The USA Eagles start off on the best possible foot, with a resounding victory over Rugby World Cup-bound Russia.
This 2018 Summer Series was the first opportunity to see the affect of the United States’ new professional rugby competition Major League Rugby. The USA Eagles have more players actively playing professionally than at any time before. In the opening match of the summer series, this seems to have improved their form.
Russia may have scored the first try, but the United States answered back quickly and often scoring nine tries during the 62-13 victory. This gave the USA Eagles their biggest win over Russia in the pairings history.
Scoring was an ‘all hands required’ affair
Of the nine tries, seven different players dotted the ball down across the try line. Marcel Brache scored his first and second international tries early on in the second half. Paul Lasike has continued to impress since debuting for the Eagles during the American Rugby Championship. Lasike has scored three tries in his five appearances in the USA jersey.
(Note: the below video may not be available in all regions)
The try split was also well balanced between forwards and backs headed by a pair of tries by Joe Taufete’e of the Worcester Warriors.
Eric Fry may not have had a try to his name, but he is the major reason for John Quill’s try mid way through the first half. Big Marcel Brache (see below image) was always a handful on the wing, scoring twice and showed the experience gained in Super Rugby will make him ‘an ace up Gary Gold’s sleeve’.
What a way to start a home stand. ??
Men's National Team soars over Russia for first win of the #SummerSeries.
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) June 10, 2018
The great performances were not limited to the try scorers through. AJ MacGinty and Will Magie had good kicking days with 6/8 and 3/3 completion respectively. Shaun Davies also had a great performance with fast accurate ball. He also had many significant line breaks to his name. In the second half we were even treated to Austin Elite Superstar Hanco Germishuys swapping from his known flanker position to Hooker once Taufete’e left the match.
The best possible start to the 2018 Summer Series
Its easy to see the improvement that even just one partial season of professional rugby has had on the USA so far. The quality of passing by players like Dylan Audsley and Nate Augspurger, showed the growing experience between players.
The improved fitness of the Eagles is the best sign for things to come. Having to play for 80 minutes week in and week out, helps for the internationals to play from whistle to whistle. It will also realize which players truly have ‘the Soul for Rugby’ as they are tested, on the International scene.
USA Eagles 62 – Tries: Taufete’e (2), Lasike, Quill, Brache (2), Augsburger, Dolan, Scully; Conversions: AJ MacGinty (4) Will Magie (3); Penalty: MacGinty
Russia 13 – Try: Mikhail Babaev; Cons: Yuri Kushnarev; Pens: Kushnarev (2)
“Main photo credit – Al Miligan/KLC Fotos (courtesy of US Rugby)”