Men's Eagles
19 11
24 14
Men's Eagles  @ PPL Park
Pre-Rugby World Cup
  Kurt Weaver (USA)


CHESTER, Pa. - The Men's Eagles fought Harlequin F.C. through 80 minutes of rugby Sunday at PPL Park, where the Aviva Premiership Rugby club added a 24-19 win to its preseason campaign.

The U.S. scored two tries and was inches from a third in the loss, just its third in six matches this summer. The Eagles will end their pre-Rugby World Cup 2015 run against Australia Saturday, Sept. 5, at Soldier Field.

Within three minutes of AJ MacGinty's kickoff at the home of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union, the visiting team from London conceded a penalty inside its 22. The Eagle fly half successfully kicked the ball through the posts for a 3-0 lead.

Following the restart, MacGinty kicked the ball high into the air from behind the U.S.'s 10, and chased to ensure the 'Quins' receiver would not be able to run. After MacGinty made the tackle, the visitors were called for a penalty. Though the kicking tee was set up a few meters from the midfield line, the fly half's kick was straight and true, extending the lead to 6-0 after just six minutes.

MacGinty missed another opportunity to widen the gap between the two teams in the eighth minute, and the teams traded territory in the middle third of the pitch.

In the 19th minute, Cameron Dolan and Seamus Kelly joined the list of Eagle defenders putting their full body weight into the tackle to force a turnover. Grabbing the ball inside Harlequins' half, MacGinty pumped his legs and found an onrushing Thretton Palamo with an offload. The center scored, untouched, to give the U.S. an 11-0 lead.

The Eagles found themselves in penalty trouble throughout the match, and squandered a few scoring opportunities at the end of the opening frame. Rather than kick penalties, Harlequins tested their set pieces when referee Kurt Weaver blew his whistle. From a 29th-minute lineout, scrum half Karl Dickinson dummied his way through the defenders and slid between the goal-post pads to answer Palamo's five-point play. From in front of the uprights, fly half Nick Evans converted for an 11-7 score line.

The U.S. continued to show signs of an attacking threat after conceding the try, with multiple players finding ways through their opposite numbers to put the Eagles on the front foot. Without the penalties, Mike Tolkin's team could have seen out the first 40 minutes with a lead, but a 32nd-minute infraction led to a five-meter lineout for the 'Quins, from which Luke Wallace found a way to dot down in the team's maul.

The 34th-minute try was converted for a 14-11 score, though the Eagles refused to let their hard work on both sides of the ball be ignored. Dolan found space to get inside the Harlequins' half before crash ball after crash ball led to a try-line stand from the visitors. Al McFarland dove over a sizable ruck and seemingly put the ball on the line, but a call to the Television Match Official found otherwise. McFarland was found to have lost the ball forward before it hit the white paint, keeping the 14-11 score intact after 40 minutes.

"We dominated the first 20 minutes then we took our foot off the gas," Zack Test said after the match. "That's just our development: putting our foot on the pedal for 80 minutes - not one minute off."

Both teams - carrying more than the usual eight reserves - began to empty their benches during the break, with Tolkin giving Niku Kruger and Test 40 minutes at scrum half and wing, respectively.

The fresh legs injected pace and creativity into the Eagles' attack, while MacGinty continued to wreak havoc on Harlequins on multiple fronts. He slipped through two defenders with a dummy in the 47th minute before John Quill lost the offload forward, and gave the Eagles a 10-meter lineout a few minutes later.

The chance came to nothing and Harlequins nearly added points to the scoreboard on the opposite side of the field, but it was MacGinty who missed an opportunity in the 55th minute, pushing a penalty goal attempt wide.

Folau Niua replaced the fly half after the kick and brought a high-class dummy of his own to the table, which forced Harlequins to think twice about jumping up on the defensive line. In the 59th minute, Niua exploited a gap and gave Quill the ball for a wide pass to Test before the team drew a penalty on the try line.

