Sunday, June 19, 2011

USA defeat Russia in Churchill Cup

The USA Eagles recorded an important 32-25 victory over the Russian Bears in the Bowl Final of the 2011 Churchill Cup in Worcester, England. The USA victory means that the North Americans will head into the much anticipated Rugby World Cup clash against Russia with the upper hand. More importantly, however, the USA were able to show resolve as the Eagles notched up its first win of the Churchill Cup after failing to perform against the England Saxonas and Tonga. Russia performed very well and were unlucky not to have won the match but in the end tries from the USA at important times saw the Eagles win the contest.

The game was defined by the two periods themselves with the first half being a dour affair with the sides going into halftime with the scored locked at 8-8. Russian flyhalf Yuri  Kushnarev put the first points on the board with an early penalty in the first minute. The Eagles hit back four minutes latter as flyhalf Nese Malifa slotted his first penalty of the afternoon. USA centre, Paul Emerick, scored the first try in the 23rd minute to put the Eagles 8-3 ahead as flyhalf Nese Malifa failed with his conversion attempt. Russia hit back soon thereafter as left winger, Vladimir Ostroushko, went over in the 30th minute to level the scores. It was also unconverted.

Russia started the second half well. After the flyhalves exchanged penalties, secondrower Alexander Voytov went over for a converted try in the 51st minute. The USA made it 18-18 six minutes latter as inside centre Andrew Suniula went over for the Eagles. Russia had reason to feel hard done by as USA captain, Todd Clever snapped up an interception to run 70 metres and put the USA 25-18 ahead following Malifa´s conversion. Russia, however, made it 25-25 with fifteen minutes left to play as the Northampton Saints bound winger, Vasily Artemyev danced his way through the USA defence. It was to be an Eagles victory, however, as 22 year old USA debutant, Taivalu Enosa scored the games final points with seven minutes left on the clock.

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