The United States‘ is now on an eight-game losing streak in the Rugby World Cup play. Their last win dates back to the 2011 tournament. Their second game in Pool C play of this year’s tournament against France saw them close to snapping that streak, but it was not to be.
As for France, this win adds to their decent track record, however, they’re still from being considered true contenders. France has the youngest squad of the tournament. The squad certainly has talent, however, their style of play in their first two games of this tournament is a cause for concern. In other words, while they are 2-0, there’s been some problems.
A final score of 33 to 9. France receives a bonus point thanks to scoring three tries and preventing the USA from scoring any of their own. Prior to the game, France made 12 changes in an attempt to conserve energy for their next match against Tonga.
Three Takes From The Game:
Penalty Problems For The French: France’s biggest problem in this match, along with their opening match against Argentina is their unhealthy habit of committing penalties. Conceding a total of 25 penalties in their first two games speaks for itself. The problem is that these penalties gave France’s adversaries numerous golden opportunities.
Furthermore, a penalty nearly cost France their opening match. They survived the scare due to Argentina’s missing of what would have been the game-winner. In their match against the USA, France could not kick their penalty-committing habit. This allowed the USA to score nine points.
Up until this point, France is lucky not have received any yellow cards. Regardless, they need to find a way to put an end to their penalty-committing habit. Giving an opponent an opportunity after opportunity should not be part of their winning strategy. France’s conceding of 19 points off of penalties hurts the team.
Lack Of Fear From The Americans: Coming off a thrashing 45-7 loss to England, the USA had their work cut out for them. With the odds against them, the USA intended to challenge a young French squad with loads of talent, who are ranked seventh in the world.
The USA’s determination of ending their losing streak is the only motivation they need against a Tier 1 opponent. Knowing that France is prone to mistakes and sloppy play, the USA came into this match ready. France’s miscues gave the USA a rare advantage.
Trailing the entire game and unable to through the French defense, the USA refused to let France push them around. Amassing nearly 150 tackles and winning ten turnovers is a respectable accomplishment for the USA. In addition, maintaining 44 percent of possession in the game, including 55 percent in the first half speaks is a result of the USA’s brilliant resilience and concentration.
Taking advantage of scoring opportunities due to penalties by France, the USA was able to inflict pressure. However, it wasn’t enough to pull off an upset as France had some resilience of their own.
Late Game-Changing Spark: Allowing the French offense to carry the ball for over 470 meters is costly. Defending against a French attack that ran all over the field left the Americans out of breath. Furthermore, this came in the game’s final phase.
However, exhaustion to the American side is exactly what France needed. With 15 minutes remaining and a tight score of 12 to 9, France finally broke free, scoring 21 unanswered points, thus taking advantage of the Americans’ fatigue.
Using a strategy to drain their opponents of their energy is brilliant for France. France’s understanding that as long as they were in control of the ball, the opposing defense would eventually fold due to exhaustion. In other words, France waited until the time was right to put the game out of reach.
This Sunday, France is taking on Tonga. A win will boost France’s confidence going into their next final Pool C match against England. Their match against England is likely to determine the winner of the pool and England is the heavy favorite. At this point, France is looking to turn into serious contenders. Finishing undefeated in Pool play will help them become true contenders.
The USA takes on Argentina next Wednesday. The Americans are looking to stay in contention and find a way to possibly advance to the knockout stage for the first time. Their chances are quite slim, but regardless, they ought to finish strong.