Springboks clip Eagles’ wings at RWC
The South African Springboks sit atop the pool after a comprehensive 64-0 victory over the U.S.A. Eagles on Wednesday at the Rugby World Cup inside London’s Olympic Park.
As the Eagles dissect what went wrong in the second half — conceding eight tries — after going into the break trailing just 14-0, they will have an eye on their last match of this campaign against the “Brave Blossoms.”
The goal set down by USA rugby was to notch at least one win in pool play, aim to finish third and earn automatic qualification into RWC 2019 in Japan and build momentum as the rugby train continues to drive the sport here at home.
USA was tenacious in the first half, recording possession and territory bragging rights. If only the kicks had gone through the posts, a harsh penalty try had not been awarded and a yellow card given to Bryan Habana for a blatant penalty on a player in the air, it could have been a very different story.
Instead, the Springboks emerged from the sheds, scored a converted try within one minute of the restart, and it was catch-up rugby from that point on for the Eagles.
Local Steamboat Springs Rugby Club member Chris Baumann played the entire match in the No. 3 jersey, and although USA still had its struggles at scrum time, Baumann led the defensive effort and the tackle count with 16 bruising hits. The scrum is an eight-man effort, and with more technical work and experience in this area, USA will gain the front foot ball they require from the forwards to unleash its dangerous attacking backs.
If you struggle at set piece, it’s always going to be a challenge, especially against the effective rushing defense of the Springboks.
The USA Eagles will play the Japan Brave Blossoms at 1 p.m. Sunday, local time, in their final match of the RWC ’15. There is nothing but pride on the line for this match, so expect the Eagles to soar.
Julian Bristow is the coach of the Steamboat Springs Rugby Club and will be following the Rugby World Cup for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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