United States national rugby union team

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
United States of America
USA Rugby Logo.png
Union USA Rugby
Nickname(s) Eagles
Emblem(s) American bald eagle
Coach(es) Mike Tolkin
Captain(s) Todd Clever
Most caps Mike MacDonald (67)
Top scorer Mike Hercus (465)
Most tries Vaea Anitoni (26)
Team kit
Change kit
First international
 United States 8 – 12 Australia 
(16 November 1912)
Largest win
 United States 91 – 0 Barbados 
(1 July 2006)
Largest defeat
 England 106 – 8 United States 
(21 August 1999)
World Cup
Appearances 6 (First in 1987)
Best result One win in 1987, 2003 and 2011
Official website
www.usarugby.org

The United States men's national rugby union team, nicknamed the Eagles, represents the United States in the sport of rugby union. The national team is controlled by USA Rugby, which is a member of the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association, one of six regional governing bodies under the International Rugby Board. The United States is the reigning Olympic champion in rugby, having won gold at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics.

As of June 5, 2014, the Eagles are ranked 18th in the world by the IRB World Rankings.[1] Their highest ranking, achieved ahead of the 2007 World Cup, was 14th; their lowest ranking was 20th, following a winless campaign in the 2008 Churchill Cup.

The Eagles have qualified for six of the seven Rugby World Cups. Their best finish was 10th in 1987; most recently, they finished 16th in 2011. The United States has expressed interest in hosting a Rugby World Cup, possibly in 2023 or 2027.[2]

Beginning in 2013, the United States began competing in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup. Previously, the U.S. has competed in the now-defunct Churchill Cup and the Pan American Championship.[3]

Early history[edit]

Early years: 1872-1912[edit]

Informal football games such as rugby became popular in the United States in the mid-19th century. Formal rugby union was played, largely by British immigrants, as early as 1872, when there were rugby clubs flourishing in the San Francisco Bay Area, composed mainly of British expatriates. On December 2, 1882, the first Californian representative rugby team to play an outside opponent, took on a group of rugby-playing ex-Britons, who called themselves the Phoenix Rugby Club of San Francisco. California lost to the Phoenix club 7–4.

The sport of rugby union in the United States has always had a close relationship with the sport of American football. Initially, games of rugby, soccer, and hybrid games had been played between American universities, with the first recorded rugby game taking place in May 1874 between Harvard University and McGill University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The game sparked an interest on college campuses nationwide. In 1876 Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia formed the Intercollegiate Football Association, which used the rugby code, except for a slight difference in scoring. In 1886 Harvard's Oscar Shafter Howard introduced these rules to the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.

American football was fierce, and as injuries mounted, the public became alarmed at its brutalities and President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to outlaw the sport. Beginning with the season of 1906, rugby union became the game of choice at Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and several other colleges in California but the sport had died out by the outbreak of World War I.

USA rugby team for the October 1920 test match vs France

The first USA international was played on November 16, 1912 at Berkeley against the Australia national rugby union team (the Wallabies). The visitors won the match 12–8. A year later the U.S. hosted New Zealand at the same venue, but the score was not nearly as close, and the Kiwis ran away with the contest 51–3.

USA Gold at the 1920 and 1924 Olympics[edit]

The USA team that won gold in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.
France vs USA rugby match during the 1924 Summer Olympics

Rugby union had not been played competitively in most of the USA for more than a decade before the 1920 Olympics. The U.S. Olympic committee decided that because "California is the only state playing Rugby in the US, the Committee will give sanction but no financial aid". The U.S. assembled mostly a California based team, with six players from the University of California, Berkeley.[4] The Olympic Games Committee of the Amateur Athletic Union paid the expenses to transport the team from California to the games in Antwerp.[5] By the time the US Rugby team arrived in Europe, Czechoslovakia and Romania had withdrawn from the competition. France and the U.S. were the only teams left to compete. The USA won a shock 8–0 victory over France to earn the gold medal.

The stunned French suggested that the U.S. team tour France, which they did; winning three out of the four matches they played. Between 1920 and 1924, however, rugby union virtually disappeared once again in the U.S., as American football soared in popularity.

The 1924 Paris Olympics caused France to challenge the U.S. to defend its title. Once again, the U.S. Olympic Committee granted permission but no funds. Nonetheless, seven players of the 1920 team dusted off their boots, raised $20,000, found 15 new players including some American football players who had never played in a rugby union match. The assembled U.S. team was again based heavily from Northern California, with 9 Stanford alumni, 5 from Santa Clara, and 3 from Cal.[4] The team headed for England to play some tuneup matches, where they were beaten four times.

The French Olympic Committee (FOC) had scheduled the rugby event to kick off the 1924 Paris Games at Colombes Stadium in Paris. Romania and the U.S. were expected to provide only token opposition for the European champions. On Sunday, May 11, the U.S. pounded Romania 39 to 0, including nine tries.

The final was played at Colombes Stadium on May 18 before an estimates crowd of 30,000 - 50,000 that had gathered to watch the rugby final and the awarding of the first medal of the 1924 Olympics.[4][6] Bookmakers set the odds at five to one with a 20 point spread.[7] However, the Americans were not intimidated, and the American captain Babe Slater wrote in his diary before the match "we are sure going to let them know they have been in a battle."[4] Despite the odds, the U.S. team started well, led by captain Colby "Babe" Slater, and led 3-0 at the half. Heavy tackling by the Americans, derived from American football, intimidated and exhausted the French, as the U.S. scored four tries in the second half to defeat the French 17-3.[8] Rare vintage film footage of the 1924 gold medal match was released in the documentary, "A Giant Awakens: the Rise of American Rugby".

