Thursday, June 21, 2012

USA 36-20 Georgia

Fans at Infinity Park
The United States of America returned to winning ways this past Saturday with a  comprehensive 36-20 victory over the republic of Georgia at Infinity Park on Saturday. A sell out crowd of 4,000 filled the venue at Glendale, Colorado and were treated to a rare display of home dominance by the USA Eagles against a higher ranked opponent. It was 14th in the world (Georgia) vs 17th (USA) with the visitor dropping one place, behind Fiji, as a result of the North Americans victory. It was the third match ever played between the countries and the second win for the USA Eagles who won 31-13 in 2009, also in Colorado. 

It was a match featuring a host of new players for both sides with both teams resting players following a long season that included Rugby World Cup 2011 and the European season. This meant that the USA´s star Biarritz winger, Taku Ngwenya missed out on playing. Amongst the new young players were Taylor Mokate , Derek Asbun, Shaun Davies and Andre Liufau. Mokate started for his countrty for the first time in his career, and scored a try. While Asbun, Davie and Liufau all made their test debut´s as replacements from the bench. It was also a big occassion for the veteran centre of three Rugby World Cup´s with Paul Emerick playing his 50th test match. The 32 year old debuted vs Spain in April 2003 and has been a long time servant for the United States of America playing in both big wins and loses during his time. Emerick was rewarded for his nine years of test rugby, leading out the players from the changing room.

The match was a like an early christmas present to the people in attendance with the home side getting off to a dream start as Chris Wyles put the USA 3-0 ahead in the second minute after frotnrower Eric Fry had broken the line and raced forward 40 metresbefore the Europeans were penalized for entering a  ruck incorrectly. Hot on attack, the SUA scored the first try of the match in the 9th minute with Cornish Pirates centre, Andrew Suniula showing good foot work to get past three tacklers and dive low to ground the ball on the line. Wyles was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt, a theme throughout the night after he had earlier missed a second penalty attempt. Lelos´ flyhalf, Merab Kvirikashvili got the visitors on the board with an unconverted try but it was the home side who were playing all the rugby. Wyles hit back, in landing a penalty in the 23rd minute and shortly thereafter Taylor Mokate was over for his first test try after the backrower combined with James Paterson. Wyles kicked the conversion from right out in front, making it 18-5. The USA´s third try came after a Georgian penalty with Andrew Suniula breaking clear and offloading to scrumhalf, Mike Petri who completed the try. Wyles landed the conversion and the slotted a penalty to give the USA a twenty point half time lead. 

The lead was cut to fifteen after the break with Georgia scoring a try through inside centre, Merab Sharikadze. The USA, not dominating as much as in the first half, scored next with Wyles kicking another penalty before the Lelos scored a thrid try with Davit Kacharava making it 31-20 following a try from a maul. However, this is as good as it would get for the Europeans as USA captain, Todd Clever caught a deflected kick from Roland Suniula before offloading to James Paterson who went over in the righthand corner. One of the best USA performers worth a mention is winger Luke Hume who backed up his performance vs Canada by having a second impressive match. He looks to be filling the void left from the early retirement of Kevin Swiryn. 

USA vs Italy, June 23
The USA Eagles will be in action for the teams third and final June test on Saturday, hosting Italy at the brand new BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas. The match already looks like being a huge occassion for rugby in the country with over 12,000 tickets having been sold on Sunday according to USA Rugby. The USA Eagles will be looking for a win after having played well in its first two matches. The Eagles will need to land all its goals. This should see young Will Holder returning to start at flyhalf. Italy are coming off matches vs Argentina and Canada, losing the first and coming from a half time deficit to win the second.  The Italians scrum proved to be too good for Canada, in the end, being the difference between the two sides. Georgia, meanwhile, are in Canada to face the Canadian in Vancouver also this Saturday.  

Match Highlights

Full Match

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