Captain Todd Clever is looking to lead his USA Eagles to an upset of legendary proportions against number three in the world Ireland.
The USA Eagles have been on a constant improvement since John Mitchell took over as head coach. Mitchell’s time, however, will be coming to and end in 4 weeks. Todd Clever, the most capped player in USA history, will be looking to send him off in the best way. A win against the number three team in the world, and the team that ended the All Blacks win streak would be talked about for generations.
The Eagles will be looking to take advantage of loss of players to the British and Irish Lions to their advantage. The Lions have selected eleven players from Ireland to play in the New Zealand tour. While the Ireland team will be light for the upcoming tour, the USA team will be at full strength. 23 of their 30 man squad were a part of the ARC championship squad. Only one player called in to camp has never been capped, Paddy Ryan of the New Castle Falcons. Ryan was brought in to replace injured Titi Lamositele. Matai Leuta was also called up to replace Luke Hume.
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) June 6, 2017
Improved availability for the Eagles
Usually during international series, many Eagles will only be available for a few matches. That will not be the case this year as all 30 member will be available for all four matches. This will greatly help the Eagles improve during their summer series gearing up for the all important qualification matches. The match against Ireland is important, but preparing for the RWC Qualification matches against Canada are even more so. Having players who will be able to work with each other and settle in their position through two whole matches before qualifications will be an amazing boost to the team.
The Eagles will be co-captained this series by Todd Clever and Nate Augspurger. Augspurger became well known in the Eagles squad as a scrum half, but played on the wing during the ARC. Hopefully this series will continue to feature him out wide as he performed very well there and Shaun Davies had an excellent series at the number 9. Todd Clever is a legend in the Eagles squad. The co-owner and player for the Austin Huns has a record setting 73 caps to his name. He is exactly the leader the Eagles need for a very tough test series this month.
Ireland not taking the Eagles lightly.
Ireland is one of the best teams in the world. In the last 7 months they have ended two long steaks by New Zealand and England. They have a powerful scrum and attack, and are a well balanced team. They are not looking past the Eagles though. Simon Easterby, Ireland forwards coach discussed playing the Eagles this weekend.
“They play Canada after us. They will be desperate to put in a good performance to try and springboard their qualification into the two Canadian games.
“They have plenty of experience as well. Obviously we are well aware of AJ MacGinty at 10 and his time at Connacht and his time now at Sale. But Nate Augspurger his half-back partner at nine, he’s electric he can play on the wing as well and he’s a real threat. They have a lot of Sevens experience in the squad as well.
“They are a real threat if we give them those opportunities. Mike Te’o, Madison Hughes, both real quality individuals with ball in hand. Actually, as a forward pack under John Mitchell, they’ve developed a really strong driving game. They have a couple of front rowers who are playing in the Aviva Premiership at the moment”Irish Mirror
The end of the Mitchell era, will the Eagles make it memorable?
The Eagles have the tools to make it through this upcoming series with a lot of success. Their ability to work together and to make the progress necessary will be the difference between success and failure. Though Ireland is much higher ranked than the Eagles, their ranks are thinned by the Lions tour. Will that be enough for the Eagles to turn the corner with an amazing win against one of the top teams in the world? The Eagles may upset the world, although it is in their hands to do so.