In the last 102 years of American international rugby, the United States has played 63 matches against Tier I opposition.
That measurement alone is not set in stone – we at RUGBYMag.com have included Samoa and Argentina in this list, even though one could argue Argentina wasn’t a Tier I nation through the entirety of the 1990s. We also have not included matches in the professional era against Tier I B teams, while we did include those in the amateur era.
In addition, we included the two Olympic games against France, based in part on the fact that while France wasn’t as strong as they would become, they still were competitive with the likes of Ireland, Scotland and England.
During that time, the USA has won exactly twice – 8-0 over France in 1920, and 17-3 over France in 1924, both Olympic Gold Medal games. Every other match against Tier I nations, including the 31 of the Professional Era (1996-onward) were losses, usually by an enormous margin.
Given that the USA played no test matches between 1924 and 1976, we are going to spend most of our time in this article referring to the 59 matches since 1976. Before then, the USA beat France twice, as we said, and lost to Australia 12-8 in 1912 and New Zealand 51-3 in 1913 (13 tries, counting three points each; in modern times that score would have been 77-3).
Since 1976, the USA is 0-59 against Tier I national teams, posting an average score of 40-12. Up until last Saturday, their closes game was against an Australian 15, who won 26-22 in Riverside, Calif. in 1993. Against a full international team the best score was a 16-11 loss to Argentina in 1994, or it might have been 28-22 against Argentina that same year, or a 10-3 loss to France in 1991. Close on their heels might be the 28-23 loss to Wales in 1996, the 27-20 loss to Samoa in 1999 or the 19-12 to Samoa in 200 … or the 25-18 loss to Ireland in 1994.
Several close games, to be sure, but in no game did the USA hold their opposition to no tries. France maybe have been held to ten points in 1991, but they scored two tries. Last Saturday, the USA lost to Ireland by a mere three points, and held a Tier I nation to no tries. In fact, Ireland wasn’t really close to scoring a try. One of their penalties was inside the 22, and that because the USA didn’t retreat ten meters quickly enough. Three of the penalty kicks from Ireland were more than 35 meters away.
In the last ten years, no Tier I nation has scored fewer than three tries against the USA, until last Saturday. For the first time since 1920, the USA held a Tier I nation to no tries.
In the last ten years, only one Tier I nation has beaten the USA by less than a try (Samoa in 2007), until last Saturday.
So the Eagles might kick themselves for losing, but this was still something of a milestone game. Maybe next time, the milestone will be victory.
England pummeled the USA U20s 109-0 in the final round of pool play at the Junior World Championships in France.
The English were bigger, faster, and much more organized. Led by a huge back three of Ben Howard, Henry Purdy and Ollie Devoto, England had the athleticism to run through tacklers and run around them, also. As a result, the USA players had to commit two and three players to the tackle, which simply opened up more space for England.
The Americans came close to scoring a couple of times, but were caught on the breakaways, and forced to pound it out against a very organized and quickly-reset English D. They couldn't break through, and were thoroughly beaten.
England captain Alex Day was charitable.
"The scoreline doesn't reflect the game," he said. "The Americans put up a really good fight."
Certainly the USA didn't give up, but they have been soundly humbled in their three pool matches, giving up 251 points and scoring just three.
It's worth noting, however, that the teams they have been playing are essentially professional teams. The entire England squad is made up of players in Premiership Academy setups, or who are playing top-level club rugby already. For the USA, this is true of maybe two players, as the rest or from DI clubs or colleges.
Now the USA looks ahead to the final two matches of the tournament. They need to win one of them to avoid finishing last, and having to move back down to the Junior World Rugby Trophy (just recently won this year by Italy). They will be joined in the bottom bracket by three of the following: Fiji, Australia, Scotland, and Samoa.
The USA Men’s Junior All Americans have named their roster for today’s test against England U20s. The junior Eagles are currently 0-2 at the IRB Junior World Championships, having lost 97-0 to South Africa and 45-3 to France.
England is currently 1-1. The Roses defeated France 30-6 in the opening round and then dropped a thrilling 31-24 contest to South Africa on June 9.
Last weekend in Minneapolis the Armstrong Girls sealed their undefeated league season with a blowout at the Minnesota State Championships. The girls defeated Orono 62-0 for their 4th consecutive state title.
Coach Jimmy Hanson credits the win to the backline, saying there was no single stand-out player.
“The whole backline played as a unit,” he says. “Each try was a product of two or three girls.”
Amy Schroeder, outside center Genna Joyce and wing Carley Brugnoli each scored three tries, while MVP Paige Sorenson dotted down once. Sorenson was particularly impressive in that killer backline, playing through a strained MCL to make key defensive hits.
