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USA'S GARY BRACKETT IN THE ERU VS. FRANCE GAME

In the summer of 1976, to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the United States, a Test rugby match was arranged between the Eagles and France in Chicago. The game attracted 12,000 fans. This marked the second match between the visiting French XV. The first had been a spirited contest against the Eastern Rugby Union, and a narrow 16-12 loss to France on a late try.  The game was played at the Falls Church High School in Virginia.

For many attending, it came as a surprise to learn that this bicentennial match represented the third Test rugby match between these two nations. The USA defeated a French XV twice in international play, both occasions for gold medals, first at the Antwerp Olympics in 1920 and, a second victory, in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.

France dominated play and won handily 33-14 under the old scoring rules with four-points awarded for a try. The French prevailed three tries to two for the Americans, but numerous penalties against the Eagles allowed Les Bleues to run up the score. France were on top 15-10 at the break.

The second half saw the game score move to France 18-14, with the US still in reach of a closer contest. But the French added six points off a try and a conversion, and three penalties (one a 60-yard penalty) for nine more points.

Ron Bordely and Tom Selfridge enjoyed outstanding games for the Americans. The team was coached by Ray Cornbill.

The final analysis gave the USA high marks for enthusiasm. But the match pointed out the reality that the Eagles were not at the top tier level of international competition.