USA Leaves Canada In Its Wake

In a rematch of their Pacific Nations Cup clash earlier this month, the USA again emerged victorious as they beat Canada 41-23 in Ottawa on Saturday.  The Canadians scored tries from the returning Taylor Paris as well Nick Blevins and Aaron Carpenter while the Americans ran in five tries.  Cannucks captain Carpenter says:  ‘We let ourselves down with the little details.  We put a lot of pressure on them inside their 22 but we couldn’t get the job today and left too many points out there.  Unfortunately they took advantage of their opportunities inside our 22 and got points and that was the difference in the end.’

Trailing 20-16 in the 66th minute and with a delayed penalty upcoming inside the United States of America 22, referee Stuart Berry sent Phil Mack to the sin bin for allegedly stamping as a States defender failed to roll away.  The visitors proceeded to run in three tries courtesy of Andrew Suniula, Mike Petri and Cam Dolan.  The hosts started off in fine fashion with Paris, and then Blevins, breaking the away side’s line, the latter of which led to a penalty that Gordon McRorie dispatched for an early 3-0 lead.
After US fly half AJ MacGinty, who kicked a last minute drop goal on August 3rd as the USA beat the Maple Leaves 15-13 in Burnaby, missed a penalty, Canada’s lead was extended to 6-0 when Nathan Hirayama connected on a drop goal on a delayed penalty.  It was the the Canadians’ first drop goal since Ander Munro was successful during the 2011 Rugby World Cup fixture against France.  The Eagles replied in the 28th minute as lock Greg Peterson scored his first Test try with MacGinty adding the conversion.

Four minutes later, home flanker Nanyak Dala was sin binned for entering at the side and MacGinty made no mistake with the penalty.  The Americans added a crucial try minutes before the break as Andrew Durutalo touched down and with MacGinty’s conversion, the US held a 17-6 lead at half-time.  Canada coach Kieran Crowley says:  ‘Breakdown was an issue for us.  We allowed their tackler to get up and compete.  We weren’t strong enough over the ball and they bullied us in that area which is disappointing.’  The home side came flying out of the blocks in the second half – USA winger Blaine Scully was sent to the bin for 10 minutes in the 44th minute for a high tackle on Paris and four minutes later Paris had his sixth international try after taking a pass from Dala and skipping past a tackle for the try.
MacGinty kicked another penalty to push the visitors’ lead to 20-11 but again Canada came storming back in the 58th minute as Blevins powered through a tackle to score his third try in as many games.  Crowley says:  ‘In the second half we got back into it, kept the ball, put some phases together but the sin bin hurt us again.  We’re giving up too many penalties, too much stupidity around that area and too many turnovers.  It just wasn’t good enough.’
The Cannucks had momentum on their side and were moving towards the Eagles’ try line before Mack was sin binned and the USA added three late tries although Carpenter got his third try of the summer in the 78th minute off a driving maul.  Captain Carpenter says:  ‘We’re hurting a little bit right now.  Every loss we take on the chin.  We know we have to do better.  We have to look inside at ourselves and ask what we can do more. It’s just not good enough right now.’

Tries: Taylor Paris, Nick Blevins, Aaron Carpenter
Conversions: Nathan Hirayama
Penalties: Gordon McRorie
Drop goals: Nathan Hirayama
Tries: Greg Peterson, Andrew Durutalo, Andrew Suniula, Mike Petri, Cam Dolan
Conversions: AJ MacGinty (3)
Penalties: AJ MacGinty (4)
Photo credit: Colin Watson