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John Mitchell’s Eagles routed Brazil 51-3 Saturday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas to move to 2-0 in the Americas Rugby Championship. An eight-try performance avenges the loss to Brazil in the inaugural ARC last year, the biggest upset in World Rugby rankings history.
The game began with a typical ping pong kicking battle, which the USA won, along with a stolen lineout, leading to the opening try. It was debutant wing Spike Davis who crossed the whitewash first, exploiting space out wide and carrying a short distance for the score.
Will Magie added a penalty a few minutes later, as the Eagles continued to control territory, giving the USA an 8-0 lead early on.
Brazil lost a second row to the sin bin for repeated infringements, giving the already superior American pack a man advantage. However, Brazil managed to earn a scrum penalty, made possible by a knocked-on high ball from wing Nate Augspurger, and a shot at goal, which was missed. Magie returned the favor by missing a point blank penalty kick in the 24th minute.
Brazil continued to struggle to earn any ground with ball in hand, resorting almost exclusively to the kicking game. A box kick was punished when JP Eloff slipped through an arm tackle, kept his balance and raced in for the USA’s second try of the half. Again, the conversion was missed, making it 13-0 going into the second half.
The forward dominance paid off early in the second stanza, as a driving maul from an attacking lineout set up a pick-and-go try for openside flanker Tony Lamborn. Magie’s kick missed, making him 1-for-5 on the day and the running tally 18-0 after 45 minutes.
Another scrum penalty, this one with Brazil at full strength, went against the USA. The shot at goal was made, cutting the deficit to 18-3.
Reserve No. 8 Cam Dolan wound up slamming driving over a second forwards try in the 58th minute. He scored on a pick-and-jam to end a drive started by a clean line break by preserve prop Chris Baumann. The conversion was again missed, and the Eagles led 23-3.
Even with a brand new front row of Baumann, Peter Malcolm and Tony Purpura, the scrum issues didn’t go away. In the 63rd minute a five-meter scrum from Brazil resulted in a penalty against the USA, Brazil opted for another pack down and was held up in the try zone a phase later. With his team’s back against the wall, fullback Mike Te’o then made a timely interception to reverse field position.
That score opened the floodgates, as the onslaught was short in coming. Minutes later, Lamborn completed his brace of tries, catching a no-look offload from Shaun Davies, who took possession from Augspurger following a break.
After the restart, Augspurger quick-tapped a penalty near midfield and flashed upfield before feeding Te’o for the sixth try. Ben Cima converted both penalties, pushing the USA up 37-3.
Outside center Bryce Campbell was the next to reach pay dirt. Brazil had just gained advantage following an American knock-on, and an attempt to go wide was intercepted by Campbell, who strided out the rest of the way.
On the last play of the game, debutant Peter Tiberio scored from 10 meters out. Cima added another, making it four-from-four for him on the day.
The result sees the USA keep pace with the Argentina XV, also 2-0 with nine points, in the ARC table. Up next for the Eagles is rival Canada Saturday in Burnaby Lake, British Columbia.