PHILADELPHIA, PA – Uruguay defeated USA 29-25 in a sloppy match to end both sides’ Americas Rugby Championship campaign. The USA looked to be in control early in the second half, but Uruguay kept pressing, kept winning penalties.
It wasn’t a bad first half from the Eagles, but it wasn’t great either. Both Uruguay and USA committed several errors, handling and otherwise.
Uruguay scored first through an Augustin Ormaechea penalty following a destructive lineout maul – an ominous start by the Uruguay pack. Ormaechea had another chance after Uruguay won a penalty from the first scrum, but missed. Uruguay looked to keep the ball moving, taking 6 lineouts quickly in the match.
The USA had a good period of possession but found themselves going backward in attack. That forced James Bird to kick, and his kick went over the dead ball line to give Uruguay a scrum in a decent position. Unexpectedly, the USA stole the scrum. Todd Clever scooped the ball, carried forward before passing to Chad London who found Aladdin Schirmer who scored his second try in as many weeks. That try was opportunistic and fortuitous.
It was Uruguay up next when a USA scrum under pressure helped set up another penalty for Uruguay, and Ormaechea didn’t miss that one.
At 23′, Joseph Taufete’e came on for Mike Sosene-Feagai with the score 10-6 with the USA in the lead.
A lost lineout inside their own 22 put the Eagles under pressure and Uruguay came away with another 3 points. Meanwhile, captain Clever made a couple conservative decisions at penalty time, and Bird made his kicks to keep USA in the lead. At the half, it was 13-9.
In the second half, the USA forwards starting to carry the ball well, including a great break by Taufete’e to set up a try for London. That pushed the lead to 20-9, but it wasn’t long before German Kessler scored for Uruguay. A poor kick from Bird and a quick lineout from Uruguay put the Eagles under pressure and Kessler claimed the try.
From a penalty at 59′, Clever decided to kick for the corner, but the Eagles came away with no points from the lineout well inside the Uruguay 22 and Ben Landry shortly there after was shown his first yellow card. Landry’s offense was reacting when a Uruguay player was touching Eric Fry while play was stopped and Fry was on the ground apparently trying to stretch out his hamstring. Landry pushed the player away from Fry. The infringement was within Ormaechea’s range, and he made the kick to bring Uruguay within 1. Before Landry’s 10 minutes were up, Ormaechea added another to put Uruguay into the lead 22-20.
Winning his first cap, Deion Mikesell scored the next try to put the Eagles in front again. The try was set up by a Niku Kruger chip, chased well by Tim Stanfill, to which Uruguay responded with a poor clearance. Clever fielded the kick, shifted it across the field, and Mikesell finished. The difficult conversion was missed, so 25-22 USA with 7 minutes to play.
Another passage of sloppy play ended with Uruguay inside the USA 22. A high tackle from Landry earned him a second yellow card and Uruguay kicked to the corner to go for the win rather than the tie. It worked. They lineout was won cleanly mauled over for the try. Ormaechea made the difficult conversion which meant that USA would need to score a try in the final minute to win. They did not.
Uruguay ends the tournament with 2 good wins, and 3 from their 5 matches. USA ends with a whimper.
Uruguay: 1. Mateo Sanguinetti 2. Carlos Arboleya 3. Mario Sagario 4. Gonzalo Soto 5. Diego Magno 6. Juan Manuel Gaminara 7. Juan Diego Ormaechea 8. Alejandro Nieto 9. Agustín Ormaechea 10. Manuel Blengio 11. Gastón Mieres 12. Andrés Vilaseca 13. Pedro Deal 14. Leandro Leivas 15. Rodrigo Silva 16. German Kessler 17. Facundo Gattas 18. Juan Echeverría 19. Mathias Palomeque 20. Matías Beer 21. Alberto Román 22. Guillermo Lijtenstein 23. Federico Favaro
USA: 1. Eric Fry 2. Mike Sosene-Feagai 3. Titi Lamositele 4. Brodie Orth 5. Ben Landry 6. Aladdin Schirmer 7. Todd Clever 8. David Tameilau 9. Mike Te’o 10. James Bird 11. Tim Stanfill 12. Chad London 13. Lorenzo Thomas 14. Deion Mikesell 15. JP Eloff 16. Joseph Taufete’e 17. Olive Kilifi 18. Demecus Beach 19. Nate Brakeley 20. Hanco Germishuys 21. Niku Kruger 22. Ryan Matyas 23. Jake Anderson