Saturday, October 29, 2011

USA vs Japan - August 2011

This weekend sees the kick-off of the 2010-2011 Japanese professional season  - the Japanese Top League, with USA Eagles captain, Todd Clever, playing for Suntory Sungoliath. The Tokyo based side is one of three teams from Japan´s captial city in the fourteen team competition. It is to be Clever´s second season with the club after he joined from South African side the Lions. Earlier in 2011, Suntory were crowned All Japan Champions after they defeated the Sanyo Wild Knights 37-20 in the final played at the Prince Chichbu Memorial Rugby Ground. The venue is also known as Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium and it hosted a Rugby World Cup warm-up match between Japan and the USA in August. Clever was a part of the USA Eagles team in Tokyo for the match but was not selected for the match as he was deemed to require rest time after two physical matches vs Canada over the previous two weekends. Scrumhalf, Mike Petri captained the Eagles in place of Clever.

The match was a highly competitive affair with the USA winning at halftime to suggest they would be able to challenge Ireland in the teams opening match of Rugby World Cup 2011. Like the Eagles match vs Ireland they were able to defend well against Japan and had the hosts under pressure as they held a 14-8 lead at the interval. The strong defensive line was supported by a good scrum with Mike MacDonald becoming the most capped USA player of all time. The first half was also highly influenced by the weather with rain contributing to a number of handling errors from both sides. The hosts were a different side after the break with the fitness of the Japanesse proving to be of thequality of a first tier side. the USA, on the other hand, seemed to run out of steam midway through the secondhalf whcih allowed Japan to get on top and take control of the match. The USA did fight back with the likes of Paul Emerick, Tai Enosa, Scott Lavalla, and Shawn Pittman all pressing hard for places in the World Cup fixture vs Ireland. The final score of 20-14 was better one than that when the USA toured Japan for two tests in 2008.

USA Eagles

15 Blaine Scully (Unattached)
14 Kevin Swiryn (Agen, France)
13 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore)
12 Paul Emerick (Life University)
11 James Paterson (Otago Highlanders, New Zealand)
10 Nese Malifa (Glendale)
9 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club) *Captain
8 Jonathan Gagiano (University of Cape Town)
7 Lou Stanfill (Mogliano, Italy)
6 Pat Danahy (Life University)
5 Hayden Smith (Saracens, England)
4 Scott LaValla (Stade Français, France)
3 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks)
2 Phillip Thiel (Life University)
1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie, England)


16 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate)
17 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh, England)
18 Nic Johnson (Unattached)
19 Ryan Chapman (Utah Warriors)
20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham, England)
21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby)
22 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins)

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