The Eagles cleared a couple of big hurdles Saturday in Port Elizabeth, South Africa – they reached the Cup quarterfinals for the first time since Dubai 2010, where they lost to Samoa (and then South Africa in the Plate Semifinal), and they beat Canada for the first time since Dubai 2011.
Reaching the Cup Quarterfinals is massive, because it will probably get the Eagles out of the standings cellar. They currently rank 15th among the 15 World Series core teams and are likely to leapfrog at least England, Scotland and Spain by having made the Cup rounds.
Beating Canada is also massive for the Eagles, because it ends a five-game losing streak to their North American rivals. And they snapped the skid in convincing fashion, scoring four tries to two. The win also marks the USA’s first over Canada under head coach Alex Magleby, making his record against the Canadians 1-3.
The Eagles can clear another hurdle by advancing to the Cup Semifinals, which they haven’t done since reaching the Cup Final in Australia in 2010. They beat Wales and Argentina in the Cup Quarters and Semis, respectively, before falling 38-10 to Samoa in the Cup Final.