Shortly after the 1924 Olympics, however, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) removed rugby union as an Olympic sport. Without the Olympic incentive, the sport's growth in America collapsed and the game remained dormant.

Modern History[edit]

The 1960s and 1970s[edit]

The sport then enjoyed a renaissance, beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the 1970s. This created the need for a national governing body to represent the USA in the International rugby community. Four territorial organizations formed the United States of America Rugby Football Union (now known as USA Rugby) in 1975. The first Eagles match was played in Anaheim in 1976 against Australia, the Wallabies won 24–12.

The USA also performed well against France in Chicago, losing the game 33–14. The next season the Eagles played two internationals, one against England (XV-not capped) at Twickenham on their 1977 United States rugby union tour of England, which they lost 37–11, and the other against Canada, which they also lost, 17–6. The USA played the Canadians again in 1978, and defeated them 12–7 in Baltimore. They then travelled to Canada in 1979 and lost 19–12 in Toronto.

The 1980s[edit]

The national team came to further prominence during the 1980s, and from the start of the decade, were playing a notably larger number of games every season. They did however lose all three of their games in 1980, all at home. They could not muster up a win in 1981 either, losing 3–6 to Canada, and 7–38 to South Africa. In 1982, the USA drew Canada 3-3. They travelled to Australia in 1983 to play the Wallabies, and lost 49–3 in Sydney. The U.S. played its first-ever match against Japan in 1985, winning 16-15 at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.[9] Key players included Tom Selfridge, Dan Wack, Tommy Smith, Jack Jensen, and the Sianos—Stephen and Mark.[citation needed]

The USA was invited by the IRB to participate in 1987 in the first ever Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and Australia. The USA were in pool 1, alongside co-hosts Australia, England and Japan. The USA won their first ever World Cup game, defeating Japan 21–18 at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane, with fullback Ray Nelson scoring 13 points.[10] The USA lost both subsequent matches; 47–12 against the Wallabies and 34–6 against England. The USA finished 3rd in the pool, out of contention for the quarterfinals.

The Eagles first met Wales at Cardiff in November 1987 as the final match of their 1987 tour, where Wales, who had just finished third in the inaugural Rugby World Cup, enjoyed a 46–0 win. In 1988, the Eagles had mixed success in their tour of Europe, defeating Romania and losing to the Soviet Union.[11]

The 1990s[edit]

The US notched three consecutive wins from September 1990 to May 1991 — all against Japan — for the first three-match win streak in US history.

The USA made their way through a qualifying tournament to reach the 1991 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom, pooled with defending champions New Zealand, hosts England, and Italy in a tough group. In their first match of the tournament, Italy defeated them 30–9. Next, New Zealand defeated them 46–6. Hosts England won 37–9 at Twickenham. The USA finished fourth in the pool.

In round one of the Americas qualifying tournament for the 1995 Rugby World Cup the USA defeated Bermuda 60–3 to advance to round two. Argentina defeated the Eagles twice in close games in the series to qualify, leaving the U.S. missing out on the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa.

The Eagles went close to beating a major rugby nation in a match against Australia at Riverside in 1993 when USA lost 22–26.

The Eagles had a successful tour of Europe in 1998, beating Spain and Portugal.[11] Also in 1998, the U.S. played Fiji for the first time, losing 9-18 in Suva.[12]

The Eagles set out to qualify for the 1999 Rugby World Cup in Wales. In round four of the Americas qualifying tournament in Buenos Aires, the United States lost 52–24 to Argentina and 31–14 to Canada, but defeated Uruguay 21–16 in their last game to qualify for the 1999 tournament. The U.S. played in the 1999 Pacific Rim Championship, notching its first-ever victories over Fiji (25-14) and Tonga (30-10).[12]

The Eagles were in pool E in the 1999 RWC, alongside Australia, Ireland and Romania. In their first game, the USA went down 53–8 in Dublin to Ireland. They lost to Romania 27–25. Australia defeated the Eagles 55–19 in their final game of the tournament, seeing the Eagles finish fourth in the pool. The Eagles, however, had the honor of being the only side to score a try against the eventual champions, Australia, during the entire tournament.

The 2000s[edit]

The United States rugby sevens team in Wellington, New Zealand for the New Zealand stage of the 2007-08 IRB Sevens World Series

In qualifying matches for the 2003 Rugby World Cup the US finished third in the Americas to enter the repechage. The US won the repechage by beating Spain twice to qualify for the 2003 tournament. The US then followed up with victories over Japan and Canada. This was the first time the Eagles had won four consecutive tests since making their international debut in 1976.

At the 2003 Rugby World Cup the Eagles finished fourth of five in their pool. In the first match against Fiji, the Americans led 13–3 early in the second half, but Fiji regained the lead and secured a 19–18 win, with the Eagles suffering their ninth consecutive World Cup loss. The U.S. then lost to Scotland. The Americans defeated Japan 39-26, behind 17 points by Mike Hercus, for their first win in a Rugby World Cup since 1987 (also against Japan). The U.S. closed the tournament with a loss to France, concluding the tournament with a 1-3 record.

The U.S. toured Europe in November 2004, losing 55-6 to Ireland and 43-25 to Italy. The Super Powers Cup was first contested in 2003 between Japan, Russia and the United States. For the 2004 Super Powers Cup with the addition of Canada. The U.S. beat Russia in the third-place play-off. The 2005 Super Cup took part between the USA, Canada, Japan and Romania. The U.S. lost 30–26 to Canada but beat a Romanian team stripped of their France-based players 23–16 in the third place play-off.

