Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The USA outgun Russia in the Churchill Cup

Amongst the internationals taking place around the world currently, the Churchill Cup got under way in Denver this past weekend with Canada beating Uruguay, and the USA overcoming Russia 39-22 in this featured sports betting match.

The Russians looked the stronger side in the first half, but the USA got things going in the second as they stretched the lead after the scores had changed hands numerous times throughout the game.

Coached by former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan, the USA team is steadily building in stature and featured Saracens back Chris Wyles, and Biarritz winger Zee Ngwenya. Both crossed for tries as their side strung together some impressive pieces of play.

"We struggled with the pace of the game early out," said O'Sullivan. "Having not played for over six months, it was expected we'd be a bit rusty. We were happy with the win, but it's clear we still have a lot of work going forward.

"We had a proper patch in the second half, I think a lot of our guys dug deep and our replacements were fast off the bench. They all worked hard for this result."

Despite coming off second best, the Russians were equally impressive with their home grown talent and physical approach to the game, and are definitely going to be an interesting side to keep an eye on at next years World Cup, where the two sides will meet in their opening games.

It was an enjoyable match and the standard of play was good to see. Russia face the England Saxons next, today, followed by France A against Uruguay. The USA Eagles will play England next on Sunday.

Time: 05:33



  • Oh yeah. Good to see it. Very good game of rugby. Thanks!

    By Anonymous Benson, at June 09, 2010 4:11 pm  

  • its great to see matches played by nations that are not traditionally rugby playing countries

    By Anonymous pilapica, at June 09, 2010 4:17 pm  

  • russians are bound to be big and brutish right? at least that what we get to see on tv... they should get a good international coach just like the usa did, promising teams

    By Anonymous eric, at June 09, 2010 4:17 pm  

  • USA look to have developed, impressed by the loosehead. Shame we didn't get to see a bit more as highlights only tell part of the tale. Russia and USA both looked competent and the seeds of growth are definitely there

    By Blogger Geraint Hill, at June 09, 2010 4:52 pm  

  • being a yank, im so damn happy to see consistency in the yank team, for the backs at least, its not really the same team from 07's cup. and not as near as consistent as say the boks. but usa have, emirick, wyles, ngwenya, and blindside flanker who i forget his name... all players in 07's cup still playing together. to bad todd was injured. :(

    By Anonymous VictorSoCalRuggger, at June 09, 2010 5:24 pm  

  • 'This will be passionate, it will be physical, it will be intense.....and ofcourse my commentary will be shit!'

    interesting video though

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 09, 2010 6:15 pm  

  • What about Canada over Uraguay 48-6 .. that game was good, but more to come..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 09, 2010 6:38 pm  

  • Well, we ought to win one game at least...since we're playing at home.

    Looks to be a decent amount of people in the stands. It's weird, though, the Churchill Cup is a semi-large event, but I haven't heard it being promoted at all.

    I was wondering why Todd Clever was missing from the team, but I forgot he had injured his shoulder, and I guess he's out for the whole Churchill Cup.

    By Anonymous Flagstaff, at June 09, 2010 7:11 pm  

  • good game of rugby by so-called "minnows",
    thx RD for digging out highlights of these games between developping rugby nation
    well done !! :D

    By Anonymous luxi, at June 09, 2010 8:11 pm  

  • Quite impressed with the technique of some Us players... especially the loose-head prop.
    Nygwenia has gained 20 pounds ever since joining the BO or what ?
    Then again when you know the food in this region...does make sense.

    Good highlights thx RD

    By Blogger jay, at June 09, 2010 8:18 pm  

  • Enjoyable match, positive attacking rugby, 6 nations take note

    By Anonymous jack, at June 09, 2010 9:23 pm  

  • I think as the 6 nations is the northern hemisphere comp, it wont be long til we see a ten nations cup! canada, usa, russia and possibly spain/portugal/georgia, it will have to happen one day to bring this great game to new heights!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 09, 2010 9:47 pm  

  • this was an excellent game. Full credit to both teams (obviously extra congrats to USA as they're my team)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 09, 2010 10:22 pm  

  • good stuff

    By Blogger sebastian, at June 09, 2010 10:32 pm  

  • some savage tries in there, fair play to both teams.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 09, 2010 10:33 pm  

  • my team has a great coach...!

    By Anonymous marie, at June 09, 2010 11:47 pm  

  • that russian FB has some serious gas!!

    By Anonymous Ben, at June 10, 2010 12:24 am  

  • Love seeing highlights from minnow games. I'm surprised at how decent these teams looked, especially Russia. Good to see Americans getting into rugby too.

