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The Eagles' contest against Japan will mark the 20th game of these mid-tier nations that are in the same 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool. The USA hold an 11-7-1 record, but Japan have won the last four games, and moved to 12th in IRB rankings, six places above the USA in 18th.
Rugby Today looks back on three of the matches.
April 21, 1985 (Tokyo) - Eagles 16 - Japan 15: A crowd of 25,000 filled Prince Chichibu Rugby Stadium to watch this first ever game between the national sides. The Eagles had won the first five games of this historic tour against clubs and a Japan B side. The USA enjoyed a 16-9 lead but Japan notched two late penalties to make it 16-15. The home team missed a 35-meter penalty that went wide, and the game ended a minute later.
USA 1 to 15: Horwatth, J. Everett, Paoli, Swords, Shiflet, W. Everett (c), Warhurst. Deaton, Bateman, Meyersieck, Jefferson, Helu, Shanager, Higgins, Inns and Brendel replaced Paoli. Ron Mayes, Coach.
July 15, 1996 (San Francisco) - Eagles 74 - Japan: The Rugby Magazine headline said it all, 'SAYONARA!!!" Having lost to the Japanese 24 - 18 in the first round of the 1996 Pacific Rim Championship, the Eagles scored at will with seven different players gaining tries. A crowd of 2,400 watched the contest at Balboa Park. Matt Alexander led the scoring with 24 points, (one try, eight conversions, and one penalty kick.) The man of the match was winger Vaea Anitoni who ran in four tries.
USA 1 to 15: Lippert, Billups, LeClerc, Gross, Parker, Lyle (c), Tardits, Lumkong, Bachelet, Alexander, Delai, Scharrenberg, Green, Antinoni, and Sika. Lehner, Rendell, and Schram also saw action. Jack Clark, Coach.
November 16, 2008 (Nagoya) - Japan 29 - Eagles 19: Expectations were high when the USA travelled to Japan for two test matches. In the first contest, the Cherry Blossoms lead 19-10 at halftime. The Eagles closed the gap to 22-17 but Japan's captain Tkashi Kikutani scored to add seven more points. This marked Suniula's first cap. (NB: The Eagles lost the second match 32-17 in Tokyo).
USA 1 to 15: MacDonald, Crick, Moeakiola, Smith, Parker, Flores, Clever (c), Quinn, Petri, Hercus, DeBartolo, Suniula, Emerick, Ngwenya, and Wyles. Peter Thorburn, Coach.
Remember: Eagles vs. Japan, Saturday, June 14, 2014, at StubHub Center, Carson City (Los Angeles), Television: 7:30 PCT on Universal Television Network