Friday, December 30, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 - Australia 67-5 USA

The third match of Rugby World Cup 2011 for the USA was against two time World Champion, Australia in the New Zealand capital of Wellington. It was a game that the USA was not expected to compete well in due to the level of rugby that Australia plays. The Wallabies had come off a shock loss against Ireland in its previous match which put Ireland in pole position to win the pool. Australia were, therefore, out to not only win the match vs the North Americans but to win it well. Matters were not helped by the schedule which had been handed to the USA Eagles. While they had had time to recover from their 13-6 win over Russia, the USA were to play Italy only four days after facing Australia. The USA decided to field a second-string team to face Australia so that it could have its best players all 100% fit and ready to face the Italians.

While the USA were defeated by a big margin the 67-5 loss was smaller than what it would have been in previous World Cup´s. The second tier proved it had closed the gap on the first and there was plenty of reason to believe that it could be closed even more by giving the easier match schedules to the likes of Canada, Fiji, Georgia, Japan, Romania, Russia Samoa, Tonga and the USA. If these sides were to have sufficient trime between each match to always be able to field their best players then the chances of a superior contest would certainly be amplified.

The USA fielded an entirely different backline to that which had been used in its two previous matches as well as the one which would face Italy. It was a similar story in the forwards with the first choice player starting being secondrower Hayden Smith.The big name USA players such as Todd Clever, Paul Emerick, Mike Petri, Taku Ngwenya,  Lou Stanfill and Chris Wyles had all been left out. Aside from Hayden Smith, the USA was still able to field two players from big name clubs with Stade Français´ Scott LaValla starting in the secondrow and Agen´ Kevin Swiryn playing on the left wing. It was not enough however, not to face an Australian team packed with world class players with the likes of Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper,  Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Rocky Elsom and Nathan Sharpe all starting.

JJ Gagiano en route to the try line
Australia ran out easy winners scoring eleven tries to one. But the USA did get to have a moment of celebration as backrower, JJ Gagiano scored a superb try. The number eight managed to get passed Australia´s highly regarded Rocky Elsom as the USA had been putting the Wallabies under tremendous pressure from a scrum close to the tryline. The try was scored in the 22nd minute which made the scores 10-5 to the Wallabies. At this point in time the match was yet to fully open up and it was plausible to suggest that the USA could compete despite lacking its top players. Australia did go into halftime well on top, however, as they were leading 22-5 with a bonus point already secured. The USA were blown off the park in the final quarter, however, as the Wallabies superior fitness resulted in five tries as the Australians rebounded well from their loss to Ireland.   


  1. it's matches like this, where the schedule made weaker sides field their weaker teams that should be removed from the World Cup

    Romania v England was another example of this happening

    in fact the worst team in the tournament Namibia got the worst schedule

    Georgia who played their strongest team every match I believe could have come within 14 points of England, but conceded 3 tries in the last 10 minutes which distorted the score because they had a hard match against Scotland in mid week, they also could have perhaps got a losing bonus point against Argentina as well, but faded towards the end

  2. 100% correct.

    Considering Australia came off a loss vs Ireland this could have been a big occassion if it had been Australia and not the USA havinbg a four day turn around. Had the USA had a full strength side, like the one that gave Ireland a good match then this could have been so much better.

    Hopefully the IRB do make changes for 2015 so that it is Australia vs Ireland on Saturday followed by Australia vs the USA on Wednesday.