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USA Eagles have two players red carded in loss to Italy in Houston

BY Grant Constable  ·  Monday Jun 25, 2012

Italy defeated the USA Eagles 30-10 in front of an impressive record crowd in Houston over the weekend. Unfortunately for the home side, they lost two players to red cards for dangerous tackles, which had a significant impact on the match.

The BBVA Stadium hosted a crowd of 17 214 fans on Saturday, a record for a single day of rugby in the United States. It was also the first ever meeting of the two sides on US soil.

Italy scored three tries through Carlo Festuccia, Edoardo Gori, and Kris Burton, and led 20-10 at halftime. Paul Emerick scored the USA’s only try, but was the second of two players to be red carded by French referee Jerome Garces, for what he deemed to be dangerous tackles.

Andrew Suniula was blown up for a late hit on Riccardo Bocchino early in the second half, and then Emerick received his marching orders for diving into a tackle with little use of the arms.

“I thought the first one was a little harsh,” said new USA coach Mike Tolkin of the Suniula tackle.

“The second one, I still haven’t seen clearly, so I’ll look at that again, but the first one, certainly a late hit, (but) I didn’t think it merited a red card.”

Eagles scrumhalf Mike Petri said the crowd at the game was incredible.

“The atmosphere was absolutely electric. It was like being overseas. Everybody always talk about how rugby’s not really catching on here, and we don’t get the crowds and everything else, but tonight it felt like there were definitely 16 people on the field for America.”

Ironic comments, considering they ended the game with 13. Todd Clever summed up what some were feeling best however, with his sharp comment to Garcis after the second sending off.

Do you think the red cards were a bit harsh, or fair decisions for such tackles?

Credit: Universal Sports

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