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On Memorial Day, 1978, in Baltimore, the USA welcomed Canada for a second Test match, a year and a week from the first contest played in Vancouver 1977. The Eagles had lost their first three international games to Australia, France, and Canada.
The previous 1977 autumn tour to Britain indicated that rugby on an international level was more difficult than the neophyte USA squad imagined, especially after a 37-11 drubbing by a second England XV.
But on a narrow pitch not regulation width (deservedly criticized by American ruggers), the Eagles – particularly, the forwards – displayed spirit and achievement to defeat Canada 12-7. It marked the USA’s first ever Test victory.
The Eagles led from start to finish, scoring nine points in the first half from a try (4 points in 1978), conversion, and a thirty-meter penalty from Dennis Jablonski. The Canadians scored on a try and penalty to make it 9-7 at the break.
The Eagles scored again on a penalty from Jablonski in a second period where the overly anxious Canadians gave up ten penalties. Both teams battled evenly without scoring.
For the jubilant Eagles the win was tinged with sadness from the memory of deceased former USA captain Craig Sweeney.
A decent crowd of 5,300 were in attendance to record this first Eagle rugby victory. In the next ten-matches versus the Canadians, the USA would go 1-8-1 against the more experienced northern neighbor.
But on that May 28, 1978, Memorial Day, the triumphant outcome would be forever memorial in USA rugby history.