The USA campaign to qualify for the 2007 Rugby World Cup began in 2006. The USA lost 56–7 to Canada, resulting in a home/away play-off against Uruguay. The USA defeated Uruguay 42–13 in the first match and 26–7 in the second to send them through to the Rugby World Cup.

In the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the US joined England, Samoa, South Africa and Tonga in Pool A. The Eagles, ranked 13th in the world standings, lost all 4 games in Pool A, scoring 1 bonus point in the game against Samoa. Coached by New Zealander Peter Thorburn, the Eagles started off with tough match against the defending world champions England, losing 28–10. The US was then beaten by Tonga 25–15, lost to Samoa 25 – 21, and lost their final match to highly favored South Africa 64 – 15. The Eagles, however, had a major highlight in the South Africa match. After a Todd Clever interception and a pair of passes, Takudzwa Ngwenya sped down the sideline and outran the speedster Bryan Habana to score a try that received Try of the Year honors at the 2007 IRB Awards.

Following the resignation of Scott Johnson, on March 5, 2009 Eddie O'Sullivan was named the new national coach.[13]

The Eagles finished a solid 2009 campaign at a mark of 4–5, with a 4–3 record in full internationals. In the June 2009 Churchill Cup, the Eagles lost to Ireland and Wales, but defeated Georgia to take home the Bowl.[14] The Eagles split a World Cup qualifying series with Canada, but lost on aggregate points, to face Uruguay in a two-game playoff. In November 2009, the United States booked their place at the 2011 Rugby World Cup with two wins against Uruguay, winning the home leg 27–6 in Florida.[15]

The 2010s[edit]

2010—2011[edit]

The Eagles played 7 matches in 2010: 3 home matches in June at the Churchill Cup, finishing with a 1-2 record, and 4 matches in Europe in the Fall, finishing 1-3. In the June 2010 Churchill Cup, the US beat Russia 39–22, before losing to the England Saxons 32–9 and losing to France A 24–10. For the November 2010 tests, the Eagles traveled to Europe for a 4 game tour. In their first match the Eagles lost to English Premiership side Saracens 20–6.[16] The Eagles defeated Portugal 22–17.[17] The Eagles lost to Scotland A 25–0,[18] and lost to Georgia 19-17.[19] The Eagles finished the 2010 year ranked 16th in the world,[20] and with a record in test matches of 2 wins (Russia, Portugal) and 1 loss (Georgia).

The buildup to the 2011 Rugby World Cup started in June with three matches in the Churchill Cup. The Eagles dropped their first matches to the England Saxons 87–8[21] and to Tonga 44–13,[22] before defeating Russia 32–25.[23] 2011 was the final Churchill Cup.[24] The Eagles finalized their 2011 Rugby World Cup preparations with three test matches in August.[25] The Eagles lost their first match to Canada 28–22,[26] and lost their second match against Canada 27–7.[27] In Japan they lost 20–14. Their 0-3 record in August resulted in a 1–5 record in test matches for the year in their preparations for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.[28]

USA and Irish lineups for their match during the 2011 World Cup.

2011 Rugby World Cup[edit]

In their World Cup opening match against Ireland the Eagles defense initially held, before conceding their first try at the 39' mark. The Irish scored two more tries in the second half for a final tally of 22-10, with the US scoring an interception try by Paul Emerick.[29]

The Eagles came into the World Cup with their measuring mark for success as being a win over Russia. The Americans took a 10–3 lead into the half after a break by Andrew Suniula set up a try for Mike Petri. The US held on to win 13–6.[30]

Australia scrum against the USA

For their third match, the Eagles starting lineup had 14 changes from the previous match, ensuring that each player on the roster received a cap. Australia scored two early tries, but a JJ Gagiano try cut the deficit to 10–5. From that point Australia dominated, leading to the final result of 67–5, the worst defeat a US team has ever suffered to Australia.[31]

The final match saw the Eagles playing Italy for a 3rd place finish in Pool C. The Italians led 20-10 at the half, with the lone US try scored by Chris Wyles. Italy focused their second-half efforts on scoring a fourth try and the bonus point. Pressure by the dominant Italian scrum led to their fourth try in the 65th minute to finish with a 27-10 victory.[32] The defeat marked the end of the 2011 Rugby World Cup for the US.

The Eagles finished 2011 with a record of 2–8 (2–7 in full tests). The performances in the Rugby World Cup showed improvement, and the win over Russia left the team with a 1-3 record and feeling as a modest success. The World Cup also saw prop Mike MacDonald become both the most capped Eagle in World Cup play (11 caps) and the most capped Eagle of all time at 65 caps. Also notable was the performance of lock John van der Giessen, who achieved the most lineout steals of all players in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, despite appearing in only three matches.[33]

2012[edit]

The Eagles played three matches in North America during the 2012 June international window. This was a regular series of international tests for the United States against Tier 1 (Italy) and Tier 2 (Canada, Georgia) opponents, as the Churchill Cup is no longer held. The highlights of the June tests were a win over higher-ranked Georgia, and a match against Italy at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston that drew a record crowd of 17,000.

The Eagles also played three matches in Europe during the 2012 November international window. The Eagles finished their European tour with 2 wins (Romania, Russia) and 1 loss (Tonga) - the first time since 1998 that the Eagles had concluded a European tour with a winning record - and improved in ranking from 17th to 16th.[11]

USA v. Māori All Blacks at PPL Park (2013).

