On Saturday, November 1st, the All Blacks traveled to Chicago, Ill. to take on the USA Eagles. The game was competitive and intense, for the first 15 minutes or so. The All Blacks ran up the score and ran away with a 74-6 victory. The Eagles were dealt a beating at the hands of the best team in the world but the game served as an excellent learning experience. Here are four takeaways from the USA vs All Blacks friendly match.
Support is The Key to Success
You hear it from the first day you start playing rugby, support, support, support. The All Blacks had superior support in their attack game versus the Eagles and it was how they were able to drive up the score the way they did. Their stellar support was the key to success and, without even looking at times, were able to off load the ball and dot down a score in the try zone.
Sonny Bill Williams Still Dominates
Sonny Bill Williams returned to the All Blacks squad after spending two years playing rugby league with the Sydney Roosters. He found his way across the try line twice and made at least several long runs for the All Blacks. He was later named man of the match for his skillful and dominate play. He expressed his emotions after the game when he tweeted this.
What an experience today, love being apart of this environment again #AllBlackeverything
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) November 2, 2014
The Eagles Still Have A Lot to Be Proud Of
The Eagles made it inside the All Blacks 22 meter line several times, an accomplishment some teams can’t say they have achieved. Unfortunately, the only time the Eagles got on the board was when Adam Siddall nailed two penalty kicks. The Eagles attack looked crisp but they ultimately could not finish when they got inside All Black territory.
The Key to A Better USA Eagles Team? Make A Professional Rugby League In The U.S.
The difference between the All Blacks and the Eagles is that every player on the All Blacks is getting paid to play rugby professionally somewhere in the world. In the Eagles case, only a handful get to go over seas and get paid to play. Most of the Eagles play for top level mens clubs in the U.S. but this competition fails in comparison to the level of play overseas. For example, Mike Petri, Eagles scrum-half, is a teacher and rugby coach in New York and still manages to play for the national team. If the Eagles want to see success in the future it will have to start with getting a professional league here in America and starting to really develop our players.