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In September 1988, the Men’s Eagles embarked on an autumn trip to Europe where they would play five games in 18-days against two top sides and then, three games against international fifteens in Moscow.
The Eagles finished 3-2 with two important victories coming against Romania and a USSR II fifteen in a four-team, Soviet Sport Tournament. The squad was led by coach Jim Perkins assisted by Bing Dawson. Bob Watkins served as tour Manager.
The tour began with a narrow 13-12 win against Midlands in Bedford, England, won on the last play when numerous off loads landed to winger Barry Williams who scored a try under the posts. Chris O’Brien’s conversion sealed the victory. Midlands fielded five internationals.
The second contest saw the Eagles lose 29-12 to an all-star Paris XV, played in Paris. The French were up 6-4 at the break but changed line out strategy in the second half to short throw ins to offset the Eagles dominance by Swords and Leversee. The Paris XV scored three unanswered tries to increase their lead to 25-8.
Playing for the first time in Russia, the Eagles dominated Romania, winning 17-7, after breaking out to a 9-0 lead, which became 9-7 after Romania rebounded. But the USA prevailed with eight points and the win.
The USA then defeated USSR II 26-9 in Krasny Baltiyets Stadium Moscow. Mark Williams slotted two penalties, and scored a decisive try to give the Eagles a 16-9 lead, enough for the eventual triumph.
Hoping to add a fourth win on the tour, the Eagles lost to USSR I in Fili Stadium Moscow. The Eagles were up 10-0, and overly confident before the dynamic reversed as power and play reverted to the Russians. The home team went ahead 19-16 and, motivated with victory in sight, added 12 more points for the win.
A 3-2 record was a major accomplishment for USA rugby.