2013[edit]

The USA played five matches during the June 2013 international test window, with one test match against Ireland and four matches as part of the 2013 IRB Pacific Nations Cup. The U.S. started with competitive matches against Canada (9-16), Ireland (12-15), and Tonga (9-18), but finished with double-digit losses against Fiji (10-35) and Japan (20-38), and sliding to #18 in the rankings.

In August 2013, the U.S. played a home-and-away series against Canada as part of qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The U.S. lost both matches by an aggregate score of 20-40, meaning the U.S. must play Uruguay in 2014 as part of 2015 RWC qualifying.

In November, the U.S. lost 19-29 to the Māori All Blacks at PPL Park in Philadelphia before a sold-out crowd of 18,500.[34]

2014[edit]

Throughout late 2013 and early 2014, a number of U.S. players signed contracts to play professionally overseas. Of the players called into the U.S. national team in March 2014 for two home-and-away 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifying matches against Uruguay, 14 of the 26 were playing professionally overseas, with 10 playing professionally in England.[35]

Recent results[edit]

The following table shows the results of the U.S. national team in official test matches during the previous 20 matches.

Date Opponent Opp Rank Result Venue Attend Event Top U.S. Scorer
2014-06-21  Canada 16 W (38-35) United States Bonney Field 7,804 Pacific Nations Cup C. Wyles (23)
2014-06-14  Japan 12 L (29-37) United States StubHub Center 5,100 Pacific Nations Cup B. Scully (15)
2014-06-07  Scotland 10 L (6-24) United States BBVA Compass Stadium 20,001 mid-year tests C. Wyles (6)
2014-03-29  Uruguay 20 W (32-13) United States Fifth Third Bank Stad. 6,200 2015 RWC qualifying C. Wyles (12)
2014-03-22  Uruguay 20 T (27-27) Uruguay Estadio Charrúa ??? 2015 RWC qualifying F. Niua (12)
2013-11-23  Russia 19 W (28-7) England Allianz Park ??? end-of-year tests A. Siddall (13)
2013-11-16  Georgia 16 W (25-23) Georgia (country) Rustavi Stadium ??? end-of-year tests A. Siddall (10)
2013-11-09 New Zealand Maori N/A L (19-29) United States PPL Park 18,500 end-of-year tests A. Siddall (14)
2013-08-24  Canada 14 L (11-13) Canada BMO Field 10,207 2015 RWC qualifying C. Wyles (6)
2013-08-17  Canada 15 L (9-27) United States Blackbaud Stadium 5,258 2015 RWC qualifying C. Wyles (9)
2013-06-23  Japan 15 L (20-38) Japan Chichibunomiya Stadium 9,467 Pacific Nations Cup C. Wyles (10)
2013-06-19  Fiji 14 L (10-35) Japan Mizuho Rugby Stadium 3,459 Pacific Nations Cup Suniula / Siddall (5)
2013-06-14  Tonga 12 L (9-18) United States Stubhub Center 6,000 Pacific Nations Cup C. Wyles (9)
2013-06-08  Ireland 9 L (12-15) United States BBVA Compass Stadium 20,181 mid-year tests C. Wyles (12)
2013-05-25  Canada 14 L (9-16) Canada Ellerslie Rugby Park 3,500 Pacific Nations Cup A. Siddall (9)
2012-11-24  Romania 18 W (34-3) Romania Stadionul Arcul de Triumf ??? end-of-year tests C. Wyles (19)
2012-11-17  Tonga 12 L (13-22) Wales Eirias Park ??? end-of-year tests Z. Pangelinan (8)
2012-11-09  Russia 19 W (40-26) Wales Eirias Park ??? end-of-year tests C. Wyles (15)
2012-06-23  Italy 12 L (10-30) United States BBVA Compass Stadium 17,214 mid-year tests Emerick / Wyles (5)
2012-06-16  Georgia W (36-20) United States Infinity Park 3,800 mid-year tests Wyles (14)

Notes:

  • Opponent rank is listed as of the date of the match.
  • Green shading indicates a win or tie against a higher ranked opponent. Red shading indicates a loss or tie against a lower ranked opponent.
  • Bolded attendance figures indicate the match is one of the top five highest attended home matches in U.S. national team history.

Coaches[edit]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

United States players that made the 23 man gameday roster for any of the matches of the 2014 IRB Pacific Nations Cup or June test against Scotland.[36]

Head Coach: United States Mike Tolkin

  • Caps updated: 22 June 2014


Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by the International Rugby Board.

