A 74-6 loss for the Eagle men last night.

That was painful to read. But an important fact in the opening, “but momentum changed sides quickly as the New Zealand Maori showed what a full professional side can accomplish”.

It’s easy to read that score and think, wow, we completely suck. But a game like that, essentially amateurs trained together for a few weeks at most playing professional paid athletes … it’s like David to Goliath. A D-III team playing a D-I team. College football to the NFL.

Goff’s headline (subscription required)? “Maori Smoke USA“. And this defining sentence – “They were too quick, too skilled, and too much for an Eagle side still getting its sea legs.”

Kurt Oeler’s got more here on the game in detail and then some.

Some 30 points worse than the two teams’ 2004 meeting, the lopsided result compares with last season’s whitewash at the hands of Wales, and discredits the idea that changed coaching or selections would account for the gap between professional and amateur rugby players. Thorburn succeeded Tom Billups prior to the start of the 2006 season, and five of last night’s starters are new to the test level.

Keep your heads up guys …



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5 responses to “Ouch.

  1. P

    Yeah, I went down there last night and it was so bad that I left at about 30min into the 1st half. The USA backs did’nt even look like they were in good physical condition. The only back w/a good performance was the Belmont Shore 15 but obviously he’s only one person. Too bad because the stadium was packed w/people too.

  2. John Birch

    I’m surprised your so surprised. The gulf between fully professional (which, by definition, means male) rugby players and the rest is has grown to a really unbridgable level. ook at England, where teams in the second tier of English cluhb rugby – still seriously good, semi-pro sides like Exeter and Plymouth – get caned by top level teams when they meet competitively.

    An amatuer USA side up against a Super 12 selection who do little else in their lives other than play and train (and occasionally hit each other with handbags) had a stiff task. The full England team often struggle a bit against the Maoris. And rugby, perhaps more than other football codes, tends to emphasise even quite small differences.

    On a more positive note, the women’s game is a more even playing field. It all amatuer – which is, of course, why the USA does so much better.

    So I wouldn’t despair. Its only a few years since an England side lost something like 96-0 to Australia – and then proceeded to win the World Cup about two years later.

  3. P

    I agree w/u. If we had the same numbers which aspire to the NFL/NHL we’d be unbeatable. Certainly rugby is a popular sport here w/almost every college having teams but its nothing compared to a place where every high school has a team. Plus, I’m sure the USA MNT would luv to have rugby as their full time job like the NZ men verses having to practice only Tue/Thu nights after another full time job.

    And you’re right about the women too. I think it’ll be like soccer where the USA women are the dominant world team while the USA men might be only so-so(and I hope the tradition starts this year at the WC:)).

  4. R-Man-Fest

    I have 2 thoughts
    1) Rugby US will never get the best atheletes until it gets enough media. To get that media, they will have to loose money doing things like posting video of big games for free download online etc. – once it is seen and understood throughout the country, players will come.

    2) I have played several sports and have found 1 thing to be true. You can often defeat teams or players on other teams who are much better than you simply by being in better shape.

    I had a coach once who didn’t know how to coach the sport I was playing very well and we were just learning so he just worked us out to death and we went undefeated and I am sure many of the teams we faced were much better than us.

    Maybe we should focus on just simply getting the best atheletes we can get to play as a team for a year or so as our national team

  5. Blondie

    John – I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. Maybe just at the score, because of the sheer number of points. And I absolutely agree. Gulf is a great word for the difference between pro and amateur rugby. And yes, I definitely believe there is hope. It just takes time and a lot of work.

    R-Man – Again, I agree. Rugby more than most sports requires fitness. The best teams really are also the most fit. You can be a great rugby player, but if you’re opponent is beating you to the breakdowns in the second half, you’re going to lose.

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