TOKYO — In the final build-up match to the Rugby World Cup, Japan narrowly defeated the Eagles 20-14 at the Prince Chichbu Memorial Rugby Ground on a wet Sunday evening.
The Utah Warriors’ Ryan Chapman came on as a substitue to earn his first cap with Team USA.
Japan is ranked 13th on the IRB world rankings, and coached by former All Black, John Kirwan.
“It was a good physical game in very wet conditions, and will stand us in good stead for New Zealand. It was a game we might have won at the end, but it would probably have been a bit of a steal, seeing as Japan dominated possession in the second half.
We would have liked to have had more possession in the second period, but at the same time it was an excellent defensive workout,” said Eagles Head Coach, Eddie O’Sullivan.
USA’s Dana Teagarden was one of the assistant referees for the match. Teagarden became the first woman ever to be appointed to referee a senior men’s international match last year.
The Eagles will travel back to the USA today, with the RWC squad assembling in Santa Barbara next weekend before departing to New Zealand.
“Having seen quite a few players over the last three weeks, we are now in a good position to finalize our squad for the RWC,” said O’Sullivan.
The 30-man squad will be released later today.
RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011 SCHEDULE | NEW ZEALAND
Sept. 11: USA vs. Ireland (New Plymouth)
Sept. 15: USA vs. Russia (New Plymouth)
Sept. 23: USA vs. Australia (Wellington)
Sept. 27: USA vs. Italy (Nelson)