USA National Rugby Team


US Downs Tonga 30-10 in Epson Cup Opener

(San Francisco, California) 15 May 1999 -- Scrumhalf Kevin Dalzell's thrilling first-half try sent the United States to a 16-3 halftime lead, en route to a 30-10 win over Tonga in an Epson Cup Pacific Rim match today at Balboa Park in San Francisco.

Finding room out wide, Alatini Saulala and Brian Hightower scored second-half tries for the Eagles, 1-0 after their opening match of the 1999 season. Mark Williams chipped in two penalty goals, before leaving the bruising encounter with an arm injury.

Fullback Sengili Tu'ihalamaka scored all the points for Tonga (0-2), with a try, a conversion, and a penalty goal.

Back from an injury-wracked 1998 season, Chris Morrow sparked the US offense, repeatedly finding running room out wide. The fullback was key to Dalzell's score, a 60-yard movement.

Saulala's try, an 85-yarder sparked by wing Vaea Anitoni and Dan Lyle, featured more of the open-field attack, but several dropped balls and bad passes stopped several good scoring chances. US goalkicking was also spotty.

"Tonga is a fierce team that gives you trouble for 80 minutes, but we competed the whole way so I was pleased with the result," US coach Jack Clark said after the match. "We left some things undone and plenty to work on, so it was a good start."

Final: United States 30 Tonga 10 (halftime, United States 16-3)

United States: Tries: Kevin Dalzell, Alatini Saulala, Brian Hightower
      Cons: Kevin Dalzell, Chris Morrow (2)
      Pens: Mark Williams (2), Kevin Dalzell

Tonga: Tries: Sengili Tu'ihalamaka
      Cons: Sengili Tu'ihalamaka
      Pens: Sengili Tu'ihalamaka

Referee: Bruce Kuklinski (Canada)
Crowd: 4,600

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Scott Compton
USA National Rugby Team
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