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It’s a mistake to think that because Ireland beat Australia 15-6 on Saturday, and the USA lost to Ireland 20-10, that the Eagles should be within a point of the Wallabies on September 23.

Certainly no one would assume that’s going to happen.

But … two things do come out of that game that the Eagles could possibly learn from:

1. Ireland defense is pretty darned great. So the fact that the USA could only score one try again said Irish turns out to be a pretty impressive feat. Australia scored zero.

This could force us to revisit the USA offense. Is it just problems on the USA side of the ball that have limited their ability to convert pressure into points? Or is it also the fact they have played against two very good offenses? Likely (as usual) a bit of both, but it’s worth noting that the defense against the Eagles has been good.

Keep plugging away, then, and they might break through … especially against Italy September 27.

2. Australia can be stopped. As impressive as the Irish defensive effort has been, it’s not anything over and above what anyone else is capable of. The Eagles have played good defense, too. They held Russia tryless, and really only came close to giving up a try once – thanks to a charge-down.

Clearly it would take a Herculean effort to prevent Australia from scoring a try through 80 minutes, but it is possible.

Having seen the fruits of an all-out performance in two games, the Eagles might now take heart in the Ireland v. Australia result, and figure that maybe defense can carry them through to something special.