USA National Rugby Team


Three-try Second Half Lifts USA to 34-25 Canadian Victory

(Manchester, New Hampshire) 3 June 200--Center Juan Grobler's try seven minutes from the end lifted the United States to its first lead in a dramatic 34-25 Epson Cup Pacific Rim win over visiting Canada before 1,800 at Manchester's Singer Park.

The converted score gave the USA a 31-25 edge, but Canada spent some desperate final minutes deep in the American end, sometimes within yards of the goalline. Ferocious tackling from USA captain Dave Hodges and first-year player Kort Schubert frustrated the visitors' hopes.

Grant Wells added a drop goal in injury time to seal the American victory, which sends the 2-0 Eagles to the top of the Epson Cup standings. Canada falls to 1-1 and fourth place.

"Juan's score was a big moment for us, but I thought our young international team really learned alot between the first and the second half," US captain Dave Hodges said afterward.

A converted try from center Nik Witkowski and two penalty goals from Scott Stewart helped Canada jump out to a 20-7 edge at the interval. Kurt Shuman scored in the early moments for the USA, but the first half largely belonged to the visitors.

Benefiting from a slight breeze,Wells kicked a penalty goal early in the second half to make the count 20-10. But the Beavers looked omnious when Ryan Banks scored an unconverted try in the 51st minute, opening a 15-point margin.

The US began its three-try, 24-point rally with Robbie Flynn's converted 57th-minute try, his first in international rugby. Replacement Joe Clayton tallied ten minutes later and Wells conversion brought the hosts to within a point, 25-24.

The thrilling match recalled last year's 18-17 nailbiter in Toronto, won in the dying minutes by the USA.

The USA's next Epson Cup game is a top-of-the-table clash against second-place Fiji, July 1 in troubled Suva, while Canada faces Samoa in Apia the same day. Both teams are in action next week, however, the USA hosting Ireland here in Manchester and Canada traveling to East London to meet South Africa.

Final: United States 34 Canada 25 (halftime Canada 20-7)

United States: Tries: Shuman, Flynn, Clayton, Grobler Conversions: Wells (4) Penalty goals: Wells Drop goals: Wells Canada: Tries: Toews, Witkowski, Banks Conversions: Stewart (2) Penalty goals: Stewart (2) Final: United States 36 Japan 21 (halftime USA 18-7)

USA: Tries: Shuman, Flynn, Clayton, Grobler
     Cons: Wells (4)
     Pens: Wells
     DG: Wells

Japan: Tries: Toews, Witkowski, Banks
     Conv: Stewart (2)
     Pens: Stewart (2)

Ref: Anetere'a Aiolupotea (Samoa)

United States: Kurt Shuman; Andre Blom, Philip Eloff, Juan Grobler, Malakai Delai; Grant Wells, Kevin Dalzell; John McBride (Joe Clayton), Kirk Khasigian (Robbie Flynn), Ray Lehner, Philippe Farner, Tom Kelleher, Don Younger, Dave Hodges (captain) (John Burke), Kort Schubert.

© USA National Rugby Team
Scott Compton, Media Relations
Hudson Rugby Fieldhouse
Berkeley, California 94720 4426
phone 510.643.1971 / fax 510.643.2192