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In September 2006, the USA Men’s Team won back to back weekend tournaments against Uruguay to qualify for the 2007 Rugby World Cup scheduled for France. The Eagles would play in Pool A against England, South Africa, Samoa, and Tonga. Peter Thorburn served as head coach. Dave Willington lead the conditioning.
In the opener against Los Teros (a local bird) in Montevideo, the USA won decisively 42-13 with Captain Mike Hercus (Newport-Gwent Dragons) leading the way with 17-points. Wingers Paul Emerick and Jeff Hullinger notched three-tries each.
Uruguay lead 13-11 at the break, but the USA dominated the second half with 31 points for and no points against.
A week later, the teams met up in Palo Alto, California, for the second match. The Eagles again triumphed easily with a 33-7 win against the visitors. Mike Hercus scored 13-points (two conversions and three penalties). Tries came from Emerick (2) and Vaha Eskia (2). At one point in the second half, the Eagles played with 13-men as two players were yellow carded.
A year later, the Eagles would lose all four RWC matches and finish on the bottom of Pool A. The Eagles played tough against Samoa (21-25), Tonga (15-25), and only lost 28-10 to defending RWC champion, England.
That year, South Africa won their second RWC crown, beating England in the final. Of note was Argentina’s third place result, winning the bronze medal against host France.