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
Tom Coolican Hooker (1988-08-26) 26 August 1988 (age 25) 5 England Richmond
Phil Thiel Hooker (1984-10-29) 29 October 1984 (age 29) 22 United States Life University
Eric Fry Prop (1987-09-14) 14 September 1987 (age 26) 26 England Newcastle Falcons
Olive Kilifi Prop (1986-09-28) 28 September 1986 (age 27) 7 United States OPSB
Titi Lamositele Prop (1995-02-11) 11 February 1995 (age 19) 8 England Saracens
Nicholas Wallace Prop (1989-10-16) 16 October 1989 (age 24) 10 Canada James Bay
Samu Manoa Lock (1985-03-05) 5 March 1985 (age 29) 9 England Northampton Saints
Hayden Smith Lock (1985-04-10) 10 April 1985 (age 29) 21 England Saracens
Louis Stanfill Lock (1985-05-30) 30 May 1985 (age 29) 48 United States OPSB
Tai Tuisamoa Lock (1980-08-28) 28 August 1980 (age 33) 3 England London Welsh
Todd Clever (c) Flanker (1983-01-16) 16 January 1983 (age 31) 59 Japan NTT Shining Arcs
Scott LaValla Flanker (1988-07-04) 4 July 1988 (age 26) 26 France Stade Français
Kyle Sumsion Flanker (1990-01-24) 24 January 1990 (age 24) 3 United States Brigham Young Univ.
Cam Dolan Number 8 (1990-03-07) 7 March 1990 (age 24) 10 England Northampton Saints
Danny Barrett Number 8 (1990-03-23) 23 March 1990 (age 24) 3 United States SFGG
Mike Petri Scrum-half (1984-08-16) 16 August 1984 (age 29) 44 United States NYAC
Shalom Suniula Fly-half (1988-05-06) 6 May 1988 (age 26) 5 United States Belmont Shore
Seamus Kelly Centre (1991-05-30) 30 May 1991 (age 23) 11 United States California Golden Bears
Chad London Centre (1988-09-27)27 September 1988 (aged 25) 1 United States Glendale Raptors
Folau Niua Centre (1985-01-27) 27 January 1985 (age 29) 9 Unattached
Andrew Suniula Centre (1982-09-29) 29 September 1982 (age 31) 29 Unattached
Thretton Palamo Centre (1988-09-22) 22 September 1988 (age 25) 4 England Saracens
Miles Craigwell Wing (1986-03-24) 24 March 1986 (age 28) 0 United States OPSB
Luke Hume Wing (1988-01-26) 26 January 1988 (age 26) 17 Unattached
Tim Maupin Wing (1989-03-23) 23 March 1989 (age 25) 5 United States Olympic Club
Blaine Scully Wing (1988-02-29) 29 February 1988 (age 26) 21 England Leicester Tigers
Brett Thompson Wing (1990-08-16) 16 August 1990 (age 23) 1 Scotland Edinburgh Rugby
Chris Wyles Fullback (1983-09-13) 13 September 1983 (age 30) 44 England Saracens

Other recent call-ups[edit]


Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by the International Rugby Board.

Player Position Date of Birth (Age) Caps Club/province
Chris Biller Hooker (1985-10-11) 11 October 1985 (age 28) 26 United States SFGG
Shawn Pittman Prop (1988-01-22) 22 January 1988 (age 26) 30 United States OPSB
Brian Doyle Lock (1984-02-28) 28 February 1984 (age 30) 15 United States NYAC
John Quill Flanker (1990-03-10) 10 March 1990 (age 24) 6 unattached
Adam Siddall Fly-half (1988-07-27) 27 July 1988 (age 25) 6 United States Belmont Shore
Toby L'Estrange Fly-half unattached
Roland Suniula Centre (1986-12-17) 17 December 1986 (age 27) 17 France CS Vienne
James Paterson Wing (1987-04-11) 11 April 1987 (age 27) 12 United States Glendale Raptors
Takudzwa Ngwenya Wing (1985-07-22) 22 July 1985 (age 29) 25 France Biarritz

Stadium & Attendance[edit]

The Eagles do not have an official home stadium. The Eagles used to play several of their home games at Infinity Park in Denver, Colorado, but with the increasing popularity of the U.S. national team, the Eagles have not played there since June 2012. Since 2012, the U.S. national team has often played in larger Major League Soccer stadiums across the country. The Eagles have played a home match against a Tier 1 nation each June since 2012 before large crowds at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.[37] Since 2012, the Eagles have played at other MLS stadiums, such as PPL Park in Philadelphia and the StubHub Center in Los Angeles. The Eagles play some of their less high-profile matches at minor league soccer stadiums.

The highest attended matches in the U.S. involving the U.S. national team are:[38]

  1. 20,181 - USA v. Ireland, June 8, 2013, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
  2. 20,001 - USA v. Scotland, June 8, 2014, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
  3. 18,500 - USA v. New Zealand Maori, Nov. 9, 2013, PPL Park, Philadelphia, PA[39]
  4. 17,214 - USA v. Italy, June 23, 2012, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
  5. 16,000 - USA v. South Africa, Dec. 1, 2001, Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX[40]
  6. 14,000 - USA v. New Zealand XV, Oct 8, 1980, Chargers Stadium, San Diego, CA
  7. 10,000 - USA v. Ireland, May 31, 2009, Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
  8. 10,000 - USA v. Australia, Nov. 16, 1912, California Field, Berkeley, CA
  9. 10,000 - USA v. New Zealand, Nov. 15, 1913, California Field, Berkeley, CA

Rivalry with Canada[edit]

The United States' biggest rival in rugby is Canada. The US has played more test matches against Canada than any other country. The two teams first met in 1977, and have played every year since then with the exception of 2010. As of November 2012, the two sides have met 48 times, with 12 wins for the US, 35 wins for Canada, and 1 draw.

The USA and Canada routinely play in each other in qualifying matches for the Rugby World Cup. They have met in qualification matches for the 1991, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015 tournaments.

The Eagles' first win against Canada on Canadian soil was September 9, 1995 by a score of 15–14. The Eagles' greatest margin of victory over Canada was in 2003, with a 35-20 win in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the Pan-Am series.[11] The Eagles' longest losing streak against Canada is seven consecutive losses from May 18, 1996 through August 18, 1998.

The USA's most recent victory over Canada was a 12-6 victory on July 4, 2009 in Charleston, South Carolina in a qualifying match for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The Eagles' most recent away win was a 20-19 victory on June 26, 2005.

