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Rugby World Cup: Eagles Establish Credibility in 9-31 loss to France


Photo Credit: Mike Lee-KLC

What is credibility?

Credibility (Noun): the quality of being trusted and believed in.

Gary Gold stated after the England loss that the Eagles were not credible in their performance.  The standards had previously been set by the player group.  One of the few times I've ever seen him yell.  That's not really his way.  But it's nice to see that he doesn't stay calm through every storm.

When the kickoff started and the collisions began, the Eagles did not back down.  Their defensive intensity from the Pacific Nations Cup was back.  This was an opportunity for the Eagles, Jacques Brunel chose to field a very young front row against the Eagles, but had his grizzled starters waiting on the bench.  Eric Fry in his first major game since getting injured, Canada was the dress rehearsal and this the main act, scrummed well against Setiano and Slimani.

When you look at the Eagles defense, it held the French to twelve points through 66 minutes.  Tackle completion went up.  On attack the Eagles were better, within 3 points midway into the final quarter.  There were some things that will need to be addressed.  The game plan changed for the Eagles, which was important. Against England they played for territory against one of the best back fives in the world, but this time?  Keeping the ball in hand led to a great tempo.

The mistakes for the Eagles cam on Attack.  Whilst brilliant at times, Aj MacGinty definitely didn't have his best game.  There were several possessions within 10 meters of the try line where he put it down for a chip through only to have it recovered by the French.  However, the French were the only ones in position to take advantage of the exchange as no Eagle was in position to grab the ball.

Sometimes, you kick for points, and sometimes you need to be assertive.  The second penalty was a point in the match where Captain Blaine Scully should have committed to the set-piece to get a try.  However, as the game went on you came to understand why.

The Lineout for the Eagles was a mess.  There were a few mauls, one which should have been a penalty try certainly, but after that the Eagles continued to give away the ball.

Still, the Eagles were in this putting the French on the back foot.  But slowly, as the French subs started to wear down the Eagles Front line and the damn broke with a try by Fickou and then another by Serin.  The French capped off their scoring ten minutes later after a surge from the Eagles defense in a try by Poirot.

But make no mistake, the Eagles even in a poor game where they executed some thing poorly, they were credible.  Tony Lamborn and Marcel Brache played out of their mind.  And now, the Eagles must prepare for Argentina.