USA qualify for RWC 15

Date published: March 29 2014

A strong second half display ensured the USA qualified for the 2015 World Cup after downing Uruguay 32-13 in Atlanta on Saturday.

A strong second half display ensured the USA qualified for the 2015 World Cup after downing Uruguay 32-13 in Atlanta on Saturday.

Tied at 27-27 from the first leg played in Montevideo last week, it was all to play for in fine conditions and in front of a boisterous home crowd.

With less than 15 minutes to go two tries in quick succession from the Suniula brothers, Andrew and Shalom, turned the tide in the Eagles' favour after a disastrous first half performance had threatened to send them into the inter-continental repechage instead of straight to England as Pool B qualifiers alongside South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and the Asia 1 qualifier.

Mike Tolkin's side scored 29 unanswered points after the break to wipe out a 13-3 half-time deficit, prop Eric Fry starting the recovery when he touched down the first of his side's four tries shortly after the re-start.

Up until that point the USA had been masters of their own downfall, a series of handling errors seeing them squander good field position in the early exchanges.

Things went from bad to worse when Andrew Suniula was sent to the sin-bin after he retaliated to a blow to the head by throwing a punch at Uruguay replacement Francisco Bulanti.

The veteran centre was quickly joined in the sin-bin by USA replacement prop Nick Wallace, who was singled out by referee Greg Garner after the USA had been found guilty of several scrum offences.

Uruguay made their two-man advantage count when they spread the ball to the left from a wheeled scrum and Joaquin Prada crossed for his second try against the States in as many weeks. Fly-half Felipe Berchesi turned the five points into seven with the conversion.

Chris Wyles finally got the USA on the board when he landed a 35th minute penalty before two penalties from Berchesi, when Uruguay were down to 14 men after captain Arturo Avalo had seen yellow for an illegal tackle, saw the visitors take control at the break.

Fry then put a difficult first half at scrum-time behind him to wriggle over eight minutes into the second period and Wyles' conversion was good.

The Eagles went in front for the first time in the match when scrum half Mike Petri scorched over from 30 metres out with barely a hand laid on him after a quick tap penalty. Wyles was successful with the conversion and added another after Shalom Suniula had stepped off his left foot to cut inside the Uruguay cover to score the USA's third try.

Brother Andrew sealed the deal for the USA when he received an offload from wing Luke Hume and raced to the line, grounding the ball at the second attempt despite the close attentions of two Uruguayan defenders.

Wyles was unable to convert the try on this occasion but his reliable left boot concluded the scoring when he knocked over his fifth kick of the match

All is not lost for Uruguay as Les Teros have a chance to qualify as the 20th and final participant at RWC 2015 through the repechage process.

The scorers:

For USA:
Tries: Fry, Petri, Shalom Suniula, Andrew Suniula
Cons: Wyles 3
Pens: Wyles 2
Yellow cards: Andrew Suniula, Wallace

For Uruguay:
Try: Prada
Con: Berchesi
Pens: Berchesi 2
Yellow card: Avalo

USA: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Luke Hume 10 Toby L'Estrange, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Cam Dolan, 7 Scott LaValla, 6 Todd Clever (c), 5 Samu Manoa, 4 Louis Stanfill, 3 Eric Fry, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Olive Kilifi
Replacements: 16 Tom Coolican, 17 Nick Wallace, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Tai Tuisamoa, 20 Kyle Sumsion, 21 Shalom Suniula, 22 Tim Maupin, 23 Folau Niua.

Uruguay: 15 Gaston Mieres, 14 Leandro Leivas, 13 Joaquin Prada, 12 Andres Vilaseca, 11 Jeronimo Etcheverry, 10 Felipe Berchesi, 9 Agustin Ormachea, 8 Alejandro Nieto, 7 Diego Magno, 6 Juan Manuel Gaminara, 5 Mathias Palomeque, 4 Santiago Vilaseca, 3 Oscar Duran, 2 Artur Avalo (c). 1 Aleja Corral
Replacements: 16 Cristofer Soares de Lima, 17 Rodolfo de Mula, 18 Mario Sagario Cagnani, 19 Carlos Pombo, 20 Franco Lammana, 21 Juan de Freitas Turcatti, 22 Alejo Duran, 23 Francisco Bulanti

Referee: Greg Garner (England)