    By Anonymous waterheater, at June 10, 2010 12:31 am  

  • It's great to see the standard of play of both teams has come on enormously, but I think they're a way off 6 Nations level yet (might only lose by 50 rather than 100). I feel sorry for Russia in this game, as the US scored one try off a blatant knock on, and another involved a forward pass (4.13 mark on the vid). That said, the US did look the stronger all round team, particularly at the end when fitness differences start to count.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 10, 2010 12:51 am  

  • Just fantastic!!!! Commendable standard of play by both sides, great to see!!! Go U.S.A.

    By Anonymous YankeeRugger76, at June 10, 2010 2:01 am  

  • Ivan drago vs. Rocky balboa

    Ivan 2nd row, rocky say..a hooker??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 10, 2010 2:52 am  

  • russian fullback learned his trade in Ireland with Blackrock College. played Ireland underage and all. Very good player!

    By Anonymous theboss, at June 10, 2010 3:13 am  

  • i love usa but terrible defense and fitness you can just tell from the video

    By Blogger Joe, at June 10, 2010 4:34 am  

  • The Melbourne Rebels need to have a look at that Russiam FB he was great!

    On a lighter note I am doing a audition tape up and sending it off to Setanta cause that guy is hopeless...

    By Anonymous ned2or3, at June 10, 2010 5:52 am  

  • USA! Thanks RD for getting these highlights up here!

    Great play from both teams, especially on the attack. But let's all remember who's playing here. Both these squads are mostly amateurs or play at a less-than-premier level and most of the attacking was done by individuals with great skill and training from outside their national team and thus were able to breach the defenses with more ease than they would against more established and organized programs.

    Professionalism allows a national team greater focus in training because the team is well-established findamentally. Teams like USA and Russia must spend more time building fundamentals on the whole. So called 'minnow' nations aren't able to play defense as well as Teir One nations can. It's not that higher ranked nations are somehow more athletic or more skilled, but they are better trained and organized, especially in regards to defense.

    Most national rugby teams seek to win primarily through defense and territory, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. This highly organized, often dour, defensive approach cuts down on the ability for individuals to put on great attacking performances akin to the ones demonstrated here.

    It is my belief that as developing rugby nations increase the standard to which they play defense the stronger they will preform on a world stage. Ngewnya socred the fantastic try of the tournament against South Africa back in RWC 2007, but let's not forget who won that match in the end, by quite a lot I might add. Individual skill and sweeping attacking movements bring crowds to their feet and make for good highlight reels, but in the end in is defense that wins when the sir blows that final whistle.

    By Anonymous New England Fullback, at June 10, 2010 5:56 am  

  • Still going to get ravaged by the Canucks whoop whoop!

    By Anonymous NorthernRugby, at June 10, 2010 6:58 am  

  • New England Fullback, you are right that defence is hugely important, but don't fall into the trap of thinking that because Northern Hemisphere teams make it the cornerstone of their game, that that's the best way to play rugby.
    Remember, the best teams are from the southern hemisphere, and they are better exactly because they have a more ambitious, attacking mindset, right thru their rugby programs.
    It results in players with better skills and the ability to unlock those defences you're talking about.
    The Europeans huff and puff their way up the field, while the southerners pass, step and break tackles, and end up winning more games.

    By Anonymous Tom, at June 10, 2010 7:00 am  

  • Still going to get ravaged by the Canucks whoop whoop!

    You're probably right. Oh well, come RWC time, I'd be just as happy to support Canada if the USA get knocked out too early on and Canada can make it through.

    By Anonymous Cucurrucucu Paloma, at June 10, 2010 7:36 am  

  • Tom- Southern Hemisphere teams have the advantage on the attack because of those damnable ELV's making it harder to turn the ball over at the breakdown and thus harder to play defense.

    Let's not forget RWC Final 2007. The Boks, a Southern Hemisphere team, won by defense and kicking rather than dynamic offense.

    As an American rugger, I feel that rugby in the USA will develop more along the lines of the Northern Hemisphere defensive game linked to power running and a focus on turnovers rather than into a Super 14 style display of sweeping attacks, deft offloads, and quick ball after a tackle.

    The vast majority of American rugby players have most of their sporting experience on the gridiron before converting to the code of the odd shaped ball. This fosters a mentality of strong and direct play rather than fluid creativity.

    I'm not debating what approach works better, Northern or Southern. I'm stating how I think rugby in nations like USA and Russia will develop; along the lines of Northern hemisphere play with the focus on defense rather than open attacking play.