Niua kicked the penalty goal to level the match at 14-14, and the Eagles received the kickoff intent on regaining the lead. As seasoned Harlequins entered the match, however, the U.S. offered field position through penalties. A five-meter lineout in the 68th minute, a near-replica of the try-scoring maul from the first half, resulted in Wallace's second try of the match and a 21-14 'Quins lead.

Ben Botica attempted two penalty goals in the final 10 minutes and converted one to push his team's lead to 24-14 in the 79th minute. In an effort to give the crowd at PPL Park one last reason to cheer and get the second try they deserved, the Eagles played heads-up rugby with their final possession and cut the final deficit to 24-19 with a team try finished by Test.

"Scoring that try really isn't anything for me; it was a great effort by the boys," Test said. "We took the ball all the way from our 22 to score in the corner. It's just a great effort that shows we're going to put the full 80 minutes in. It sucks that we lost, but we're always moving forward and it's all about that first game against Samoa in the World Cup."

Before the Eagles take on Samoa Sept. 20 at Rugby World Cup 2015, they will visit Soldier Field in Chicago for the second time in less than a year to take on Australia. The Wallabies arrived in Los Angeles at the beginning of the weekend to acclimate themselves to the time difference and conditions of an American summer.

Tickets are available for the Sept. 5 match on Ticketmaster, with kickoff on NBC Sports Network scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Men's Eagles | v. Harlequins

1. Eric Fry (Kilifi @32' (Taufete'e @ 74'))

2. Phil Thiel (Fengolio @ 60')

3. Titi Lamositele (Baumann @ 32' (Moeakiola @ 65'))

4. Cameron Dolan (Trouville @ 67')

5. Greg Peterson (Stanfill @ 60')

6. Al McFarland

7. John Quill

8. Samu Manoa (Durutalo @ 60')

9. Mike Petri (Kruger @ 40')

10. AJ MacGinty (Niua @ 55')

11. Brett Thompson

12. Thretton Palamo

13. Seamus Kelly

14. Takudzwa Ngwenya

15. Blaine Scully (C) (Test @ 40')

Men's Eagles | Reserves

16. Zach Fenoglio

17. Olive Kilifi

18. Chris Baumann

19. Matekitonga Moeakiola

20. Joseph Taufete'e

21. Louis Stanfill

22. Matt Trouville

23. Andrew Durutalo

24. Niku Kruger

25. Folau Niua

26. Zack Test

27. Shalom Suniula

Harlequins | v. USA

1. Mark Lambert (Evans @ 41' (Lambert @ 71'))

2. Rob Buchanan (Gray @ 41')

3. Kyle Sinckler (Jones @ 41')

4. George Merrick (South @ 60')

5. Sam Twomey

6. Jack Clifford

7. Luke Wallace

8. Mat Luamanu (White @ 79')

9. Karl Dickson (Tebaldi @ 41')

10. Nick Evans (Botica @ 51')

11. Charlie Walker (Chisholm @ 51')

12. Winston Stanley

13. Harry Sloan

14. Marland Yarde

15. Ollie Lindsay-Hague

Harlequins | Reserves

16. Joe Gray

17. Owen Evans

18. Adam Jones

19. Stan South

20. Archie White

21. Tito Tebaldi

22. Ben Botica

23. Ross Chisholm

24. Tim Swiel

25. Dave Ward

26. George Lowe

Men's Eagles | 19

Tries: Palamo, Test

Conversions: N/A

Penalties: MacGinty (2), Niua

Harlequins | 24

Tries: Dickson, Wallace (2)

Conversions: Evans (2), Botica

Penalties: Botica

Men's Eagles | Pre-Rugby World Cup Tour

v. Canada - W 41-23

v. Harlequin F.C. - L 24-19

v. Australia - Saturday, Sept. 5 - 7:30 p.m. ET - Soldier Field - Chicago, Ill.