The Emirates Airline Summer Series concluded with USA Eagle’s defeat to the Georgia Lelos at Kennesaw’s Stadium. The final score totaled 21-17, making it a close match but without enough time for the Eagles to overcome Georgia.
Team USA spent the first half of the game utilizing their field kicks back and forth between themselves and Georgia, trying to gain an advantage. If Georgia got too close to USA, they would kick the ball the other way to regain field coverage. USA would then dominate the line outs for when the ball was kicked out of play. Georgia was able to match USA’s pace just fine however, when they made the first try of the game eight minutes into the match. Georgia had strategies of their own, using their game play knowledge to give the Eagles the run around.
#14 Matai Leuta came within inches of making a try for USA in the first 15 minutes of the game, but Georgia held their defense even on the tryline. They managed to push USA back and regain possession of the ball. We see some of the same content coming from Georgia when Merab Sharkadze gets right before the tryline but is stopped by team USA. Georgia gained a lot of their points of the beginning game from USA penalties, giving them the advantage they needed to hold their own against the Eagles.
Nate Augspurger made the first try for the Eagles during the second half at the 57 minute mark. AJ MacGinty then converted the try and earned USA three more points, making the score 21-10. USA at this point was on a try high, but was obviously getting tired. Still, they kept pushing to catch up with Georgia. Georgia begin to dominate the scrums once again, capitalizing on their strength by turning the Eagles sideways. Georgia also implemented clever strategies they used to fake out USA when running with the ball by looping it around and making great use of their footwork coming from player #10 Lasha Khmaladze.
USA stayed with them until the end where they really started to make their comeback. #19 Matthew Jensen came in for the second try for team USA at the very end of the game, making the final score 21-17. Following up from this match, it seems imperative that USA comes back together to take a look at their defensive tactics. Georgia busted through USA’s defenses, only to have USA kick the ball back across the field to get it away from Georgia several times. If USA can find their focus with field awareness, they should be able to grow tremendously from this defeat.
Already several of the players on USA’s team got a chance at the spotlight and did very well against Georgia. This is an excellent opportunity to plan their next steps accordingly for the upcoming matches against Canada in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifier Series.