    All this said, I know South Africa and New Zealand are the most consistient teams on Earth. However, I do not feel this is because of their style of play but rather because of how seriously they take their rugby. No nation has a player pool of the quality that these two nations have to draw on. It is because of these unrivalled foundations that they are able to preform as well as they do. Simply put, they could play any style of rugby they wish and would still be the favorite under most circumstances.

    NZ has a population of about 4.3 million. The USA; around 309 million. Despite this, the All Blacks would absolutely SMOKE the Eagles ten times out of ten. Why? Because their player pool is of such quality that it completely negates any other advantages an opposing nation may enjoy. Yes, SA and NZ are the best teams on Earth. But I don't believe that is rooted in something so superficial as their style of play but rather in something much deeper.

    By Anonymous New England Fullback, at June 10, 2010 12:18 pm  

  • Controversial statement: that match was so exciting because the teams were less drilled and improvised more. Sure, the defence wasn't as good, but it made for exciting rugby.

    By Anonymous Scrumpox, at June 10, 2010 1:19 pm  

  • @ New England Fullback:

    i agree with you, but I might add/explain, that it is such rugby culture/training/organization/skill that gives the advantage to NZ and SA because they can adapt their team to any type of play. We've seen SA kicking upfield and applying pressure, just defending and counter attacking and even, on ocasion, taking the attack into their hands and dominating posession and territory. They can adapt.

    Curious fact, if you look at U14s to U18s results, the gap between Tier 1 and other tiers' nations is way smaller. My country, Portugal, was promoted to Tier 1 Six nations and will be playing france, england, etc in U18 come next season!!!! The big difference is in the U21 and Senior teams' setup. The amount of time you practice, your gym and fitness preparation, training, technique development. I dare saying that with time the world of rugby will just get more and more competitive. Things as the annual Youth Rugby Festival are great, with participation of spanish and portuguese teams, a welsh regional selection, teams from bath rugby...

    @ the anon way above.

    I think 10 nations would be an exageration. It is hard enough to introduce a "minnow" in a tournament and stimulate its growth as it is (look at Italy, although they are on the rise). To have a 10 nations would either be madness or take ages to organize.

    My opinion is that the IRB, together with all the countries' federations, should keep promoting youth rugby, but start focusing on more structured and organized domestic competitions, clubs, coaches, etc. so the smaller nations can progress. Im ashamed to admit that, even though my team being the reigning U21 portuguese champion, the only time Ive seen assistant referees was in the final.

    Cheers from Portugal, RD

    By Blogger Xavier, at June 10, 2010 7:21 pm  

  • Scrumpox - EXACTLY! Because these teams do not play a disciplined and organized defense on a Tier One level, it aloows for more opportunities for individuals to attack. This does make for an excellent spectacle but really doesn't make a minnow team competitive against the higher-ranked big dogs.

    Xavier - Age group international rugby (U18's, U20's, and under) have more parity for the same reason the USA and Russia can attack the way they do. Players at this level are not professional rugby players (with a few exceptions) but are young amateurs. They are not as drilled as professionals. The same is true at any mostly amateur level. Professional rugby players play rugby. It's what they do! And they work hours each day to maintaina nd improve their form. Primariliy amateur competitions don't have that luxury. They spend hours each week at school or at their job and must train for their game in what time they have extra. This leads to a less-organized player pool and less discipline and rugby knowledge ont he pitch. What that does, is levels the playing field in the same way I mention above. Raw athletic ability becomes more important than rugby skill because the level of skill and organization overall is lesser than that of a full-blown test match. This allows for more parity, similar to the way sevens does.

    Also, I completely agree with you that the focus of developing rugby nations should be domestic competitions. Everyone in America is always talking about playing on the world stage and trying to raise interest in the game through internationals and play at the highest level. I've always felt that a domestic competition will create a strong foundation for the game in a country by raising it's profile, exposing the populace to the game directly (it's hard to be interested in a sport you know nothing about), and allowing skilled players to play their game, progress the level of their game, and remain in their home nation and thus stay available for those internationals everyone lauds so much.

