By Tom Hayward
LEEDS (Reuters) - United States coach Mike Tolkin rued his sides inconsistency after they again showed they can trouble the more established sides at the Rugby World Cup only to succumb 39-16 against Scotland on Sunday.
The physicality of Tomkins' Eagles helped them to a deserved seven-point lead going into the break. Led by powerful number eight Samu Manoa, the American forwards smashed into anything in blue to repel Scottish efforts to break the gain line.
Behind the pack, meanwhile, the Eagles possessed a genuine cutting edge in the shape of captain Chris Wyles and Seamus Kelly, who both impressed for the rapidly improving Americans.
Ultimately, though, they were undone by the impact of Scotland’s dynamic bench in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
“We knew it was really important to come out (after the break) and establish ourselves, but the opposite happened,” Tolkin told reporters.
“That second half was very frustrating. We’ve been inconsistent. We’ve had flashes of some very good play. We’ve had flashes of dominant play and physicality in both defense and attack."
The problem, he said, is that the side remain prone to technical lapses and a lack of discipline on occasions, not helped by the players' lack of regular top-class rugby.
"A lot of these guys don’t play the grind of a professional season with a hard game week in and week out," he said. "For some of our guys it’s a real challenge and something we’ve got to overcome.”
Defeat against early Pool B leaders Scotland followed a similarly spirited and impressive showing against the ferocious might of Samoa, when the quest for a U.S. victory was hindered by ill-discipline rather than a lack of quality.
“We weren’t using this term 'lesser nation' (to describe the United States),” impressed Scotland coach Vern Cotter told reporters after his side pulled away in the second half.
“They’re a proud team, play well and are getting better and better every year. They’re physical. These guys are big and very hard-hitting.”
(Editing by David Goodman)