With two wins under their belts and an Americas Rugby Championship title to defend, USA have a challenge ahead of them.
Facing a Chile squad who will be hungry to earn their first points of the 2018 edition, the Eagles must finish their third home match in a row with a promising performance.
USA Eagles General Manager Dave Hodges acknowledges his team's impressive start to the campaign, while also noting where improvements should be made to keep momentum alive.
“This next test match gives us an opportunity to improve our own performance,” said Hodges, a former Eagles captain.
“While we did get the win in each of our opening ARC matches against Canada and Argentina XV, the overall accuracy of the team needs to improve. That's a massive challenge for us going into the match against Chile.”
The last time the teams met the Eagles ran out emphatic 57-9 winners, but a few changes to the squad will ensure they have their work cut out against a Los Condores beaten by Brazil and Argentina XV this month.
“A few players have gone back to their professional set-up,” explained Hodges. “While that is a challenge we acknowledge and work through, the players who have come into the camp this week have helped energise the team and will add a positive impact to the group.”
Game by game
This weekend's fixture at Titan Stadium in Fullerton will be the USA's final home match in the Americas Rugby Championship 2018.
Playing in the temperate climates of California, with a vocal home crowd, has undoubtedly brought an excellent vibrancy to each match. In order for the squad to cement their position at the top of the standings, they’ll need to unite themselves each week and make any adjustments as a collective.
New coach Gary Gold has now spent several weeks learning the depth and skill of the Eagles. Though he isn’t a man for making drastic changes to the starting 15, he has an eye for talent and a keen ability to adapt to varying dynamics.
Chile were much improved against the Argentina XV in Ushuaia, but are still searching for a first Americas Rugby Championship win since the opening round in 2016.
The goals for their coach Mark Cross are simple, to get better with each game.
“The Americas Rugby Championship is a great tournament and we need to grow in it,” he said before departing to California. “Each game is a huge opportunity for the players to play at the highest level.”
Photo: Travis Prior
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