(Berkeley, California) 3 July 1999 -- The USA has finished third in the inaugural Epson Cup Pacific Rim, surprising the pundits but not those who have seen the team in action.
Having completed its five-game schedule last week in Samoa, the 3-2 Eagles had to wait to learn the results of this weekend's Fiji-Samoa clash in Suva. Both teams could have passed the US in the standings, given the Super 12-style Epson Cup scoring system.
But Samoa's 27-15 away win meant that only Samoa passed the US.
In the final standings, 4-1 Japan is champion with 19 points, 3-1-1 Samoa finishes second with 17 points, and the US comes third with 14 points. 3-2 Fiji also logged 14 points, but the Eagles registered a better points ratio and also defeated Fiji in head-to-head play, winning 24-15 on May 22.
Tonga defeated Canada 18-10 today in Nuku'alofa to finish fifth, while the Maple Leafs sank to last place.
In a related matter, the Eagles go prime time later this month.
The National Team's three Epson Cup home games will air on Fox Sports World, taking an 8.00 PM ET Wednesday slot on the network dedicated to international rugby coverage.
The USA-Tonga match is slated for July 28th, with the Fiji contest on August 4 and the high-scoring USA-Japan game on August 11. Each show will repeat three times on Fox Sports World, including during the network's build-up to October's Rugby World Cup.
In addition to distribution to millions of homes, the cable network can also be found in many sports bars and will soon be available through Direct TV. (Call 1-800-FOX-WORLD for more information.)
Team Won Loss Draw Bonus Points 1. Japan 4 1 0 3 19 2. Samoa 3 1 1 3 17 3. USA 3 2 0 2 14 4. Fiji 3 2 0 2 14 5. Tonga 1 3 1 2 8 6. Canada 0 5 0 4 4