Ireland Nips USA by 25-18
(Marietta, Georgia) 6 January 1996 -- Despite unusually wet conditions, flyhalf Eric Elwood and his replacement, Paul Burke, combined for 20 points on seven of ten goalkicking as visiting Ireland narrowly splashed past the United States 25-18 in a one-off test in Marietta, Georgia.

In a dramatic contest that saw five lead changes, the Eagles raced to a 6-0 lead, pulled ahead 11-9 on a try by number eight Richard Tardits, and regained an 18-16 advantage when replacement flanker Jason Walker plunged over the line eight minutes into the second half. However, exceptional kicking from put the visitors back in front, 22-18. There the score remained for most of the rainy second half, until a final Burke penalty goal two minutes from full time closed out US hopes for an unthinkable upset.

The US actually outscored their opponents by two tries to one, but generally lost the battle for field position, particularly in the second half, and also spent much of the game defending against Ireland's mauling. Stout tackling and increasing vigilance in the forwards kept the trailing Americans in touch. "From a territorial point of view, we probably deserved the victory," Irish captain Jim Staples said afterward. "But we probably got more than we bargained for in this match."

"We made some improvements over the last time we time we played," US head coach Jack Clark noted, "but we are trying for a result, not to lose by smaller margins."