Eagles soar to New Zealand
The USA Eagles duly won the second leg of their Americas Rugby World Cup Qualifier, beating Uruguay 27-6 (four tries to none) at Broward County Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida on Saturday, thereby booking a direct passage to New Zealand.
The Eagles go into Pool C with Australia, Ireland, and the Europe 2 qualifier. Uruguay, a troubled rugby country, now have to battle their way through répechage if they hope to get to New Zealand.
Eagles' captain Todd Clever led the way with two tries, even while playing out of position, having to go into the backline when Kevin Swiryn was injured.
The Eagles scored early when Mike Hercus kicked a penalty goal inside two minutes. It took nearly 20 minutes more to increase the lead, this time when Lou Stanfill he finished what Swiryn had started and scored in the corner.
Having made a try, Swiryn scored one of his own when he chipped, chased and score. 13-0. Just before half-time the Teros' full back, Jerónimo Etcheverry reduced the lead with a penalty goal.
He reduced it further with a second penalty goal early in the second half but that ended the scoring for Uruguay.
Clever got his first try when he broke from a maul and cantered 35 metres to score. Hercus converted. 20-6.
After this the fight was further drained from the Teros when prop Mario Sagario was red-carded with 25 minutes to play.
Clever scored the Eagles final try from a scrum when Nese Malifa threw his captain a long pass.
Afterwards Clever said: “We trained at game tempo all week and the team completely bought into it. We knew what determination and grit it would take and it made us mentally tougher going into the game,. It was fantastic finishing on a try like that, but it was a whole team effort for the entire 80 minutes. We have our spot in the Rugby World Cup now, which is the important part. It’s nice to finish strong, but hopefully we can pick up where we left off."
USA coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: “I was very happy with our defence. It went very well today. We scrummaged better and stopped their rolling maul, which were the two parts of the game that we needed to improve from last week. I feel happy with the way we finished. Uruguay made us work for it and it should be interesting to see how they fare in répechage.
“It’s tough to hit the ground running after not being together since July, and although we qualified, which was our ultimate goal – they were a little rusty early on,.
“I can't be too hard on them, though, they got the job done and you can't forget that we scored eight tries (54 points) in the last two games against Uruguay.”
Tries: Stanfill, Swiryn, Clever 2
Cons: Hercus, Malifa
Pens: Etcheverry 2
Penalty Kicks: Jerónimo
USA Eagles: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Paul Emerick, 12 Junior Sifa, 11 Kevin Swiryn, 10 Mike Hercus, 9 Tim Usasz, 8 Nic Johnson, 7 Todd Clever (captain), 6 Louis Stanfill, 5 Hayden Smith, 4 John Van der Giessen, 3 Will Johnson, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Mate Moeakiola
Replacements: 16 Brian McClenahan, 17 Jacob Sprague, 18 Alec Parker, 19 JJ Gagiano, 20 Mike Petri, 21 Nese Malifa, 22 Pate Tuilevuka
Coach: Eddie O'Sullivan
Uruguay: 15 Jerónimo Etcheverry, 14 Alejandro Silveira, 13 Joaquín Pastore, 12 Juan Llovet, 11 Tomás Jolivet, 10 Nicolás Morales, 9 Juan Campomar, 8 Rodrigo Capo, 7 Alfredo Giuria, 6 Nicolás Brignioni, 5 Carlos Protasi, 4 Matías Fonseca, 3 Mario Sagario, 2 Martín Espiga, 1 Rodrigo Sanchez
Replacements: 16 Alejo Corral, 17 Carlos Arboleya, 18 Juan Rombys, 19 Juan Horta, 20 Manuel Martinez, 21 Juan De Freitas, 22 Santiago Gibernau
Coach: Felipe Puig
Referee: Dave Smortchevsky (Canada)
Assistant referees: Bryan Arciero (Canada), Derek Stoltz (Canada)