Going into the final seconds of their match against Georgia, the Eagles forwards gathered around their captain, and Todd Clever told them what’s what.
“The referee had clearly told us we had four minutes, so we knew the game wasn’t over when Georgia kicked to touch,” Clever told RUGBYMag.com, referring to the Lelos’ choice to kick to touch with time up on the stadium clock, but not referee Mike Fraser’s watch. “So I said to them, we’re not going to panic, we’re going to hold our shape, attack them, get into their half, get a penalty, and win the game. It didn’t quick go the way I expected because we went a little wider. We were one offload from scoring the try to win it, I think. But in the end, it worked out.”
The game ended with Georgia being penalized on a ruck around ten meters inside their half, and off to one side. Clever had no hesitation, and pointed to the posts.
“Yeah it’s a tough decision because it wasn’t an easy angle, but Sid’s been striking the ball really well,” said Clever.
Added a very hoarse USA Head Coach Mike Tolkin, “it was the only thing to do. We didn’t really have a choice at that point. Yeah it was a tough kick, but we had to go with it.”
Sid, or Adam Siddall, the Old Blue flyhalf who was pushed into the #10 jersey this week because Toby L’Estrange got hurt, took a deep breath and slotted the goal to win the game 25-23.
“Sid’s been kicking really well,” said Tolkin. “But to have that tough kick, with that hostile crowd, and the game on the line, what he did was phenomenal. My heart stopped and didn’t start again until that ball went over the bar. Incredible, but the guys really deserved it.”
Siddall, who kicked well against the Maori All Blacks last week, has shown himself to have tremendous poise with his goalkicking. Against Georgia, he didn’t have many difficult kicks. He missed a touchline conversion attempt, hit two that were in front of the posts, and knocked over a penalty from around the 22. But the last one made up for it, being on the tougher side for a right-legged kicker, and with the game on the line.
Somehow, he put all of the crowd and the context out of his mind and just did the job.