The U.S. lost a19-17 heartbreaker to Georgia on Saturday in Tbilisi as the Eagles were unable to hold the Georgians out of the end zone through nine minutes of extra time in a hard fought and physical game.
The U.S. forward pack, led by captain Todd Clever, would keep the host Georgians guessing at each scrum and lineout throughout much of the game, but the wear and tear of extra time finally got to the Eagles.
With extra time finally winding down and the U.S. clinging to a 17-12 lead, a knock on (fumbling) penalty against Georgia gave the U.S. the ball back deep in Eagle territory in overtime, the Eagles and Georgians packed down for what would be the last set piece of the game.
As quickly as the U.S. put the ball in the scrum, the Georgians stole it away and put the U.S. on their back foot before punching a score through to tie the game. The after score conversion is all that was needed to steal the lead back as time expired.
U.S. head coach Eddie O’Sullivan said ““We had a great team performance and everyone gave 110% and definitely put their bodies on the line. I’m very proud of how we played.” Sullivan followed up by stating that even though this match was a loss for the U.S., it was considered the best game of the Eagles’ November European Tour.
With this win, Georgia and the United States are guaranteed to switch positions in the next IRB rankings, expected next week.