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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Great Weekend for USA Eagles Wyles and MacGinty

It's been a pretty heady couple of weeks for former USA Eagle Chris Wyles. Two weeks ago, he became only the second American to win a European Club Championship(After Dan Lyle with Bath against Brive in 1998) with Saracens.

Wyles and his Saracens team followed up their win in Lyon two weeks ago with 28-20 win over first time finalists Exeter. This was the first European/Domestic double since London Wasps in 2004.

Wyles could not be denied on a nice try towards the end of the first half, when he was not held down in the tackle, and rumbled in for a try in the corner off some nice work from Nowell and Slade.
Saracens raise the English Premiership Trophy

Former long-time USA Eagle Chris Wyles
Up the road in Edinburgh this past weekend. The final for the Pro 12 final played out at Murrayfield in an All-Irish battle between Connacht and Leinster. 

Connacht has been the weak little sister of Irish Rugby compared to Munster, Leinster and Ulster for a long time. At the beginning of the season, not many people would have picked Connacht to make this final against the highly decorated team from Dublin. Even fewer people at the beginning of the season would have imagined that the fly half for Connacht would be AJ MacGinty, the Dublin-born, former member of the New York Athletic Club and Life University in Marietta, Georgia. (He qualified to play for the USA Eagles based on the Residency rules) 

MacGinty played well for the USA in the 2015 World Cup, and parlayed his form with the Eagles into a contract with Connacht. 

After dumping the defending champions, Glasgow in the Semi-finals, Connacht showed that their number one seed was not a fluke. They came out hard against the men from Dublin-who had Ireland fly half Sexton wearing the number 10 shirt. 

The Men from Galway played some great attacking rugby and had early scores from O'Halloran and Adeolokun to get the early advantage. Later on in the first half, MacGinty saw some space in the Leinster back line and chipped a wonderful grubber past
Macginty caught Leinster napping on this grubber leading to a try
the Dubliners that Matt Healy touched down for the third Connacht try of the afternoon. 

MacGinty had an overall sold match for Dublin. He missed his try conversions, but did hit a penalty
and played some good Defense
for Connacht to help the Galway side win their first ever Pro 12 title.

Unfortunately for Connacht fans, AJ MacGinty won't be around for a title defense next season, as he has signed a contract with Sale Sharks and will be playing his club rugby in the English Premeiership. As a USA Eagles fan, I am thrilled that we have a top flight fly half wearing the red, white and blue. For American Rugby fans, MacGinty may be the best Irish import since U2 or Guinness.

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