Men's Eagles
20 13
Japan
34 20
Men's Eagles  @ ANZ Stadium
Pacific Nations Cup
  Glen Jackson
nbcsg

USA Men's National Team XVs fall to Japan after relentless fight in PNC decider

SUVA, FIJ. - It was a match worth watching until the very end -- especially at the very end -- as the USA Men's National Team XVs fought through every last minute to quell what became a 20-34 Japanese victory. 

Japan's line speed, quick passes and precision in defense were unwavering as the new Pacific Nations Cup Champions exploited every U.S. mistake in attack and especially at the set piece.

But the United States displayed a number of promising moments to put pressure on the Japanese and force some notable turnovers. It was a promising fight despite what the scoreline might indicate. 

"As much as we're disappointed in the result, this is very much about the process. And for us, it's about continuing to get better and grow in our areas of the game with the realization that we wanted to win the Pacific Nations Cup, but we have the World Cup to look forward to which is pretty good," said Captain Blaine Scully. 

"I think its good that we got tested by such a good Japanese team today and I think we saw that when we play against such a quality team, when you make mistakes, they make you pay," said Head Coach Gary Gold. 

The Japanese were equally sharp and impressive on both sides of the ball but not without some unfortunate errors. 

Two offsides penalties by the United States and a series of quick passes in attack allowed Japan to take an early 0-17 lead until momentum found the USA. In the 17th minute, a powerful run by Greg Peterson had paired with AJ MacGinty dummying through space, where Madison Hughes claimed an offload to score mid posts. 

As the Eagles found their front foot, Japan started to backtrack. On three occasions, the USA's opposition lost the ball in contact which deafened the short, speedy passes which founded their most valuable attacking threat. Penalties dominated the scoreline for the remainder of the half as Will Hooley kicked six points through the posts and Japan added some of their own, 13-20. 

Japan looked sharper in the second half, as line speed mixed with stronger execution to punish every error by the Americans. With two more Japanese tries in the mix, the United States struggled through each set piece to build and maintain a substantial attack. 

And still, the Eagles wouldn't quit. 

After long stretches of play and fresh legs off the bench to support, the USA applied perfect pressure in a Japanese scrum where Ben Pinkelman stole the ball and Hanco Germishuys dove over the tryline to make it 20-34. 

Until the very last second, the United States kept on; and every time the Eagles made a patient, favorable move in attack, Japan made mistakes. Well past the 80th minute, the Americans drove their phases further and further towards the goal line until Japan claimed one last turnover and kicked to touch for the victory. 

"That was a great lesson for us but really proud of our guys for how hard they stuck in and fought right until the end," said Coach Gold, describing the final minutes which had fans across the globe in awe. "I think we're in a good place. It's been a good couple of weeks and congratulations to a really good Japanese team." 

The USA Men's Eagles will now have a couple weeks break before assembling again for the final test match against Canada on Sept 7 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. From there, the United States will depart for Rugby World Cup Japan in mid-September. 

Tickets for the Rugby World Cup Warm-Up against Canada are available at usarugby.org/tickets

Tries | Madison Hughes, Hanco Germishuys
Pens | Will Hooley (2)
Cons | Will Hooley 


USA MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM XVs ROSTER

STARTERS

1. Chance Wenglewski
2. Mikey-Sosene Feagai
3. Paul Mullen
4. Nate Brakeley
5. Greg Peterson
6. Malon Al-Jiboori
7. Hanco Germishuys
8. Jamason Fa'anana Shultz
9. Shaun Davies
10. AJ MacGinty
11. Madison Hughes
12. Paul Lasike
13. Marcel Brache
14. Blaine Scully (C)
15. Will Hooley


RESERVES

37' | 22. Will Magie for 10. AJ MacGinty 
41' | 17. David Ainuu for 1. Chance Wenglewski 
54' | 21. Nate Augspurger for 9. Shaun Davies 
59' | 23. Thretton Palamo for 11. Madison Hughes
59' | 19. Ben Landry for 5. Greg Peterson
59' | 20. Ben Pinkelman for 6. Malon Al-Jiboori 
61' | 18. Paddy Ryan for 3. Paul Mullen 
65' | 16. Dylan Fawsitt for 2. Mikey Sosene-Feagai 


USA MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM XVs STAFF

General Manager | Dave Hodges
Head Coach | Gary Gold
Assistant Coach, Attack | Greg McWilliams
Assistant Coach, Set Piece | Shawn Pittman
Assistant Coach, Defense | Jaque Fourie
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison
Assistant S&C and Analyst | Tom Kindley
Team Doctor | Mark Sakr
Team Doctor | Sam Akhavan
Head Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Athletic Trainer | Matt Lopez (Fiji)
Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan
Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz
Team Manager | Chris Hanson
Assistant Team Manager | Mark Drown


PACIFIC NATIONS CUP 2019 RESULTS

vs  Canada | 47-19 (W)
vs  Samoa | 13-10 (W) 
vs Japan | 20-34 (L)


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