The USA men’s Eagles showed well against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks but came up short 19-29 in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,500 fans at PPL Park in Philadelphia on Saturday night. The home side used the inspiration of the crowd to take a 9-7 lead into the halftime break but could not hold on for the win.
“We gave it our all for 80 minutes and we came up short,” Man of the Match Cameron Dolan said after the match. “Any time you get a sold-out in the United States for rugby it’s a phenomenal honor.”
The difference in the match was that New Zealand converted good opportunities into tries while the USA were forced to settle for kicks.
Despite going down 7-0, the Eagles used the passion of the crowd to spur them on. Immediately after the pre-game haka the USA fans started a USA chant. The US scored 3 penalty kicks before the break to take a 9-7 to the locker room.
The All Blacks opened the second half re-claiming the advantage off a 44th minute try and added another but missed the conversion to make the score 19-9. The NZ Maori could not pull away, however, with the two sides trading kicks to make it 22-12 before the U.S. scored their lone try of the match to make it 22-19.
The visitors took care of business and extended their 10-year winning streak by adding another try to give some breathing-room and a final score of 29-19.