The win came as little surprise to Armstrong, who has been crushing in-state competition the whole year. The team put up a whopping 928-10 scoreline during the 2013-13 season, and those 10 points were scored by a team that had to borrow Armstrong players due to lack of numbers.
It seems like Armstrong has gone unchallenged; however, while this may be true of the Minnesota league, the girls did see some great competition earlier in the year. They traveled to the Midwest, Las Vegas Invitational (LVI), and Girls High School National Invitational Tournament (NIT) to experience a higher level of play. They were most challenged at NITs, where they lost to Fullerton in the DII final.
“We weren’t sure what to expect from Fullerton or anyone else in the bracket for that matter,” Hanson said. “We knew we were there with people who are on our level. We’re disappointed we lost, but it was what we went there for – for competition. We look forward to going back next year and finishing higher.”
So what is it, exactly, that Armstrong is doing so differently than everyone else in Minnesota? Their diverse schedule is one major influence. While Minnesota league play was snowed out for the first month of the season, the Armstrong girls played their first outdoor game in the Midwest and then faced Canadian sides and three-time high school champion Fallbrook (Calif.) at the LVI.
“The ability to go play competition [so early in the season] kept us sharp,” Hanson says.
Hanson credits that Orono is traditionally a good team, and that this year was no exception, “… but we had the advantage of playing against top-level competition. We might not have dominated the same way had we not gone.”
But that’s not all that makes for a winning team like Armstrong, Hanson says.
“I have a really, really great group of kids, a great bunch of competitors. I couldn’t ask for a better team as a coach.”
Obviously the team wants to win, but the ultimate goal is to compete. They do not measure their success against other teams as much as themselves. They work for intrinsic goals, constantly trying to better themselves as players.
It doesn’t matter who they face, they’ll try their best from beginning to end, their coach says. “They play the same game when they’re up by 50 or down by 50.”
The team is led by 13 seniors, seven of whom are starters. Three girls have been playing since freshman year: Rachel Marston, a utility player ironically nick-named “Speedy”; Patricia Harris, a scrumhalf who made the all-tournament team at NITs; and Jenna Joyce, who has started all four years, started all four state championships, and also made all-tournament at NITs. These girls really drive home the attitude of, “We don’t practice to play teams we can beat; we practice to play teams that can beat us.”
And with this kind of encouragement from older players, the success will live on. While Hanson is sad to see his graduating class go, he is confident in the team's depth. There are many promising juniors, sophomores, and even a few freshmen moving up.
But there is another factor in Armstrong’s success that has not yet been mentioned – their coach. Recently announced as an assistant coach for the Girls’ High School All-American Stars v. Stripes program, it is clear that Hanson has a lot of talent and promise for the future, as well.
With a great team and a great coach, continued success for Armstrong seems inevitable. Keep an eye on them for not only another State title (or two, or three), but quite possibly a national title, too.
Forbes Magazine's Larry Olmsted finds out how great 7s is, and talks about the USA 7s (last weekend in January 2014) and how much fun the sport is, and how much fun the fans are.Great article, and one all rugby fans should show to their non-rugby friends.http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2013... Read more...
Somehow Matt McCarthy convinced Alex Goff to appear on Rugby Wrapup. The video web show cornered Goff in Philadelphia and actually forced him to offer an opinion or two!RUGBYMag.com's Editor-in-Chief puts forth on college 7s, Alex Magleby, prospective replacements, and more.Click here to see the vid... Read more...
A new rugby game is coming down the pike this summer, Rugby Challenge 2: The Lions Tour Edition. The game is a sequel to Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge released in 2011 in conjunction with the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The new game, set for a June 13 worldwide release for the PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 platf... Read more...
Your are currently browsing this site with Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).
Your current web browser must be updated to version 7 of Internet Explorer (IE7) to take advantage of all of template's capabilities.
Why should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7? Microsoft has redesigned Internet Explorer from the ground up, with better security, new capabilities, and a whole new interface. Many changes resulted from the feedback of millions of users who tested prerelease versions of the new browser.
The most compelling reason to upgrade is the improved security. The Internet of today is not the Internet of five years ago. There are dangers that simply didn't exist back in 2001, when Internet Explorer 6 was released to the world. Internet Explorer 7 makes surfing the web fundamentally safer by offering greater protection against viruses, spyware, and other online risks.
Get free downloads for Internet Explorer 7, including recommended updates as they become available. To download Internet Explorer 7 in the language of your choice, please visit the Internet Explorer 7 worldwide page.