The words just flowed out.
Baffling, said scrum coach Derek Dowling.
Embarrassing, said Scott LaValla.
No words from forwards coach Dan Payne, who walked through the throng stone-faced.
I don’t think I’ve had this kind of pain wearing a US jersey. Todd Clever.
We are very, very disappointed. Andrew Suniula.
It’s real frustrating, especially in a game like that. It wasn’t that we lost, but how we lost. Toby L’Estrange.
Deflated. Head Coach Mike Tolkin.
The Eagle men played poorly. They made silly mistakes. They deviated from their game plan, and failed to execute at almost any level.
While Tonga defended well and gleefully took the chances offered them, the USA team did the opposite. They created chances, and dropped them, passed them away, and penalized themselves into oblivion.
“It’s hugely disappointing,” said Tolkin. “We didn’t come out with energy. We felt good about our chances with this game. We came out flat and it got worse in the second half. We never really penetrated, kicks were poor, we didn’t challenge very well in the air.”
Down 10-9 at halftime, and unhappy about it, the USA seemed poised to do something better in the second half. Instead, they gave up a soft try early and completely ceded the momentum from there.
“We weren’t disciplined, we didn’t do what we said we were going to do, we didn’t have any shape … we really dropped all aspects of our game,” said Clever. “There will need to be some changes from that.”
Asked what kind of changes, Clever said he wasn’t a coach or a selector, but he expected changes in the team and added, simply, “that’s what we deserve.”
Coming off a series of games where the Eagles played well, or did something special, Friday night, before a less than astounding crowd, with a vocal Tongan contingent, with that poor performance, was as big a step back as they had in a while.
And the players know it.