Individual all-time records[edit]

Most caps[edit]

Rank Player Pos Span Caps Starts Pts Tries Won Lost
1 Mike MacDonald Prop 2000-2012 67 56 30 6 21 46
2 Luke Gross Lock 1996-2003 62 61 0 0 21 41
3 Todd Clever Flanker 2003- 59 58 55 11 20 38
4 Alec Parker Lock 1996-2009 58 51 5 1 23 35
5 Paul Emerick Centre 2003-2012 53 49 85 17 21 32
Dave Hodges Flanker 1996-2004 53 48 20 4 17 36
7 Kort Schubert Flanker 2000-2008 49 48 20 4 16 33
8 Mike Hercus Fly-half 2002-2009 48 45 465 9 19 29
Louis Stanfill Lock 2005- 48 42 15 3 13 34
10 Vaea Anitoni Wing 1992-2000 46 44 130 26 14 32
11 Dan Lyle Number 8 1994-2003 45 45 30 6 17 28

Last updated: 21 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Most tries[edit]

All Time

Rank Player Pos Span Mat Pts Tries
1 Vaea Anitoni Wing 1992-2000 46 130 26
2 Paul Emerick Centre 2003-2012 53 85 17
3 Chris Wyles Fullback 2007- 44 212 13
4 Todd Clever Flanker 2003- 59 55 11
5 Philip Eloff Centre 2000-2007 35 50 10
Taku Ngwenya Wing 2007- 27 50 10
7 David Fee Wing 2002-2005 28 45 9
Mike Hercus Fly-half 2002-2009 48 465 9
Riaan van Zyl Wing 2003-2004 13 45 9
10 3 players on 8 tries

Last updated: Canada vs USA, 21 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Active Players

Rank Player Pos Debut Tries
1 Chris Wyles Fullback 2007 13
2 Todd Clever Flanker 2003 11
3 Taku Ngwenya Wing 2007 10
4 Blaine Scully Fullback / Wing 2011 7
4 Andrew Suniula Centre 2008 5

Most points[edit]

All Time

Rank Player Pos Span Mat Pts Tries Con Pn/DG
1 Mike Hercus Fly-half 2002-2009 48 465 9 90 80
2 Matt Alexander Fly-half 1995-1998 24 286 5 45 57
3 Chris Wyles Fullback 2007- 44 212 13 23 31
4 Chris O'Brien Fly-half 1988-1994 20 144 7 24 22
5 Mark Williams Centre 1987-1999 37 143 3 13 35
6 Vaea Anitoni Wing 1992-2000 46 130 26 0 0
7 Kevin Dalzell Scrumhalf 1996-2003 42 109 8 9 17
8 Grant Wells Fly-half 2000-2001 12 100 0 14 24
9 Paul Emerick Centre 2003-2012 53 85 17 0 0
10 Francois Viljoen Fullback 2004-2007 18 69 1 8 16

Last updated: Canada vs USA, 21 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Active Players

Rank Player Pos Debut Mat Pts
1 Chris Wyles Fullback 2007 44 212
2 Nese Malifa Fly-half 2007 23 65
3 Todd Clever Flanker 2003 59 55
4 Taku Ngwenya Wing 2007 27 50
5 Adam Siddall Fly-half 2013 6 37

Most matches as captain[edit]

Rank Player Position Span Mat Won Lost Draw %
1 Todd Clever Flanker 2008- 39 15 23 1 38
2 Dave Hodges Flanker 2000-2003 28 9 19 0 32
3 Dan Lyle Number 8 1996-2003 24 11 13 0 46
4 Kort Schubert Number 8 2003-2006 17 4 13 0 24
5 Tom Billups Hooker 1998-1998 12 4 8 0 33
6 Ed Burlingham Lock 1983-1987 9 3 5 1 39
7 Kevin Swords Lock 1991-1994 8 1 7 0 13
Brian Vizard Number 8 1990-1991 8 3 5 0 38
9 Andre Bachelet Scrum-half 1994-1996 7 2 5 0 29
10 Mike Hercus Fly-half 2006-2007 6 2 4 0 33

Last updated: Canada vs USA, 21 June 2014. Statistics include officially capped matches only.

Other notable past players[edit]

  • Tom Billups - 1993-1999, 44 caps
  • Chris Lippert - 1989-1998, 38 caps (U.S. record holder at the time of his retirement), USA Captain (3), Barbarians (3)
  • Mike Purcell - 1980-1987, 14 caps (U.S. record co-holder at time of retirement), 14 starts, 4 tries. 2 starts and 2 tries at 1987 Rugby World Cup
  • Salesi Sika - 2003-2009, 22 caps and 16 starts, including 6 starts at the 2003 & 2007 RWC
  • Kevin Swords - 1985-1994, 36 caps (U.S. record holder at the time of his retirement), USA Captain, Barbarians (2)

Tournament records[edit]

Honors[edit]

Rugby World Cup[edit]

Year Host Champion USA Win/Loss
(Bonus Points)
USA Finish
1987 New Zealand New Zealand & Australia Australia  New Zealand 1–2 10th (3rd in Pool A)
1991 England England, France France, Wales Wales
Republic of Ireland Ireland & Scotland Scotland
 Australia 0–3 15th (4th in Pool A)
1995 South Africa South Africa  South Africa --- Did Not Qualify
1999 Wales Wales  Australia 0–3 16th (4th in Pool 5)
2003 Australia Australia  England 1–3 (2 BP) 13th (4th in Pool B)
2007 France France  South Africa 0–4 (1 BP) 18th (5th in Pool A)
2011 New Zealand New Zealand  New Zealand 1–3 (0 BP) 16th (4th in Pool C)
2015 England England

