MacGinty drop-goal wins it for USA

Date published: August 4 2015

A last-minute drop-goal from fly-half AJ MacGinty helped the USA overcome Canada 15-13 in the fifth-placed game at the Pacific Nations Cup on Monday.

It had looked like the Canadians were set to win in front of their home fans at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby when a 71st-minute try from replacement Nick Blevins was converted by fly-half Liam Underwood to put them 12-13 in front.

However, the hosts could not close out the game and MacGinty made them pay with a simple three points under little pressure as time ran out in the contest.

USA end the Pacific Nations Cup with two victories while Canada were winless.

In an error-strewn first-half, USA went in 12-3 to the good thanks to four penalties from MacGinty to one from Canada's Underwood.

Underwood sent Canada into an early lead on four minutes with a solid strike after USA number eight Danny Barrett was caught offside at a ruck.

However, MacGinty responded on 12 minutes after sustained pressure on the hosts' line forced an offence. He then made it 6-3 on 22 minutes.

Canada would have a numerical advantage soon after though as lock Greg Peterson was yellow carded for punching opposite number Brett Beukeboom. But it didn't result in points for them as it was in fact USA who scored next when good breakdown work from Zack Fenoglio gave MacGinty a shot.

9-3 would become 12-3 before the break following Canada flanker John Moonlight coming offside at a driving maul, with MacGinty again on target.

Canada were much-improved after the turnaround and when Underwood landed three points from 25 metres out after a great run from captain Aaron Carpenter, their tails were up. Canada's case was further helped when USA back-row Barrett saw yellow for taking out Jeff Hassler off the ball.

With 57 minutes played in the fifth-placed match, fly-half Underwood could not close the gap to three points from wide out after a high tackle on wing Hassler, but with only one score separating the nations, the game was very much up for grabs.

Again though the USA were victims of their own indiscipline as MacGinty was shown yellow on 63 minutes for taking out Hassler in the air. And this time a player's absence would cost them dear as Canada replacement Blevins sprinted down right wing on 71 minutes to make it 11-12 before Underwood landed what looked to be the match-winning conversion from the touchline to propel the Canadians into a one-point advantage.

But as has proved their downfall already this tournament, Canada could not close out the game as with USA managing to get their hands on the ball 20 out, fly-half MacGinty sat back in the pocket and pulled the trigger with a drop goal as he helped his side finish the tournament on a high.

The scorers:

For Canada:
Try: Blevins
Con: Underwood
Pens: Underwood 2

For USA:
Pens: MacGinty 4
Drop Goal: MacGinty
Yellow cards: Peterson, Barrett, MacGinty

Canada: 15 Harry Jones, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Connor Braid, 11 Conor Trainor, 10 Liam Underwood, 9 Jamie Mackenzie, 8 Richard Thorpe, 7 John Moonlight, 6 Kyle Gilmour, 5 Brett Beukeboom, 4 Jon Phelan, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Aaron Carpenter (c), 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Ray Barkwill, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Doug Wooldridge, 19 Evan Olmstead, 20 Nanyak Dala, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Nick Blevins, 23 James Pritchard.

USA: 15 Chris Wyles (c), 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Folau Niua, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Zack Test, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Danny Barrett, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Scott Lavalla, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Hayden Smith, 3 Titi Lamositele, 2 Zack Fenoglio, 1 Eric Fry.
Replacements: 16 Phil Thiel, 17 Matekitonga Moeakiola, 18 Chris Baumann, 19 Cameron Dolan, 20 John Quill, 21 Al McFarland, 22 Shalom Suniula, 23 Thretton Palamo

Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)