Two long years after their last assembly, the USA Women’s Eagles were back in action in the new Pacific Four competition. While the result should be important, the biggest takeaways is that…
Two Years off Creates More Than 80 Minutes of Rust
If you wanted to see smooth gameplay and a flowing game, this want it. The match actually started with fairly good play, but the second half was a celebration of whistles.
After a two year layoff, both the USA and Canada need more than one game to really come together. From the Eagles’ perspective, they can be excited by the three new caps. From Canada’s side, they took advantage of some opportunities to get the result.
This looked more like a first game of the MLR season than test rugby. That will naturally improve. These are both strong sides looking to prepare for next year’s Rugby World Cup. With that, a few pieces of analysis are needed.
The Eagles Missed Opportunites
Between the 22s, this was USA Rugby’s game. A pair of 50/22 kicks created prime chances, both of which were unconverted. The clear strategy was to build a score from the tee. Canada surrender four such opportunities, and the Eagles converted three. In the freezing Glendale weather, it wasn’t a bad strategy.
Yes, this team needs to take more from their chances, but at least they created a lot of them. It might take a few matches to get there, but a team not finishing what they start is a huge step above not being able to get started.
Set Pieces Were Ugly
If one thing was consistent, it was the line out and scrum looking pretty terrible.
From the line out perspective, both sides struggled to convert early. Canada started hitting the back pod late, but most of the game saw little clean ball on the throw in. Expect it to be a focus for both sides on Friday.
The scrum was more favorable to Canada. Both teams made multiple pleas to the referee for louder commands. There were enough resets to drive anyone mad.
I suspect both sides will look better Friday. They both lack training time together. It won’t look like a Cup final, but I’m sure the next round will be more polished.