Eagles Win Silently Against Russia

American fans were forced to wait until a soundless analyst video was made available via YouTube to watch the match, a complete debacle but a discussion best saved for later.

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RUSSIA 7 vs 28 UNITED STATES
Saturday, November 23, 15:00 GMT, London

Fielding arguably their strongest lineup of the year, the Eagles were put under pressure early as they were forced to defend inside their 22 for multiple phases until a big hit by Adam Siddall caused Vladimir Ostroushko to knock on. The tables turned and Russia were forced back into their end, but Anton Ryabov’s clearing kick was returned with interest on a weaving run by Tim Maupin. The ball quickly went wide to Folau Niua and the centre popped a lovely offload back inside to a supporting Chris Wyles for the game’s opening score.

A few minutes later it was Andrew Suniula’s turn to make an impact, the big centre uncharacteristically stepping around a couple defenders to get behind the defensive line. Quick hit-ups from Tai Tuisamoa and Cameron Dolan kept the momentum and then the ball was swung wide with Todd Clever showing great hands to put Samu Manoa into space and the big lock bulldozed straight through Igor Galinovski to score his first try for his country.

Wyles nearly went over just before the half but he couldn’t quite re-gather his own perfectly weighted grubber, knocking on at the goal line in a desperation tackle from Vasili Artemyev. The Russians cleared their lines and the half came with the Eagles leading by a dozen.

The second half opened well for the Americans, with Siddall kicking a conversion just after the restart to extend the lead to 15. Russia battled back as Galinovski burst through three tackles up the middle, but the Bears couldn’t take advantage, turning the ball over in a maul and giving the Eagles a scrum on their own 22.

In a fantastic passage of play, Suniula ripped through a gaping hole in the defense and offloaded to Niua who was finally brought down just inside the Russian 22. The ball was spun back across the line and Tuisamoa nearly broke through but was scragged by Sergey Sugrobov. The Americans recycled again and again but got too frantic with the line at their mercy and the ball was knocked on, opportunity lost.

Russia finally got on the board when replacement flyhalf Yuri Kushnarev put up a perfectly placed high ball for Denis Simplikevich to run onto. The towering winger disrupted Blaine Scully in the air and the ball squirted free, ending up in Andrei Garbuzov’s hands. It’s not too often you see a second row outstrip the cover defense to score, but that’s exactly what the big fella did, with Kushnarev adding the extras to get the Bears back into the game.

The Eagles bounced right back as Andrei Otrokov, only just into the game for Simplikevich who hurt himself in the Scully challenge, committed a terrible knock on from a Shaun Davies box kick to gave possession to the Americans right on his own 22. Manoa, Clever, and Suniula combined to break through but Otrokov killed the ball on the goal line and was sent to the bin for a professional foul. Disappointingly captain Clever opted for the posts, and Siddall obliged to stretch the lead to 11.

The decision was academic at that point as Russia had run out of gas. Another Siddall penalty and a Dolan try on fulltime closed out the match. Irrespective of the subpar opposition and the numerous stoppages due to minor injuries it was a good match, probably the most complete performance by the Eagles of the entire year, and it’s a terrible shame that the blazers have prevented so many fans from enjoying it.

SCORING
17 mins – C. Wyles try 0-5
18 mins – A. Siddall con 0-7
25 mins – S. Manoa try 0-12
42 mins – A. Siddall pen 0-15
55 mins – A. Garbuzov try 5-15
56 mins – Y. Kushnarev con 7-15
62 mins – A. Siddall pen 7-18
75 mins – A. Siddall pen 7-21
80 mins – C. Dolan try 7-26
80 mins – A. Siddall con 7-28

CARDS
61 mins – A. Otrokov yellow (professional foul)

RUSSIA
R. Gaisin (Y. Kushnarev 52); V. Artemyev, I. Galinovski, D. Gerasimov, V. Ostroushko (D. Simplikevich 48 {A. Otrokov 56-70}); S. Sugrobov (A. Otrokov 75), A. Ryabov; G. Tsnobiladze (A. Volkov 67), V. Tsnobiladze (V. Korshunov 54), E. Pronenko (I. Zykov 62); A. Voytov (capt.), A. Garbuzov (A. Fatakhov 70); A. Khudyakov, P. Butenko, V. Gresev.

UNITED STATES
C. Wyles; B. Scully (L. Hume 75), F. Niua (S. Kelly 70), A. Suniula, T. Maupin; A. Siddall, R. Shaw (S. Davies 52); N. Wallace (O. Kilifi 62), P. Thiel, T. Lamositele (E. Fry HT); T. Tuisamoa (D. Asbun 65), S. Manoa (G. Harriman 77); T. Clever (capt.), S. LaValla, C. Dolan.

Referee: M. Mitrea (FIR)

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