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Eagles Action Against Ebbw Vale

October 1987 marked a USA tour of Wales that would include five club matches before the test game against the Welsh national side, a XV that placed third in the 1987 Rugby World Cup. The American side was captained by Fred Paoli, and Bob Watkins served as the team manager.

The Eagles, anxious to show their abilities to a county well respected for its dynamic rugby history, time and again, encountered more experienced opponents.

The USA lost their first match to Breconshire, Welsh West County champions, which stacked their side with thirteen-division one players, since eligibility rules permitted players born or residing in the county (not necessarily playing for country teams) to play. The home side won the first game 15-9.

The Eagles lost game two to Ebbw Vale 16-14 on late, second half penalties. The USA lost the third contest 25-6 to the Glamorgan Wanderers who kept alive a thirteen game win streak.

This put the visitors at 0-3 with three matches remaining.

Game four pitted the Eagles against the current Welsh champion club, Neath, a club with an eighteen in a row unbeaten home record. Defiant defense lead to the upset, Eagles 15 and Neath 6.

An invigorated Eagles fifteen defeated strong Pembrokeshire side 21-15 with Welsh born Center and flyhalf Mark Williams slotting 17 points. The Eagles at 2-3 gained confidence to confront the Wales National team.

Confidence alone would not carry the tired Eagles who were routed by Wales 46-0 in Cardiff, the battle seasoned Welsh side capitalized on the Eagles lack of top tier test experience.

The USA team against Wales

  1. Horwath          Philly-Whitemarsh
  2. Johnson           Louisville
  3. Paoil                 Denver Barbarians
  4. Swords            Beacon Hill
  5. Zenker             OMBAC
  6. Carlson            Old Blues
  7. Peter                Santa Monica
  8. Vizard               OMBAC
  9. Saunders         OMBAC
  10. Williams          Aspen
  11. Hein*                California
  12. Doherty           Washington
  13. Higgins            OMBAC
  14. Jefferson         Perpignan
  15. Montgomery   Mystic River

(* Replaced by Shanagher - BATS)