Has the US proved that it can hang with the Top Dogs?
The US Men’s Eagles are in the last few months of their preparation for the Rugby World Cup in England. With Captain Chris Wyles, they are hoping to make their mark during the World Rugby Pacific Nation Campaign where they will be playing Samoa and Japan. Both of these teams are in Pool B with the US and will be competing against them in the England in September. Both teams, although ranked higher than the US, should be good opponents for the Men’s Eagles team.
Japan has had a not so good history in the Rugby World Cup. In the history of attending 7 tournaments, they have only had one win and one tie. Although with the growth of the domestic leagues in Japan, they may come out as a stronger force this year so they cannot be thrown aside.
The seemingly disorganized Samoans definitely have the highest chance at success in the World Cup. The Pisi triumvirate can hopefully lead the team out of the group stage this year.
And last, and hopefully not least, the US with a growing XV’s game but an even stronger 7’s side. They haven’t had a strong season thus far but with a history of beating Japan in the World Cup things aren’t looking to bad for the Eagles.
The US team started their season off with a once-in-a-lifetime game against the New Zealand All Black squad. The All Blacks have been ranked #1 for longer than any other ranked team in the World and crushed the Eagles with a whopping 6-74. Still for the Americans this was a game for the books as it was the first game in an NFL venue, and it was sold out with 61,500 witnesses.
One can only hope that by playing such a strong and skilled team, the Eagles learned some moves and skills that they can bring with them in their upcoming games against Japan and Samoa in order to become the first team to pass the group stage in a World Cup. But we can only find out on July 18 when they face Samoa and July 22 when they face Japan in California.
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