The USA squared off against Uruguay in the Shield semi final this morning, after losing out in the Bowl competition against Canada.
Colin Hawley struck first for the Americans after a very patient build-up by breaking two tackles to get on the scoreboard. Tai Enosa kicked the conversion for a 7-0 lead. Zach Test then produced the tackle of the match, foiling a 4 on 2 for the South Americans. Moments later, however, an intercept for Uruguay tied things up at the half.
Paul Emerick – who replaced Justin Boyd – sparked the home side immediately with a superb turnover tackle, sending Hawley down the touchline for a fantastic long-range try. Emerick then scored one of his own by beating two defenders, but it was called back as he had stepped a foot into touch. Later Emerick sparked another attack, throwing an American football pass to Test, who set Matt Hawkins flying down the touchline. At the next ruck Hawkins shook off one tackle and gave a perfect pass to Marco Barnard for another excellent try. With the USA taking complete control, Man of the Match Paul Emerick then scored his 4th try in Vegas – with the crowd cheering wildly!
Enosa showed his silky skills with a half break, and it was good interplay with Barnard that put substitute Miles Craigwell over in the corner to seal a fine 27-7 victory.
Matt Hawkins said afterwards: “The guys have realized that the only thing left to play for is pride, so we all dug deep and made everything we did count”.
Starters: Matt Hawkins (Captain), Marco Barnard, Zack Test, Tai Enosa, Roland Suniula, Colin Hawley, Justin Boyd.
Substitutes: Paul Emerick, Miles Craigwell, Taylor Mokate.
Tries: Colin Hawley (2), Marco Barnard, Paul Emerick, Miles Craigwell
Conversion: Tai Enosa
Earlier this morning the USA played Canada in the Bowl quarterfinal.
It was a match the side will want to forget as two missed tackles gave Canada an early 14-0 lead. Zach Test then claimed vital possession off the restart, and after a patient build-up Paul Emerick bust through to score before half time.
In the second period Test made a magic break, and through excellent support play Hawley fed Barnard, who dived over in the corner. USA 10 Canada 14.
That was unfortunately the end of Barnard who left the field looking hurt. Canada then exposed a defensive lapse out wide, stretching the lead to 19-10. Roland Suniula – who has been another standout this weekend - made a fantastic stop start move and setup a try for the face of the competition – Paul Emerick. The hooter sounded with the Canadians winning 19-15.
“We let the emotional side of the game get to us” head coach Al Caravelli said afterwards. “We’ve been unlucky this weekend with injuries. In the beginning of the season it looked optimistic, we had 6 quality scrumhalves/flyhalves and now we have Ata and Nese Malifa, Shalom Suniula and Marco Barnard all injured.
Starters: Matt Hawkins (Captain), Marco Barnard, Zack Test, Tai Enosa, Roland Sunuila, Paul Emerick, Justin Boyd.
Substitutes: Colin Hawley, Miles Craigwell, Taylor Mokate.
Tries: Paul Emerick, Marco Barnard
The USA will play against Japan in the Shield final at 2.55pm PST.
Photo Credit: Sharon Lovell (http://noreinsgirlphotography.smugmug.com/)