The Eagles secured their first-ever try against the All Blacks during the test.
Prior to the start, American captain Bryce Campbell dropped to one knee at centre field as he presented a white, No. 11 U.S. jersey in honor of Sean Wainui, the Māori All Blacks player who died in a car crash earlier this week.
The All Blacks then performed the haka to honor Wainui and it drew wild applause from those in attendance before the visitors made a blockbuster start to the test match at the home of the NFL’s Washington Football Team.
The Eagles, who prior to Saturday’s match had faced the All Blacks three times in test rugby, were vastly outplayed but did make history as they recorded the team’s first ever try against the most successful team in international rugby.
American Nate Augspurger slipped by Sam Whitelock into the backfield, put on a brilliant step past Damian McKenzie while a diving Richie Mo’unga also couldn’t catch him as he scored under the posts to pull the hosts to within 59-7 at the break.
The hosts added a second try when left winger Ryan Matyas dove in the corner in the tackle of Will Jordan. It appeared Matyas was tackled out but the on-field decision of a try was backed by a review that checked if his foot was in touch.
The All Blacks, however, were full of energy and had their attack firing yet were ultimately unable to eclipse their record test victory set at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa when they beat Japan 145-17.
Billed as the 1874 Cup, which is a reference to the first account of organised rugby being played in the United States, the match was designed to grow interest in a nation hoping to stage a future Rugby World Cup.