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Monday, August 12, 2013

Rugby World Cup Qualifying: USA against Canada this weekend.

It is hard to believe that with the orgy of rugby that will be Rugby World Cup 2015 in England
, qualifying is well under way for those of us in the minnow nations-which includes the USA Eagles.

This Saturday, the Eagles will host Canada in the first of a two-legged, total points series of game at Charleston, South Carolina.

It's obvious that the Yanks picked hot, humid, Charleston to try to gain any type of advantage against the Canucks. To be honest, I was surprised-and a little bit disappointed that USA rugby picked Charleston over Houston, Texas.
Houston, Texas has shown to be big supporters of the USA Eagles
If USA rugby was hoping to make the Canadians suffer in heat and humidity, Houston in August is one of the most uncomfortable American cities that I have ever been in. The other reason it was a disappointing move by the suits with USA rugby is that the city of Houston has shown great support in two friendly matches between the Eagles and Italy last year, and the Eagles and Ireland(Well, Ireland's B squad since the best Irish players were on the Lions tour of Australia) that was played in the new home of MLS's Houston Dynamo, the BBVA Compass Stadium.

It also seems to me that if USA Rugby wants to be more big time, going with a legitimate stadium in a city that has supported USA rugby-particularly if you want the game played in hot, uncomfortable conditions for the visiting team.

The Eagles will have to go against the Canucks without center Paul Emerick, who just announced his retirement from rugby. The 33 year old played in 3 Rugby World Cup's for the USA. He played professionally over 8 years in Italy, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

4 years ago, the USA got a win in South Carolina, only for the Canadians to run rough-shod over the USA in the return match.

The Eagles were hoping to get some confidence in a recent game against Japan, but the Japanese continue to show that they have passed the USA in a big way, as they build towards building a team for  the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

It would make life a lot easier for the Eagles if they can somehow beat Canada, but will this be another episode of just having caught a tiger by the tail?