Summer Olympics[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1900 Paris France Germany not awarded
Great Britain
1904 St. Louis not included in the Olympic program
1908 London Australasia Great Britain not awarded
1912 Stockholm not included in the Olympic program
1920 Antwerp United States France not awarded
1924 Paris United States France Romania

Churchill Cup[edit]

USA Eagles mascot during 2010 Churchill Cup match.
Year Host city Record Finish
2003 Vancouver Canada 1–2 Runner-up
2004 Calgary and Edmonton Canada 0–2 4th Place
2005 Edmonton Canada 1–1 3rd Place
2006 Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa,
and San Jose (Santa Clara) Canada United States
0–3 Bowl Runner-up
2007 Stockport, Exeter, Henley, Northampton and London England 0–3 Bowl Runner-up
2008 Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, and Chicago Canada United States 0–3 Bowl Runner-up
2009 Glendale and Commerce City United States 1–2 Bowl Champion
2010 Glendale and Harrison United States 1–2 Plate Runner-up
2011 Northampton, Gloucester, Esher, and Worcester England 1–2 Bowl Champion

Super Cup[edit]

Year Participants Champion USA Result
2003  Japan,  Russia,  United States  Russia Runner-up
2004  Canada,  Japan,  Russia,  United States  Japan 3rd Place
2005  Canada,  Japan,  Romania,  United States  Canada 3rd Place

Setanta Challenge Cup[edit]

Year Venue Opponent Result
2007 United States Toyota Park Ireland Munster Munster 10 – 6 USA[42]
2008 United States Rentschler Field Ireland Munster Munster 46 – 22 USA[43]
2009 United States Buck Shaw Stadium  Ireland Ireland 27 – 10 USA[44]

Americas Rugby Championship[edit]

Year Participants Champion USA Selects Result
2009 Argentina Argentina Jaguars, Canada BC Bears, Canada Ontario Blues,
Canada Prairie Wolf Pack, Canada The Rock,  USA Selects
Argentina Argentina Jaguars 4th Place
2010 Argentina Argentina Jaguars,  Canada Selects,
 Tonga A,  USA Selects
Argentina Argentina Jaguars 3rd Place

Overall[edit]

Top 25 Rankings as 14 July 2014[45]
Rank Change* Team Points
1 Steady  New Zealand 93.81
2 Steady  South Africa 89.34
3 Steady  Australia 86.94
4 Steady  England 85.68
5 Steady  Ireland 83.44
6 Steady  Wales 80.70
7 Steady  France 80.01
8 Steady  Scotland 77.78
9 Steady  Samoa 76.59
10 Steady  Japan 75.39
11 Steady  Fiji 74.56
12 Steady  Argentina 73.98
13 Steady  Tonga 72.58
14 Steady  Italy 70.92
15 Steady  Georgia 70.46
16 Steady  Romania 68.42
17 Steady  Canada 68.01
18 Steady  United States 67.30
19 Steady  Uruguay 62.89
20 Steady  Russia 62.06
21 Steady  Spain 60.65
22 Steady  Namibia 58.78
23 Steady  Hong Kong 58.47
24 Steady  Portugal 57.73
25 Steady  South Korea 57.22
*Change from the previous week
United States's Historical Rankings
United States IRB World Rankings.png
Source: IRB - Graph updated to 20 May 2013[45]

Their Test record against all nations:[46]

Against Played Won Lost Drawn Win %
 Argentina 9 0 8 0 0.00%
Argentina Argentina Jaguars 1 0 1 0 0.00%
 Australia 7 0 7 0 0.00%
 Bahamas 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Barbados 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Bermuda 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Canada 52 13 38 1 25%
 Chile 2 1 1 0 50.00%
 England 7 0 7 0 0.00%
England England Saxons 4 0 4 0 0.00%
 Fiji 5 1 4 0 25.00%
 France 8 2 6 0 25.00%
 Georgia 4 3 1 0 75.00%
 Hong Kong 7 3 4 0 42.83%
 Ireland 9 0 9 0 0.00%
Ireland Ireland Wolfhounds 2 0 2 0 0.00%
 Italy 4 0 4 0 0.00%
 Japan 21 12 8 1 57.14%
 New Zealand 3 0 3 0 0.00%
 Māori 1 0 1 0 0.00%
 Portugal 2 2 0 0 100.00%
 Romania 6 5 1 0 83.33%
 Russia 6 6 0 0 100%
 Samoa 3 0 3 0 0.00%
 Scotland 3 0 3 0 0.00%
 Scotland A 1 0 1 0 0.00%
 Soviet Union 1 0 1 0 0.00%
 South Africa 3 0 3 0 0.00%
 Spain 3 3 0 0 100.00%
 Tonga 6 1 5 0 16.66%
 Trinidad and Tobago 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Tunisia 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Uruguay 13 12 1 1 89.28%
 Wales 8 0 8 0 0.00%
Total 207 67 137 3 33.09%

Coaches[edit]

  1. Mike Tolkin (2012–present). 3 wins, 7 losses (as of June 2013)
  2. Eddie O'Sullivan (2009 - 2011). 8 wins, 17 losses. 1-3 at the 2011 RWC
  3. Scott Johnson (2008 - 2009)
  4. Peter Thorburn (2006 - 2007). 0-4 at the 2007 RWC
  5. Tom Billups (2001 - 2005). 12 wins, 21 losses. 1-3 at the 2003 RWC
  6. Duncan Hall (2000 - 2001). 3 wins, 9 losses
  7. Jack Clark (1993 - 1999)
  8. Jim Perkins (1987 - 1991)
  9. George Hook (1987)
  10. Ray Cornbill (1976 - 1983)

