Face It, USA Rugby Fans: We Just Can't Stop Choking Against Canada

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IJuly 11, 2009

I don't know about you, but I feel like we just haven't made any progress.

At all.

In fact, if you tell me that we are making progress as a rugby country, be thankful that I won't be able to come inside you room, ask you to drop your pants, bend over, and give you the whipping you deserve with a Singapore-sized rattan cane.

We are not. And it's obvious why.

At the house of horrors that is Edmonton's Ellerslie Rugby Park, we failed in predictable fashion, 41-18.

We can't lift a middle finger to Canada in rugby just like they can't lift two fingers to us in soccer or American football. Palm inward.

Thanks to the efforts of players like D.T.H. van der Merwe and James Pritchard (hey, Belmont Shore RFC could use both of their services), Canada wins on aggregate 47-30 and will be making travel plans to New Zealand.

As for us, our next destination is not Auckland, but...Montevideo.

Bloody Montevideo, of all places.

This is a disgrace. A sheer disgrace. We have to beat Uruguay to qualify. AGAIN.

Let me repeat: Uruguay. A side that we can beat...with BYU or Cal's reserves.

Uruguay: a team that we can destroy with our eyes closed.

Uruguay: a national side whose round-ball counterparts would give us a sterner test, hands down.

Let's give credit where credit is due: Canada steamrolled over us the same way that one of its native sons (who I highly touted), Georges St. Pierre, pounded BJ Penn. And they should have. They earned each and every one of those 41 points in the second leg.

But divine right indicated that we weren't going to be ready against the only competitive national rugby team in North America today.

To the Eagles' credit, they scored points in this leg. The problem for them was that it was too little, too late.

I think that the only way we could even stand a fraction of a chance is if we traded our best players with theirs.

I am going to be straight-up honest with you: we needed to win against Canada today. Six points is not an insurmountable margin to make up.

To not be able to beat the Canucks in a two-game series suggests in my view that we are no different than the team that qualified before (through Uruguay) and the team that qualified before that, and the team that qualified before that.

Heck, you can quote me on this: as a coach of the USA Eagles, Eddie O'Sullivan is no better than the two managers that came before him in our recent blowout in the Great White North.

And Eddie, I'm even going to go further and suggest that you should step down as our head coach.

Surely you should have ingrained into our national team's head that this might as well be the cup final for them.

Surely you should have given them the motivation to finally beat our neighbors to the north over two legs.

Surely you have ensured that they got the job done. Surely.

They didn't. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

And what in the name of William Webb Ellis was with that red card, Paul Emerick?

As if this loss wasn't bad enough, you just had to rub salt into your own wounds. How dare you put your game into disrepute.

This day should go down as a dark day in the development of rugby union here in the USA. And this is coming from someone who has been a webmaster to a university rugby club for three seasons before graduating.

I will never recognize any positives that will come out of a wasted opportunity to boost rugby's standing here in the United States of America. Why? There aren't any.

I just can't see any. And I am not wearing any rose-tinted glasses, either.

USA Rugby, you let us down once again. And for some reason unknown to me other than history, I could see the ineptness coming like a train headed to the point of no return.

Don't you dare think, even for a minute, that I couldn't.

I could. It was too easy, and it was too predictable.

We know how to beat Canada in soccer, and a ragtag bunch of high schoolers playing our code knew how to dust off their counterparts in Canton a few weeks ago.

But sadly for us, we know how to choke against Canada in rugby. And the painful reality is that we're not going to give up our role as chokers any time soon.

We simply don't deserve to. And you know what? I do not believe we should, unless we can figure it out in four years' time.

News flash: Bob Bradley: should you face Canada in the knockout stages, think of your rugby counterparts' ineptitude today.

Please kill them the same way they killed us in the killing fields of Edmonton. There can be no excuses if you don't.

Because there sure weren't any excuses for failing to kick the habit of choking against Canada in Rugby World Cup qualification.


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