forwards as they mauled to the goal line. Hooker Joe Taufete’e broke away and smashed through the Uruguay line for a try. Taufete’e’s try breaks the test record for tries by a front row forward. The conversion crosses the face of the posts, and the Eagles remain behind 5-7 (10’)

There was a fire that had started in the US line, and it shows as they pressed and looked to maintain possession. Uruguay felt the heat, resorting to kicking the ball away when they had any sort of possession.
Uruguay had an attack halted by a knock-on into US hands. USA capitalized with a beautiful up-and-under, which pinned Uruguay back and into touch. USA line-out and maul combination proves lethal once again and the Eagles took the lead as Scully broke the line for a try. 10-7 (14’)

Another USA penalty and Uruguay wanted to answer back with a line-out of their own, testing the mettle of their forwards. The maul is stalled by the US, but a US infraction puts them to another test. The US forwards again hold strong as the attacking maul goes nowhere. Uruguay was forced to get the ball out wide, where a racing back-line was unable to collect the ball, knocking it on to relieve the pressure on the US.

Eagle attacks showed strength and precision. Uruguay’s defense had a hard time handling the piercing runs. Eagle infractions dampened many USA chances which was evident as another penalty gives Favaro a chance to tie the game for Uruguay. Favaro’s kick failed to find its way through the posts, and the score remained.

The Eagle’s sigh of relief was short lived however, as the ensuing 22-meter drop out found it’s way right into the hands of a unyielding offense. Uruguay had several line breaks and Favaro found a weakness in the defensive line for another 5 points to his tally. Favaro’s conversion attempt failed, again banging off the post, and Uruguay once again took the lead 10-12. (29’)

After some more back and forth, Flanker Hanco Germishuys chased a kick deep into Uruguay territory. Germishuys was able to charge the kick from a scrambling fullback and the ball sailed to the back of the endzone.

A few phases into the ensuing USA possession and an Uruguay penalty allowed Will Hooley to add three points as the Eagles took the lead again 13-12. (33’)

The restart shows a determined US side as they streaked back to midway. A frantic Uruguay defense gained possession and they show muster. Flyhalf Juan Manuel Cat took advantage of the surge in pressure and broke through for a Uruguay try. The conversion by Andres Vilaseca was good and Uruguay took the lead into halftime 13-19. (40’)

Uruguay took the first half momentum into the second half as Favaro added his second try of the evening, capping off his 12-point night. Vilaseca missed the angled conversion and Uruguay increased their lead 13-24. (42’)

On the restart, the USA defense was back at it, holding Uruguay in their own side. The eagles capitalized on a short clearing kick and marched down to the 5-meter line. A Uruguay penalty allowed the US forwards to once again prove themselves with a line-out right outside the Uruguay try line. The ensuing maul was successful, and Taufete’e added another try to his record. Hooley’s conversion was wide as the Eagles chipped at the Uruguay lead 18-24. (46’)

Both sides put up a defensive front as neither side could find an answer to the other’s equations. USA attacks were stalled and scrums lost with fruitless penalties. The Eagles showed some promise when a mishandled ball by Uruguay put them in a line-out on their own 5-meter line. A short throw is read perfectly as the US held fast in Uruguay territory.

The US was unable to capitalize on any positive play, but a sneaky up and under by Uruguay had the Eagles on the back foot. The ball found it’s way into the hands of Nicolas Freitas, who races to the corner for a Uruguay try. The conversion is unsuccessful, and Uruguay’s lead is back to 11, 18-29. (66’)

Uruguay was penalized with a yellow card at the 71 minute mark, forcing them to finish the game a man down. The eagles were able to capitalize on this mismatch, pressing against a frantic Uruguay defense. After a few phases, a streaking Scully collected five points on the end. Will Magie added the conversion, and the US whittled the deficit 25-29 (75’)

Time was the USA’s biggest enemy now as they pressed hard. A foul play call against Uruguay gave the US a chance to end the game on a positive note, but the Eagles failed to maintain possession. Uruguay held on to the ball as the clocked ticked down.

The clocked hit 79’ and a USA penalty sealed their fate. Vilaseca took his time and kicked the penalty kick through the uprights as time expired, completing Uruguay’s upset 25-32. (40’)