A young, inexperienced Eagles side was dominated in absolutely every facet of the game in their 87-8 loss to the England Saxons Saturday in Northampton, England in the first round of the Churchill Cup.
The Eagles opened scoring with a Tai Enosa penalty in the very early going, but that would be one of few highlights on the day, as the Saxons ran off 12 tries and 87-consecutive points before Scott LaValla touched down the Eagles' only try in the 78th minute.
The Saxons' talent, skill and experience gap was most obvious was at the scrum, where they drove the Americans at will, drawing upwards half a dozen penalties for collapsing the scrum. The Saxons' fifth try was a penalty try, awarded after the Eagles' were called for a second scrum penalty in less than a minute.
Starters Phil Thiel and Eric Fry were subbed off early in the second half for Shawn Pittman and Chris Biller, but the changes didn't improve the American scrum. Pittman, in all fairness, was playing out of position at loosehead. He plays tighthead regularly for the London Welsh.
The Eagles also struggled in the lineout, but fared much better in that setpiece than in the scrum. The throws did gain more consistency when Biller took over at hooker for Thiel.
The Eagles managed to put together a threat when trailing 26-3 late in the first half. Enosa caught an out pass off a ruck, stepped through the England defense, offloaded to openside flanker Danny LaPrevotte, who then dished to John van der Giessen to inch the Americans near deep inside England's 22.
This bit of ball movement was the USA's most impressive on the day, but possession was turned over in the ruck following van der Giessen being brought down. The Eagles quickly turned England over and marched straight back to the Saxons' line, but Fry knocked on before touching the ball down. That would be USA's last sniff at points until LaValla scored in the dying minutes.
The Eagles take on Tonga Wednesday at Moseley Road. That game will be webcast live on Universalsports.com at 12:30 ET and aired in tape delay on Universal Sports at 8pm ET. The Saxons game will premier on Universal Sports ay 6pm today.