As much as we’d always like to make note of the unsung heroes on a team – the guys who do the grunt work – sometimes you have to look at the scoresheet.
The USA beat Russia on November 9, and while the final score was 40-26, it really wasn’t that close. The Eagles dominated many parts of the game, and showed flashes of entertaining rugby. At the heart of that was Chris Wyles, who handled Russia’s kicking game well, kicked for points, and scored a try.
A week later, Wyles was unable to play against Tonga due to a long-standing personal commitment. While Zach Pangelinan played well, the USA did miss the leadership and experience that Wyles brings to the team.
That game, then, revealed Wyles’s value through his absence. The Romania game revealed the fullback’s value through his present. It was Wyles who threw the long pass to put Andrew Suniula away for the first Eagle try. Wyles was on the receiving end of a Paul Emerick pass to score – busting through defenders to do it and showing what professional experience teaches backs about scoring in traffic. It was Wyles again exploiting a gap to score a second try, oh and kick three conversions and a penalty to take his all-time test total to 101.
Defensively, Wyles is a sure tackler, although not skull-shaking. That’s OK, few fullbacks are big hitters. What they must be is sure, and Wyles is certainly that. He has become very sure under the ball in fielding kicks, and his kicks to touch and for posts have been consistent and good.
In addition, Chris Wyles is a good teammate. He is proud of be an Eagle, and always performs well when he puts on the jersey. Now, with the USA’s new offensive game plan, he is having a bit more fun, too, as he inserts himself into the line, and inserts himself in the conversation about who is the best player on the USA team. Chris Wyles is our Rhino Rugby Men’s Player of the Week.