Saturday, March 31, 2012

England vs USA - Rugby World Cup 2007

Lens, France before the match

When the reigning champions from Rugby World Cup 2003, England, were made aware that they would be starting their title defence agaisnt the United States of America in the French city of Lens rugby fans and journalists alike were suer that not only would it be a safe warm-up match before facing South Africa the following weekend, but also a simple victory. England were expected to knock over the USA Eagles and pick up a bonus point, and likely do so before the half time interval. The USA, however, made sure England had to work as hard as possible to collect the victory. When the final whistle blew, the USA left the park having accomplished its mission. England, in contrast, tried its best to avoid being torn apart from the global rugby media as the Europeans failed to secure a bonus point and the 29-10 victory was hardly what had been predicted in the lead up to the World Cup. 

Jason Robinson scores vs the USA
Such is the differing goals of teams from the First Tier to that of the Second that generally speaking, matches such as England vs the USA are used for motives other than achieving victory for the weaker side. This does not mean that the USA did not go out to win the match but, rather, that the desire of competiting well against an elite side, in this case World Champions, and doing so for 80 minutes was ultimately what coach Peter Thorburn was looking for from his players. He was not let down as a young American team featuring players who have gone on to be key players really performed well. The likes of Todd Clever, Lou Stanfill, Taku Ngwenya and Chris Wyles were all inexperienced players in the starting XV. All of them were playing in the USA or in the lower divisions of professional rugby in 2007 but have since moved on to bigger things and have become names known to the global rugby audience. Just three weeks latter Ngwenya showed how good he is as the USA took on South Africa and he scored the try of the World Cup. The players are a strong indication of what is possible if a country´s leading players can be exposed to professional rugby. Should the USA go ahead and create a professional league in part, or across the country, possibly with Canada then its development will continue and it could be a World Cup Quarter Finalist in quick time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment