Monday, July 25, 2011

USA vs Japan, Rugby World Cup 2003

The New South Wales city of Gosford was the setting for one of the best games from Rugby World Cup 2003 as the USA took on Japan in a pool match. Both sides had been impressive in the tournament, but winless. The Cherry Blossoms had played well vs both France and Scotland and came close on both occassions. The USA, on the other hand, missed a full time conversion kick at goal which cost them an historical Rugby World Cup victory over the high Flying Fijians. The USA thus entered the match as favorites and indeed came out on top as they competed a 39-26 win over the Japanese. Early on it was all the USA as Japan conceeded 14 early points but they fought back well to trail by just a single point early in the second half.  With ten minutes remaning it was still a one point game until Riaan van Zyl scored a late try which flyhalf Mike Hercus converted to put the North Americans clear.

The match was highly entertaining with a total of seven tries being scored but it was perhaps most notable for the outstanding defense from the USA Eagles with two players in particular putting in a number of big hits throughout the game. The USA backrow stood tall with captain Dave Hodges and Number 8 Dan Lyle well and truely leaving their mark on the opposition.

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