Here are a couple of videos from the tailgate party prior to the Eagles Russia RWC match in New Plymouth.
BOULDER, Colo. – The USA Eagles showed tremendous heart to defeat Russia 13-6 at Stadium Taranaki and record their first win at the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). It was a huge team performance from the Eagles in very wet conditions which saw a fantastic Mike Petri try, and the boot of Chris Wyles giving the United States their third win in RWC history.
“Delighted with the win and the performance of the team. We retained our intensity and work rate from the Ireland game. We knew Russia would play to the very end, and we prepared for that eventuality. We had Russian under pressure on numerous occasions, but they defended really well and made us work for every score we got,” said Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan.
Russia started the match off fiercely resulting in a successful third minute penalty from flyhalf Yury Kushnarev. The Eagles came straight back strongly, using dangerous wings James Paterson and Taku Ngwenya in sweeping attacking movements. It was off a great platform setup by the forwards that created space out wide for Roland Suniula to bust through near the halfway line. The flyhalf found his brother, Andrew, who broke through the defense and sent Mike Petri into open space. The scrumhalf did superbly carrying a tackler over the line to score a fantastic team try for the Eagles. Wyles converted putting the USA up 10-3 after 20 minutes.
The intensity at the contact point was as intense as ever, with so much riding on this battle. The Eagles had two more penalties in the Russian half, but were unable to add to their lead as the first half ended. The Russians had to make 83 tackles compared to the Eagles 33 in the first period.
Despite the conditions, the packed crowd witnessed some beautiful rugby during the evening. The Eagles dominated possession, using width on attack, and the constant pressure led to another penalty from Chris Wyles.
Russia fought back strongly near fulltime, kicking three points through center Konstantin Rachkov. They got very close to the Eagles tryline, but two magnificent lineout steals from John van der Giessen haulted the attack. The Eagles defended bravely for the remaining minutes, until victory arrived at Stadium Taranaki.
Todd Clever had another massive game leading the Eagles. The tight forwards were excellent at the set pieces, and the backline moved the ball around during difficult conditions. The try by Petri was brilliant backline support, and Wyles produced an outstanding performance returning from injury. The Man-of-the-Match was veteran prop Mike MacDonald who had another barn stormer. MacDonald also equaled the record for the most RWC appearances of 10 matches, set by Alec Parker.
“We now have some time to rest a lot of tired bodies and get ready for the Australia game.” said O’Sullivan.
The Eagles will face the Australia on September 23 in Wellington.
Live scoring of USA Eagles vs Ireland at http://twitter.com/#!/usrugbynz – Go Eagles!
Here are some shots just taken from Taranaki stadium:
An iron curtain has gone up between Taranaki energy industry workmates Dmitry Molokhov and Lance Johnson.
The pair work just metres apart at Shell Todd Oil Services Ltd in New Plymouth, and under normal circumstances they’re great mates.
But this week things are different. They’ve drawn a thin blue line on the office carpet – even dubbed it the Iron Curtain – and now they’re indulging in a Cold War of words from either side of the line.
And the reason? The United States meet Russia in a Rugby World Cup game at Stadium Taranaki tonight.
It’s all part of a whole series of fun activities going on inside STOS headquarters where – in a perfect illustration of the diversity of nationalities working in the energy industry in New Zealand – every country participating in the RWC is represented in the staff of more than 300.
Mr Molokhov, a reservoir engineer from St Petersburg, Russia, has been in New Plymouth for about a year after shifting from Perth, and up until now his only real contact with rugby was the time he reversed his car into a vehicle driven by a member of the Western Force super-15 team.
But now he’s a real fan, and he’s hoping for big things from Russia tonight.
“I hope it’s a tough game, maybe with a little Cold War tension,” he said yesterday.
Meanwhile American Mr Johnson, a geologist from Florida who has lived in Taranaki for four years, is confident USA will win.
“We’ve already beaten the Russians once this year and I think we’ll do it again,” he said.
But he’s a little worried that already, Mr Molokhov might have pinched one of the USA fans.
“My three-year-old son Asher came into work the other day to see all the World Cup displays, and Dmitry gave him a Russian flag that he’s now got on his bedroom wall,” he said.
“When I asked him the other night who he wanted to win, he said America – and Russia.”
- Taranaki Daily News
Here is the Press Conference with Eagles Captain Todd Clever and forwards coach Dave Hodges ahead of today’s clash with Russia:
I was extremely proud of the US. The team defensive performance was truly magnificent. The Eagles were well prepared to disrupt and compete at the tackle, where Todd Clever set the example as a captain and the entire squad responded. The team held up against a strong Irish onslaught led by O’Connell’s mighty performance at lock.
Offensively Mike Petri did a good job putting the ball in behind the Irish while Paul Emerick took on the legendary Brian O’Driscoll and created such good go forward ball. The superior Irish scrum put us under immense pressure but we we won some quality line-out possession and the team pattern was effective, using hit up and decoy runners.
O’Gara made a difference when he substituted into the game putting us under pressure with his classic territorial kicking. However the Eagles also put pressure on themselves with turnover ball.
Obviously on 9-11 there was a unique feel to the day and its historic relevance.
The Eagles will go into the Russia game knowing they need to produce the same intensity and improve their first phase possession, especially the scrum. It’s a momumental opportunity and I believe the US can win by 10-12 points.
There is a Press Conference with the USA Eagles tomorrow ahead of their Pool C clash with Russia on Thursday.
If you have any questions for the team, please post below and we will do our very best to ask them. Then keep an eye out on USRugbyNZ.com over the next few days for the video with your answers.
Go the Eagles!
By Jarrod Beckstrom, USA Rugby
WORCESTER, England – Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has made four changes to his starting team ahead of Saturday’s important clash with Russia at Sixways Stadium.
The USA v. Russia match will kick off at 7:00 a.m. ET on June 18 and will be broadcast live online at www.universalsports.com and on tape delay on Universal Sports at 12 p.m. ET. Both the USA and Russia know there is more to this match than meets the eye, as the next time these two teams will see each other will be on September 15 on the world’s biggest stage, the Rugby World Cup.
The last time these two countries faced off in June of 2010, the Eagles ran out 39-22 winners. The Eagles will, however, be without veteran fullback Chris Wyles (Saracens) and wing Taku Ngwenya (Biarritz), who both scored tries in that victory, and also Hayden Smith (Saracens), Samu Manoa (San Francisco Golden Gate) and Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie).
The Eagles will be looking for more consistency in their play, with many of the combinations tested last week having another opportunity to work together.
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