Sunday, December 31, 2017

Grins and Chagrins

2017 Grins and Chagrins

USA Eagles v Georgia Lelos: Tbilisi, 11.25.17

…the one that got away…
Perhaps the harshest rugby lesson of the year came during Autumn Tests, that period when Southern Hemisphere nations come north and Western Hemisphere test-XVs head east. Our men’s team had a pair of matches: the first against a German side, ranked 23 in the world, which had taken down #15 Romania, and the second versus the #12-ranked country on World Rugby’s chart, Georgia Lelos.
Eagles looked fine sporting a handful of Glendale Raptors on the starting squad in Wiesbaden on November 18, claiming a deserved, 46-17, triumph. The subsequent weekend in the Georgian capital was another affair entirely.
For down between the Greater and Lesser Caucasuses on the 25th of the month, the Eagles left the best chance for a rising in World Rugby’s ranks on the deck through shoddy defensive effort and errant goal-kicks in a match that was won by Lelos, 21-20. At times, it seemed tackling was a considered option rather than a fundamental and had MacGinty made one of his three misses, that’d have made for the win and certain ascendancy on the global table. Liking Davies at scrumhalf, though; real deal there!

…forward march…
USA Eagles men open the 2018 season with a five weekend, 5-match run squaring off against Argentina in the first round of the Americas Rugby Championship at the StubHub Center (formerly Home Depot Center) in Los Angeles (Carson) on Saturday, February 3 – I go, you go?

Then it’s Canada in Sacramento 2.10 and host duties of Chile in Fullerton (CA) on 2.17 before traveling to Brazil (2.24) and Uruguay (3.3), culminating in (ideally) the Eagles second ARC title in a row.

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