Canada edges out Select XV in ARC closer
CORDOBA, Argentina – After a tightly-contested match in the Americas Rugby Championship, the USA Select XV were edged out of second place by the Canada Selects with a final score of 17-6.
The match was always going to be scrappy. With rainy conditions and strong winds, the North American rivals would have to keep the ball tight and capitalize on opportunities when presented with them. Unfortunately for the USA, a lop-sided penalty count opened the door for a Canadian win.
The first half was try-less and the USA Select XV and the Canada Selects resorted to the boot. Nese Malifa opened the scoring for the USA and slotted a penalty in the 34th minute. Hooker Chris Biller was dealt a yellow card for a tackle the ref deemed to be dangerous, but the USA defense held. The score was 6-6 at halftime, but the playing conditions would favor Canada in the second half.
Playing into a strong breeze, the American kicking game was stunted and penalties began stacking up. Andrew Suniula was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle and the Canadians were able to capitalize on the one-man advantage with a relentless attack on the try line. With penalties accumulating and the wind at their backs, the Canadians made the USA pay for infractions by slotting several long-range penalties.
“We’re disappointed to lose again in such a tight game,” said Select XV Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan. Coach O’Sullivan also noted that the defense improved from the Select XV’s last ARC encounter against the Argentina Jaguars, which is a positive sign ahead of the Eagles November tour of Europe.
The ARC is, by design, a developmental tournament and O’Sullivan and his staff were able to assess players in a high-level international competition, which is incredibly valuable ahead of not only the November tour, but the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
The Eagles will play Scotland ‘A’, Portugal, Georgia, and Saracens on the November tour. For more details, visit http://www.usarugby.org
USA Select XV: Penalties: Malifa (32’) (40’)
USA Select XV
1. Phillip Thiel (Life), 2. Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate), 3. Eric Fry (Unattached), 4. Samu Manoa (San Francisco Golden Gate), 5. Brian Doyle (New York Athletic Clusb), 6. Patrick Danahy (Life), 7. Matthew Hawkins (Belmont Shore), 8. *Nic Johnson (Denver Barbarians), 9. Shalom Suniula (Brisbane), 10. Nese Malifa (Glendale Raptors), 11. Zach Test (Loughborough University), 12. Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins), 13. Troy Hall (New York Athletic Club), 14. Milemoti Pulu (San Francisco Golden Gate), 15. Taivalu Enosa (Belmont Shore)
Reserves: 16. Anthony Purpura (Boston Rugby Club), 17. Ross Silverman (Unattached), 18. Tom Katzfey (New York Athletic Club), 19. Mark Bokhoven (Denver Barbarians), 20. Benny Mateialona (Life), 21. Volney Rouse (At Large), 22. Duncan Kelm (San Diego State University)
Coach: Eddie O’Sullivan
Manager: Tristan Lewis
Substitutions: Bokhoven on for Doyle (71’), Purpura on for Thiel (78’)
Unavailable due to injury:
Dan LaPrevotte (knee), Alipate Tulievuka (ankle)