The USA Rugby Selects opened the Americas Pacific Challenge 2017 with a win against Samoa A on October 7 at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo, Uruguay. The USA selects will face Uruguay A on October 11 at 3:30pm ET and conclude the tournament on Oct. 15 against Canada A at 1pm ET. All matches involving the USA will be broadcast live on The Rugby Channel
. Other matches will be streamed by World Rugby
USA Rugby Selects vs. Samoa A Recap
After back and forth play by both sides, the USA Rugby Selects had the first scoring opportunity as Samoa was penalized at the breakdown in the 7th minute. The penalty kick by Ben Cima went wide.
In the 14th minute, the USA was penalized for not releasing and Aukuso Fruean slotted the penalty kick for a 3-0 lead. The restart was secured by Samoa and kicked a high ball that was caught by La’aloi Leilua who went in for a try. After the conversion by Fruean, the score was 10-0.
In the 28th minute, Samoa attacked from a scrum at midfield with Ionatana Tino finding a gap and offloading to Elisapeta Alofipo for a try. Fruean again converted increasing the lead to 17-0.
The USA Rugby Selects had a number of scoring opportunities close to the Samoa line, but mistakes killed their momentum. That changed in the 36th minute as Matt Jensen stole a Samoa lineout at the 22 meters and the USA capitalized with a try under the posts by Tim Maupin. Cima then converted cutting the lead to 17-7.
The USA Rugby Selects then added another try by captain Peter Malcolm from a 2 meter drive. Cima converted as the team went into the break down by three, 17-14.
The momentum changed very quickly in the second half, as Hanco Germishuys lost the ball inside their 22 meters and Samoa quickly took advantage with a Tiamo Viliamu and Fruean conversion increasing Samoa’s lead to 24-14.
Germishuys was also received a red card for a punch and the Selects would need to play a man down for the remainder of the match. That was a huge factor as Samoa added three tries within eight minutes to take control of the match 41-14. The first was by captain Suamalie Tuiletufuga, with Fruean converting. An offload from Mikaele Ulugia resulted in a Tagaloa Fonoti try. The third came from a loose ball after a USA scrum, as Ionatana Tino added a try.
The Selects then dodged another try as the referee ruled that a Samoa tackle on Aladdin Schirmer, which created a loose ball and an apparent Samoa try, was a no wrap tackle.
Samoa scored soon after with Rodney Tapu barreling over for a try. Fruean added the conversion for a 48-14 lead.
With 15 minutes remaining, the USA moved the ball with an overload by Zach Pengelinan to Mitch Wilson for a try. Five minutes later, the USA attack had Matt Jensen just short of the line. Bryce Campbell then finished with the Selects’ fourth try of the match and JP Eloff converted to narrow the score to 48-28. With the try, the USA would gain a valuable losing bonus point.
The USA moved the ball to within inches of the line, but were repelled by Samoa to end the match at 48-28.
The USA Rugby Selects will play Uruguay A at 3pm ET on Wednesday October 11. Samoa will play Argentina XV that same day.
The USA Rugby Selects had several scoring opportunities the first 25 minutes of the match, but handling errors thwarted their momentum. Samoa used quick ball and the Selects were slow at times to cover individual players, which resulted in two first half tries.
The early score by Samoa off a Germishuys turnover and his subsequent red card, changed the momentum of the match. The USA Rugby Selects fought back in last 15 minute, scoring two tries and within inches of the line as the match ended.
By finishing on this positive note, the Selects can hopefully use this when preparing for Uruguay A.
Americas Pacific Challenge 2017: USA Rugby Selects & Samoa A
USA Rugby Selects: 1. Alex Maughan 2. Peter Malcom (C) 3. Angus MacClellan 4. Matthew Jensen 5. Brendan Daly (VC) 6. Hanco Germishuys 7. Aladdin Schirmer 8. Jackson Kaka 9. Ruben de Haas 10. Benjamin Cima 11. Zach Pangelinan 12. Bryce Campbell 13. Tim Maupin 14. Mitch Wilson 15. Martini Talapusi
Replacements: 16. Alex Vorster 17. Chance Wenglewski 18. Huluholo Moungaloa 19. Brendan Hardiman 20. Psalm Wooching 21. Holden Yungert 22. Jean-Pierre Eloff 23. Lemoto Filikitonga
Mike McCarthy, Josh Whippy, Kelepi Fifita
Men’s USA Selects Tour Staff:
Head Coach: Scott Lawrence; Ass’t Coaches: JD Stephenson, Scott Murray, James Harrison; Manager: Chris Hanson; Athletic Trainer: Kevin Ng; Team Physician: Alexandra Myers
Samoa A: 1 Rodney Tapu 2 Noel Sanft 3 Tiamo Viliamu 4 Ikifusi Matamu 5 Aukusitano Ulugia 6 Mikaele Tapili 7 Joseph Fuimaono 8 Suamalie Tuiletufuga (C) 9 Ionatana Tino 10 Aukuso Fruean 11 La’aloi Leilaua 12 Kaino Thomsen 13 Tagaloa Fonoti 14 Elisapeta Alofipo 15 Paulo Scanlan
Replacements: 16 Tuaniu Tuaniu 17 Ripine Fualau 18 Setu Enoka 19 Lester Sefo 20 Fili Setu 21 Melani Matavao 22 Ricky Pauli Ene 23 Iafeta Purcell
The USA Selects Squad was previewed in an earlier article, while a preview of both teams is also available.
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