Wales Downs Visiting US 34-14
(Cardiff, Wales) 11 January 1997 -- Two fourth-quarter tries carried Wales to a 34-14 victory over the United States today at Cardiff Arms Park.

US halfback Andre Bachelet's 46-minute try brought the visitors to within 17-14, but an Arwel Thomas penalty goal, Ieuan Evans's second try, and a questionable penalty try put the Welsh clear of the Eagles, concluding a two-week tour.

Wales, who bragged of scoring 70 and winning by 40, opened the day with a Thomas penalty goal, countered by US flyhalf Matt Alexander at 11 minutes. Wing Evans and center Scott Gibbs then scored converted tries in a four-minute interval, before two more Alexander penalty goals made the halftime count 17-9. Stout defense kept the Eagles in the game.

Bachelet's try, a well-handled 70-yard movement carried the last 40 yards by the Reading scrumhalf, was the game's best score and seemed to change its momentum. But the US couldn't overcome lack of possession. Struggling in the lineout and spending significant portions of the game without the ball, the US also suffered an 11-1 second-half penalty count from Irish referee Leo Mayne, in charge of his first international.

"I'm proud of the team," US coach Jack Clark commented afterward. "It was a gutsy if not precise performance.

"We had some wonderful moments in the match, but full marks to Wales. The return of the rugby league boys [Gibbs, Alan Bateman, Scott Quinnell, and David Young] had a significant impact on the game."

Wales: Tries: Evans (2), Gibbs, penalty try; Conversions Thomas (4); Penalty goals: Thomas (2).
United States: Tries: Bachelet; Penalty goals: Alexander (3).
Referee: Leo Mayne (Ireland).