At the end of 2018, FloRugby put together a video showcasing the 10 victories the men’s 15s Eagles had recorded during that year.
It was a record year. In full test matches, the Eagles were 9-1, and in all games 10-2, far an away the best season the USA had ever recorded. And they weren’t against easy opposition, either, with Scotland, Samoa, Canada, and Romania among the Eagles’ victims.
But right after that all happened, the USA hit a bit of a slump, getting beaten convincingly by Argentina XV, almost losing to Brazil, and then actually losing to Uruguay.
Now, once again in good form, the Eagles have to be aware that they could easily slip up.
What the Eagles learned about the 2019 ARC was, said Gold, humility.
“We had a really good summer in 2018 and maybe there was a bit of complacency going into the ARC. Maybe we thought we just needed to pitch-up against a Uruguay team we’d beaten by 60 points the year before, and I personally I think it’s important that I take responsibility for that,” Gold told FloRugby.
Now, looking ahead to a Canada team that the USA beat handily in July, Gold knows things can change dramatically, especially with Canada playing at home at BC Place in rugby-mad Vancouver.
“But that’s the beauty with rugby is that any team of 15 men or women can beat any team of 15 men or women on the day. It’s a mental sport because it’s a physical sport and any physical sport required mental focus,” he added.
Gold said he didn’t pick up any signs of the team being off its game against Uruguay.
“It was very, very disappointing but those are the losses that teach you the biggest lessons,” he said. “Now you can look back and say we have the ability to beat Scotland and we also have the ability to lose to Uruguay or almost lose to Brazil. But the fact that we can go against Samoa a second time, and while I don’t think we played very well, we stuck in the fight and won.”
Ultimately, said Gold, it’s about focus, not only through a test match but through a season.
“Now we have to understand that if it’s 12 or 15 test matches in a year, we have to be awake for every single one of them.”