(San Francisco, California) 22 May 1999 -- Second-half tries from Brian Hightower and David Niu carried the United States to a 25-14 victory over favored Fiji in an Epson Cup match today before 3950 at San Francisco's Boxer Stadium.
In a match tied into the 72nd minute, stingy American defense and three Kevin Dalzell penalty goals kept the hosts in the contest. Dalzell's fourth three-pointer, a short-range shot, put the US ahead for the third time in the game.
After a delay to attend to injured US prop Bill LeClerc, Dalzell landed a fifth penalty goal, before flyhalf Niu chipped over the defense to score a 79th-minute try.
Number eight Koli Sewabu scored to give Fiji a 7-3 lead in the first half, and center Waisake Sotutu's second-half try gave the visitors a 14-9 advantage. But Fiji couldn't score in the game's last 25 minutes.
"We knew if we stuck to our gameplan things would come into place," Dalzell said of the US comeback. "The guys have been very focused on our team's goals, and our discipline has improved and it shows."
The US, now 2-0, pulls into second place behind Epson Cup leaders Japan. 1-1 Fiji remains in third place.
The US next plays Japan in Honolulu on June 12.
United States: Tries: Brian Hightower, David Niu
Penalty goals: Kevin Dalzell (5)
Fiji: Tries: Koli Sewabu, Waisake Sotutu
Conversions: Opeti Turuva, Nicky Little
Referee: Shinichi Iwashita (Japan)
United States: Kurt Shuman; Vaea Anitoni, Juan Grobler, Alatini Saulala (Mark Scharrenberg), Brian Hightower; David Niu, Kevin Dalzell; George Sucher, Tom Billups, Ray Lehner (Bill LeClerc, Jason Walker), Luke Gross (Philippe Farner), Alec Parker, Dave Hodges, Richard Tardits, Dan Lyle (captain).
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