US Downs Uruguay 27-13 in Final Pan Am Match
(Markham, Canada) 21September 1996 -- A try apiece from Vaea Anitoni and Jason Walker and 17 points goalkicking from Matt Alexander steered the US National Team to a 27-13 victory over Uruguay in its final Pan American Championship match. The win concludes a disappointing tournament on a successful note.

To open the match, Alexander and Uruguay halfback Federico Sciarra traded easy penalty goals before wing Anitoni notched his 11th try of the 1996 season, inserting crisply through the midfield to score untouched. Alexander's conversion and two more penalty goals from the US number 10 then gave the Eagles a 16-3 halftime edge.

The US also enlivened a stop-start affair with a few backline breaks, but couldn't exploit its advantages.

Uruguay crept back into the contest with a tap-move try by Marcello Calandra at 50 minutes, but another two Alexander penalty kicks reopened the margin to 22-9. Content to play defensive, "10-man" rugby, the Uruguayans nonetheless paid for killing American initiative.

Flanker Walker's unconverted try at 69 minutes finally put the game out of reach. Trailing 27-8, Uruguayan flyhalf Martin Mendaro scored a long consolation try at fulltime.

Following a three-point loss to Argentina and a five-point defeat to Canada, the clear win secures the US a third-place finish in the Pan American Championship. "I think our performance was fairly consistent," head coach Jack Clark commented after the match. "We're obviously not pleased with the two narrow losses -- we're playing to win. But with that said the overall performance was acceptable."

United States -- Tries: Vaea Anitoni, Jason Walker; Conversions: Alexander; Penalty goals: Alexander (5).

Uruguay -- Tries: Calandra, Mendaro; Penalty goals: Sciarra.