Late defensive stand gives Men's Eagles win over Stade Toulousain

Wade Bricknell
Wade Bricknell

It was an electric night in Salt Lake City as the USA Men’s Eagles won in a thriller over French club champions Stade Toulousain.

The first half left a lot of lessons for the young USA side, slower to the ball against a quick Toulouse offense, but fireworks broke out in the second half that led to a heart-pumping final few minutes where the USA held on for the win, 24-21. The USA will now head for another short break, before reassembling in November for a short tour soon to be confirmed.

Head Coach Scott Lawrence said on the win, “We’ll certainly learn some lessons with the young guys from those last few minutes, but really proud of the team’s discipline, we didn’t give up the penalty and forcing the turnover there in the end. It was a good opportunity for us to build on the experience, I’m happy the guys were able to come into a game like this, with the speed of the game and learn what it takes to stay at this level of play.”

Captain Greg Peterson noted on the exciting finish, “Toulouse did well to hold on to the ball late, they kept applying pressure and got down to our 22 but Nate Brakeley had a great turnover at the end and that was the game.”

The game started slow for the USA, with Toulouse quick to the ball at the breakdown, however the USA did well to own possession early. Toulouse would capitalize early, with a try on the wing off a kick to the outside. The French winger was left unguarded to reel in the rainbow ball. Neither team really went to the boot tonight otherwise, with most playing ball in hand to keep the carries quick. No additional points going into the half, as each team went to the sheds with the French up, 7-0.

Moving into the second half, the Eagles started to finally find the opposing 22, earning a lineout that would go long, but scooped up by a waiting Bryce Campbell who barged in for the first USA points. Luke Carty’s conversion is good, and he would shortly after add a penalty goal giving the USA their first lead, 10-7.

The final 30 minutes were absolute fireworks on offense for both sides. Toulouse was fast on the outside adding a few tries, while Nate Augspurger intercepted the gainline pass to steal a try back. One of the more exciting moments from the night, hometown kid Takaji Young Yen bodied his way through the line to dive in for a try. His first in a USA shirt and in front of the home Warriors crowd. USA up 24-21 with minutes left.

Toulouse had ball in hand late, keeping pressure and heartrates high. Living beyond the USA 22 for the last three minutes, the Eagles defense needed to hold strong and keep discipline to not give up a penalty in front of the posts. Nate Brakeley and the forwards brought the pressure and stopped the strong French series that was pounding the USA goal line, forcing the penalty and keeping the small lead. With time expired, the clearing kick to touch stayed in bounds allowing Toulouse another shot at points, however the defense didn’t let up and a knock on officially ended it. USA come out victorious on home soil.

Peterson said in closing, “I think tonight the guys will take away even more confidence in what we’re doing. Confidence is the biggest thing for this young group, so if we can keep building against high qualify outfits like Toulouse, playing the way we want to play, we’ll become the beast we want to be.”

1 Jake Turnbull Seattle Seawolves
2 Dylan Fawsitt New York Ironworkers
3 Paul Mullen Utah Warriors
4 Nate Brakeley New York Ironworkers
5 Greg Peterson Unattached
6 Viliami Helu Unattached
7 Bailey Wilson Utah Warriors
8 Luke White Chicago Hounds
9 Nick McCarthy Chicago Hounds
10 Luke Carty Chicago Hounds
11 Nate Augspurger San Diego Legion
12 Bryce Campbell Chicago Hounds
13 Tavite Lopeti Seattle Seawolves
14 Christian Dyer Houston SaberCats
15 Mitch Wilson New England Free Jacks
16 Peter Malcolm Seattle Seawolves
17 Nate Sylvia San Diego Legion
18 Takaji Young Yen Utah Warriors
19 Kaleb Gieger New York Ironworkers
20 Siaosi "CC" Mahoni Houston SaberCats
21 Keni Nasoqeqe Houston SaberCats
22 Devin Short Seattle Seawolves
23 Thomas Tu'avao Utah Warriors
24 Michael Baska Chicago Hounds
25 Line Latu American Raptors
26 Joe Mano Utah Warriors

USA Men's Eagles Staff | USA vs Stade Toulousain

Interim Head Coach | Scott Lawrence

Assistant Coach - Attack | Alama Ieremia

Assistant Coach - Defense | Blake Bradford

Head of Athlete Performance | Alex Ross

Analyst | Jimmy Harrison

Technical Advisor | Grant Keenan

Head Physiotherapist | Kristen Douhan

Sports Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz

Assistant Athletic Trainer | Jenn Rooney

Team Doctor | Derek Hatfield

Team Manager | Oscar Alvarez