    By Anonymous New England Fullback, at June 10, 2010 11:01 pm  

  • Actually this game looked better than Canada vs Uruguay. Poor rugby played by Canada,

    By Anonymous Canadian Content, at June 10, 2010 11:57 pm  

  • New England Fullback, Australia is also a better team than the Europeans, with far less resources than several of them.
    NZ, SA and Aus players generally have better handling and passing skills, and this is fostered at an early age, because they focus on these skills. The reason there is such a focus is their philosophy and ambition in rugby.
    Eddie Jones put it really well when he went to coach in england.
    He was genuinlly shocked at the lack of ambition inherint in English rugby.
    It's the safety first mentality that gets taught from a young age, which results in players who never have a chance to develop the attacking mindset (leading to better descision making) and the skills required to play a high temp, attacking game.
    If it was just down to resources or playing numbers, England and France would dominate test rugby.
    They don't because there's more to it.
    Australia, for example, has been in three world cup finals, winning two, and they have far fewer players and resources than the big European countries, but are generally more succesful, because of their approach to the game.
    I agree that it makes sense for the US to adopt the European defensive first approach, simply because they probably don't have the players to play an up-tempo, high skilled game.
    And in case you weren't aware mate, the ELVs don't exist anymore, and the south still dominates, just like they have for virtually the entire history of organised rugby.

    By Anonymous Tom, at June 11, 2010 2:22 am  

  • Tom - You are right that we cannot seperate a nation's player pool from their style of play as much as I seem to have inferred in my bove statements. Rather, the psychology behind ambitious attacking rugby must be rooted directly in that foundation that the player pool is.

    That psychology of open attacking complete with deft handling and passing/offloading will be very difficult for an American rugby program to foster, while a defensive, hard-hitting, power rugby gameplan comes very naturally to the average American rugger.

    Most American players discover the game while in college. I myself didn't pick up rugby until I was 19 years old. My college team had minimal rugby experience overall. However, almost every member of the team was at one point or another playing organized gridiron football. This experience was the foundation of our approach to rugby. And that approach was one of defense, hard tackling, and raw strength. We did not posses the developed skillsets needed for Southern Hemisphere style attacking play but had power and the strong desire to dominate at contact that is provided by gridiron experience. Unless American athletes begin playing rugby at very young ages and are encouraged to develop attackign ambition and skill, the defensive approach will dominate in American rugby and stiring attacks will be left to a small number brave individuals with the talent and training (often recieved overseas i.e. Chris Wyles, Z Ngwenya) rather than fostered as the overall style of play.

    By Anonymous New England Fullback, at June 11, 2010 5:30 am  

  • New England Fullback you make alot of sense there.
    What part of New England are youf rom by the way?
    I lived in Framingham, Mass. for about 5 years, about 15 years ago.
    There wasn't much rugby around then though, has much changed?

    By Anonymous Tom, at June 11, 2010 6:21 am  

  • Going to the finals next week up in New Jersey. Looks like it should shape out into a good day of play.

    I would like to see the US join the 6 nations with Canada, Russia and Georgia. This will only raise the level of the game here in the US. Or add Romania and Portugal and make another 6 Nations B with relegation in the 6 Nations.

    I do not think the US is taking a Northern Hemisphere approach. I think they will develop a Southern Hemisphere attack and defense. It would be nice to see them come away with a couple of wins at the next world cup.

    By Anonymous MBesio4, at June 11, 2010 7:10 am  

  • Tom - I go to college in Springfield Mass. and play for my college side and have made the odd cameo on a men's club B-side over the last two years. Rubgy has, actually, greatly expanded in New England over the last decade and teams can be found on the college and club levels throughout these six states.

    MBesio4 - I have to disagree. The USA will never be able to develop into a Southern Hemisphere style team unless something fundamentaly changes in our national sporting landscape.

    Unless we start playing rugby very early and learn the finer skills, confidence, and ambition needed for SANZAR-style attacking we can never become as such. We ahve to develop our national team according to the player pool we can draw it from.

    That said, I would not choose to follow such a course. I believe in defense, turnovers, and ball control. Such an approach is rewarded by the American player pool at hand. And that player pool is not experienced in rugby, but is greatly experienced in American football.

    Gridiron football is out national sport. One weekend of NCAA and NFL football earns more money in two days than the Rugby World Cup will earn in 2011. Every kid in America knows what football is. We have to use that experience to the fullest and it is most rewarding on the rugby field when the gameplan is one based in strong running, raw strength, and rock solid defense.

    New Zealand and Australia can play the way they do because their player pool is able to play that way. Ours is not. The American rugger is better served, by and large, by defense and power.

    If we can develop domestic rugby and raise the national profile of the sport, the quality of that player pool will increase. To do so, we should link early participation in rugby with youth gridiron football. The two should go hand-in-hand. Then, upon reaching college age, when most individuals hang up their football cleats, they can keep their rugby boots on and continue to play the game of the odd shaped ball.

    The national character of American rugby should develop into one of disciplined, diehard defense and raw physicality, especially at the set-piece and the breakdown. If we can smother opposing attacks, all thei flair will be for naught. If we can turn the ball over and retain possesion, that attacking ambition is worthless. We shouldn't dream of beating the Southern Hemisphere at it's own game. We should build towards the day we will crush it with ours.

