USA National Rugby Team


USA Sputters Against Queensland

(Brisbane, Australia) 24 July 1999 -- Queensland defeated the United States 27-17 Saturday night, as the tourists' offense sputtered in soggy conditions at Ballymore.

The US controlled first-half territory and possession, but lost as many as four potential tries over the line and went into the break trailing 12-3. Team speed ultimately carried the Australian side to a four tries to two win.

Queensland's Mike Mitchell and Ross West scored on first-half solo efforts, the Super 12 lock showing good pace in rumbling 40 yards into the corner and center West toeing the ball ahead from midfield and beating the US defense to the line.

But a 53d-minute try from center Alatini Saulala, made by a driving US lineout, brought the Eagles back in the game at 12-10.

The Reds replied with two tries and a penalty goal for a comfortable lead. Capped Fijian scrumhalf Jacob Rauluni broke from a confused lineout to cross in the corner, and Queensland was awarded a penalty try for an offside tackle near the US line. Flyhalf Shane Drahm added a three-pointer.

Fresh legs helped the US to a late try as reserve flanker Shaun Paga charged upfield from a lineout before shipping to replacement center Juan Grobler, who found fullback Kurt Shuman for the converted score.

The inability to finish undermined a determined effort from the Eagle forwards, who dominated rucks and mauls (45-20) and looked solid in the setpieces. The backs in turn created numerous breaks only to see the movement end in a turnover on a ground damp after a day of heavy rain.

In the forwards, flanker Tasi Mounga played a typically physical game and captain Dan Lyle was omnipresent in lineouts, on restarts, and in the loose. Nippy scrumhalf Kevin Dalzell spearheaded the back division.

"I was very proud of our team and I was impressed with much of the rugby we played tonight," said head coach Jack Clark. "We left a flock of tries unscored which speaks to our lack of precision, but I was happy with how many opportunities we created for ourselves."

Rain stopped just before kickoff, and the field and ball were relatively slick throughout the game, causing a number of turnovers by both sides.

The US wrap up their Australian tour 0-2. With 14 changes to the midweek team which dropped a lopsided match with Emerging New South Wales, this evening the US looked more like the third-place Epson Cup team that downed Canada, Fiji, and Tonga.

The USA wraps up its World Cup preparations with away matches against England 'A' and England next month.

Final: Queensland 27 United States 17 (halftime Queensland 12-3)

Queensland: Tries: Mitchell, Rauluni, West, penalty try
      Pens: Drahm
      Conv: Drahm (2)

United States: Tries: Saulala, Shuman
      Pens: Dalzell
      Conv: Dalzell (2)

United States: Kurt Shuman; Vaea Anitoni, Alatini Saulala, Tomasi Takau, Brian Hightower; David Niu (Juan Grobler), Kevin Dalzell; George Sucher, Tom Billups, Ray Lehner (Marc L'Huillier), Rob Johnston (Rob Lumkong), Luke Gross, Dave Hodges, Tasi Mounga (Shaun Paga), Dan Lyle (captain).

© USA National Rugby Team
Scott Compton
USA National Rugby Team
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