3 Things: 2021 RAN 1 Playoff Series: Second Leg

Gary Gold demanded a response from his side after they were handily defeated by Canada a week before. Boy, did the US meet that demand.

Without further ado, the 3 Things that stood out.

The Eagles have a Young Crop of Potential Stars

For all the value that comes from experience, it was the kids that came to play.

Christian Dyer, who hasn’t played club 15s since leaving Cal, had another big day. He’s 23.

Hanco Germishyus had a hat trick before halftime. He’s 25.

Tavite Lopeti stepped up dramatically at 13 in his first international start. He’s 24.

And Ruben de Haas went full playground.

He’s 22.

It’s also fair to mention Luke Carty. While he was unfit for the match, he brings a strong option at 15 or 10 in the absence of MacGinty. He’s 23.

The US has some strong young talent headed into RWC 2023, but they’re building for a real push in RWC 2027.

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The Set Piece is Key

Gary Gold was a Springboks assistant before taking over the Eagles. But if you saw this team play, you knew that.

The Eagles returned to line out dominance in this one. I spent last week pushing for more praise towards Cam Dolan. His return was the catalyst that pushed them forward. The ability to create a dominant maul was something Canada simply couldn’t counteract.

The ‘international’ front row for the Eagles also created opportunities. Between taking control of the scrum and maintaining their powerful performance deep into the game, Ainu’u, Taufete’e, and Pifalete appear to be first choice group that can challenge better teams than the Maple Leafs.

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Will Fa’ana-Schultz be Banned for Uruguay?

The Eagles’ 6 received a yellow card in the first half. The US managed to win the ten minute period that ensued, but Fa’ana-Schultz was yellow carded at the end of the game a second time for what I can only describe as crowd surfing over a maul. Technically, that’s an automatic red cad.

Fa’ana-Schultz will almost certainly go for a disciplinary review. Reikert Hattingh was left off the US roster with one game left on his ban from the summer internationals. The Eagles need to keep their flankers on the field if they plan to compete against Tier 1 sides. Also of note, Fa’ana-Schultz sat out part of the recent MLR campaign from ban. He is clearly talented, but he needs to stay on the field or risk losing a spot.

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