    By Anonymous New England Fullback, at June 11, 2010 8:43 am  

  • Good attitude Fullback, but the Europeans have been trying that for decades, and the vast majority of the time it doesn't work.
    The reason is partly that the SANZAR nations are actually just as physical and good at defending (if not better in many cases) as the Europeans.
    This gets ignored because what sets them apart (and what makes them the best teams) is they couple that with an excellent attacking game.
    You need both.

    By Anonymous Tom, at June 11, 2010 9:32 am  

  • New Zealand and South Africa both enjoy rugby union as their national sport. Their athlets grow up ball in hand. Even Australia's diverse sporting culture helps their rugby team, as early experience in league or Auusie Rules can translate without tremendous difficulty into union.

    Many European nations don't enjoy such a situation, especially in regards to association football. Brian O'Driscoll recently stated Irish rugby is held back by the draw of soccer, hurling, and Gaelic Football pulling in many young athletes who may otherwise wind up as egg chasers.

    This leaves these nations with a smaller and often less-developed player pool where there simply aren't enough athletes who grew up with the ambition and confidence to develop their individual attacking skills.

    The way I see it, offense relies more on individuals and defense relies more on teamwork. On defense, weak links in the line can be shorn up by the pressence of stronger players in the immediate area. A comptent defense reacts not as individuals but as a unit, shutting down the attack as one. We've all seen it when a defense plays as individuals; they leave gaps and heads-up, ambitious attackers are able to breach the line and tear off huge gains left and right. That said, we've also seen smothering defensive efforts that completely shut down any attack thrown against them.

    When on the attack, however, an individual can really show what he's made of, flying through the defense seemingly at will. That's why there's such a thing as solo tries but no such thing as solo defense.

    Individual skills and adventure make offensive players, but teamwork and discipline on defnese can make a winning team even without that attacking prowess.

    By Anonymous New England Fullback, at June 11, 2010 10:36 am  

  • Back to my original point about player pools, though. When Ireland or Scotland lose young athletes to other games it's a much great loss than the American child who chooses baseball or basketball, simply because European nations have smaller pools of talent to draw on. America has the enormous pool of ex- and current gridiron athletes, who skills translate well into a defensive, disciplined approach to rugby quite naturally.

    European sides have trouble against SANZAR because the Southerners have better palyer pools, more depth, and the ability to play either an attacking or a defensive game at what is often a level higher than that the Europeans can reach. Granted, there have been moments in favor of the Northerners, (Scotland 9-Australia 8, anyone?) but all consistiency rests in the S.H.

    I believe the USA can someday match evenly with SANZAR. If rugby can become more mainstream and a more accepted and widely understood piece of our sporting culture, more skilled American ruggers will arise to the professional and domestic club levels. This will bring up our standard of play and make us a better team. Secondly, as rugby develops a bigger and bigger profile, more and more people will take notice and pay attention. With that increased attention comes the all-important almighty dollar. With advertising tied to a rising profile of the sport, USA Rugby will have the resources to raise the domestic competition in the USA to a hgiher level, eventually creating better ruggers and a better team.

    The ultimate ideal would be a fully-professional premier level of domestic club competition within the USA itself. Here, American ruggers could develop their skills together, and develop to an American style of play that would help create the strong national team we desire. Keeping our ruggers playing here would be excellent as well, for the obvious advantages that need not be listed here.

    Yes, Tom, attacking and defending are both absolutely crucial to playing good rugby. But the state of American rugby right now is not favorable to developing an attacking team along SANZAR lines. Rather, we should work on building defense first, because all our advantages in our player pool lie in that direction. This is only the short-term game. A good preformance by the national team is a critical part of rugby's rise in the USA and developing our defense is the best way to build American rugby right now and in the foreseeable future.

    By Anonymous New England Fullback, at June 11, 2010 10:37 am  

  • Really impressed! The passing was spot on, some great running. Def good to see for the future of rugby.

    By Anonymous Robbie b, at June 11, 2010 12:56 pm  

  • This thread must be a dead cert to win the Rugbydump highest average word count 2010 trophy.

    By Anonymous Phil, at June 11, 2010 1:29 pm  

  • Hey Fullback, England missed 35 tackles vs Australia on the weekend, maybe the US should model their defence on a southern team.

    By Anonymous Tom, at June 15, 2010 5:07 am  

  • Yeah, but that's the english. We tackle better here.

    By Anonymous New England Fullback, at June 15, 2010 7:39 am  

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