Monday, February 15, 2016

USA Eagles Men: Clever caps Return B-I-G in Comeback; Cima's colossal kicks cause Canada concern

Todd Clever returned to international duty in a golden way as the XVs captain's three, second stanza scores enabled the Eagles to secure victory over a doughty Rugby Canada on Saturday evening at Dell Diamond Stadium in Round Rock, Texas. Clever, at openside flanker, dotted a trio of trys prior to the hour mark to lead his squad to the 30-22 win at the park on the north side of the Greater Austin Metropolitan Area.
Glendale Raptors Chad London ( 1st Eagle try from his outside center spot) and Niko Kruger (last score, a sticksplitter for 3 working the scrumhalf slot) bookended Clever's effort. Kruger added one conversion, while a conversion and a penalty from flyhalf James Bird accounted for the remainder of the US tally. 
Ben Cima, at #10, kicked the Under-20s into the Junior World Cup (JWC) with a stunning 55-meter penalty at the death to steal the win from Rugby Canada U20s. The victory earned the squad a trip to Zimbabwe for the JWC that takes place from April 19 through May 1.
Cima opened scoring in the second minute with a sticksplitter from midfield after Canada intentionally skewed the scrum and US were ahead by three.
Penalty count favored Canada early and handling errors disfavored the Americans in that time. Canada snatched the lead on a movement out along their three-quarters line from inclose goal with Flyer Trenton Cooper brushed aside a faux tackle to dot the unconverted grounding, and it was 5-3 for the men of the True North in the 10th minute of action.
The US flyhalf notched another penalty from inside the ten meter line on the right post and a new leader at minute 25, 6-5 for the US.
Mr. Cima extended the US lead with his 3rd penalty of the day from the other side of the posts shortly thereafter and 9-5 for US at 27.
A penalty struck from in front of the posts by Canadian # 10, Robbie Povey, shortened their deficit to one in the 33rd minute.
Short, stodgy and incisive bursts by captain Hanco Germishuys kept the Eagles on the front foot, but swarming defense by their opponents enabled turnover ball. Canada claimed a pair of tighthead puts with the first half closing down, cranking up the pressure inside the American 22.
Canada grabbed the midpoint lead with replacement Peter Milazzo dotting in the corner for Povey's conversion; 15-9 to Canada after a spirited first forty minutes of play and lads to lockers for hydration and instruction at referee Derek Summer's halftime signal.
Canada would want to fix their wonky lineout seizures, while the US must sort their back-slidey, reeling set piece; otherwise a finely contested competition at the half in Dell Diamond.
A dummy by Cima put him through to space and his deft offload to outside center Lorenzo Thomas saw the #13 free to cross-and-dot; the additional deuce from Cima, and US back in front at minute number 50, 16-15.
A smoothly cut line by Thomas brought the pill into the Canadian business district 10 meters from the prizeline, but valiantly effective Canadian defense turned away the American thrust. A concerted effort by Eagles blunted by a penalty and Povey cleared the Canadian lines cleanly.
Povey regained Canada's lead in the 76th minute with a penalty shot; at 18-16 for the visitors the tension ramped-up inside the Diamond.
Yet it was USA Eagles Men's Junior All American U20s who would claim the result, 19-18, after Cima's heroic shot as time expired.
Kudos to U20s head coach, JD Stephenson, on piloting the win!

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