Women's national team[edit]

The U.S. women's national team, officially formed in 1987, has been an international powerhouse since its inception, although more recently have fallen behind other powerhouses such as England and New Zealand on the world rankings. The Eagles won the first official World Cup in 1991, and finished second in the two following World Cups (1994, 1998). The Eagles have set a high standard for international competition, leading an ensuing wave of women's rugby growth and game development worldwide. The US finished 7th in the 2002 tournament. The women's national team traveled to the United Kingdom in January 2006 to play Scotland, Ireland and England, winning all three games. The 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup was held in Edmonton, Canada.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "International Rugby Board – World Rankings: Full world rankings". Irb.com. Retrieved November 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ The Guardian, United States ready to launch bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup, 1 Dec 2011, http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2011/dec/01/united-states-bid-2023-rugby-world-cup
  3. ^ USA and Canada join IRB PN Cup
  4. ^ a b c d California Golden Blogs, 1924 Rugby: A Wild Olympic Rematch, June 20, 2012, http://www.californiagoldenblogs.com/2012/6/20/3067036/1924-rugby-a-wild-olympic-rematch
  5. ^ A.A.U. to pay expenses of Rugby Team to Olympics, N.Y. Times, June 4, 1920
  6. ^ U.S. Team is Hissed by French When it Wins Olympic Title, N.T. Times, May 19, 1924
  7. ^ Rugby at the 1924 Olympics, http://wesclark.com/rrr/1924_olympics_2.html
  8. ^ ESPN Scrum, Olympic Rugby: Rugby and the Olympics, July 26, 2012, http://www.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/story/167592.html
  9. ^ IRB Match Preview: Japan v USA, June 2013, http://www.irb.com/mm/document/tournament/mediazone/02/06/78/68/20130621japvusa.pdf
  10. ^ BBC Sport, USA play a different ball game, Sep. 26, 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/rugby_world_cup/team_pages/usa/2992399.stm
  11. ^ a b c d Rugby Mag, Notes on USA v Romania, Nov. 23, 2012, http://www.rugbymag.com/usa-men/6485-notes-on-usa-v-romania.html
  12. ^ a b IRB Match Preview: Fiji v USA, June 2013, http://www.irb.com/mm/document/tournament/mediazone/02/06/76/66/20130618fijivusa.pdf
  13. ^ "Search – Global Edition – The New York Times". International Herald Tribune. March 29, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Eagles claim 2011 World Cup berth". BBC Sport. 2009-11-22. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  16. ^ http://www.eaglesxv.com/games/saracens-vs-usa-eagles
  17. ^ http://www.eaglesxv.com/games/november-tests
  18. ^ http://www.eaglesxv.com/games/end-of-year-tour-game-number-2
  19. ^ http://www.eaglesxv.com/games/last-game-of-2010
  20. ^ "International Rugby Board – World Rankings: Archive – Detail". Irb.com. December 27, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Rugby Union – ESPN Scrum – England Saxons v United States of America at Northampton, Jun 4, 2011". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  22. ^ "USA Poor in Loss to Tonga". Rugbymag.com. June 8, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "USA Wins Bowl at Churchill Cup". Rugbymag.com. June 18, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Churchill Cup 2011 News : Final bow for Churchill Cup | Live Rugby News". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  25. ^ "50-Player Pool for World Cup". Rugbymag.com. June 21, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Canada Comes Back to Beat USA". Rugbymag.com. August 6, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Eagles Squander Opportunity Against Canada". Rugbymag.com. August 13, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Japan Edges USA in Rain". Rugbymag.com. August 22, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Irish in Battle with Eagles, but Win". Rugbymag.com. September 11, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  30. ^ "USA Edges Russia in World Cup". Rugbymag.com. September 15, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Wallabies Much Too Much for Eagles". Rugbymag.com. September 23, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  32. ^ "USA Brave in 27–10 Loss to Italy". Rugbymag.com. September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  33. ^ Rugby World, Dec. 2011, page 40.
  34. ^ Shannon, Kris (November 10, 2013). "NZ Maori escape against Eagles". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  35. ^ This Is American Rugby, Eagles Selected For First Uruguay Match, March 15, 2014, http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com/2014/03/eagles-selected-for-first-uruguay-match.html. Retrieved 03-20-2014.
  36. ^ Denver Camp selections announced for Men's Eagles
  37. ^ "http://texasrugbyunion.com/2012/03/06/its-official-usa-eagles-vs-italy/". 
  38. ^ http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/team/highest_attendance.html?id=11;type=team
  39. ^ ESPN scrum, United States of America v New Zealand Maori at Philadelphia, 9 November 2013, http://www.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/match/194511.html
  40. ^ ERugbyNews, Not a New Dawn, But Nice Anyway, June 1, 2009, http://www.erugbynews.com/article.php?sec=143&a=4901
  41. ^ [2][dead link]
  42. ^ Geraghty, Pat (August 27, 2007). "Munster Rugby : News : Munster Claim Setanta Challenge Cup". Munsterrugby.ie. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  43. ^ Geraghty, Pat. "Munster Rugby : Rugby : Munster Retain the Setanta Cup". Munsterrugby.ie. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  44. ^ "Ireland defeats USA Eagles in Setanta Challenge Cup | Irish Sports". IrishCentral. Retrieved October 17, 2011. 
  45. ^ a b "World Rankings". International Rugby Board. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  46. ^ . espnscrum http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/team/results_summary.html?id=11;type=opposition. Retrieved 28 February 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)