U19 2007 RWC - USA continue unbeaten run
9 Apr 2007
USA maintained their unbeaten start to the IRB Under 19 World Championship 2007 with a surprise 16-10 victory over Division B top seeds Romania at Queen’s, Belfast in a closely contested match.
Romania started the stronger of the two sides, having the majority of both the ball and territory. Strong work by the pack was rewarded when flanker Bogdan Petreanu was driven over by his fellow forwards for the first score of the match and while USA defended well they just weren’t able to hold out under the pressure applied by their opponents.
It didn’t take long for USA to reply as 10 minutes later centre Jack Tracy sliced through the Romanian back line before out pacing the last defender and touching down for the try to make the scores level at 5-5 after 22 minutes.
Fly half Hamish Roberts couldn’t convert the try, but the score provided USA with a new wave of confidence, which showed in their play for the rest of the match.
It was Romania though who went in leading at half time as, after a series of American errors, Ionel Cazan made a fantastic break before spreading the ball wide for replacement Alexandru Beldean to score his side’s second try and give them a 10-5 advantage.
USA came out strong in the second half with Roberts kicking the ball well from hand to ensure his side were playing mainly in the Romanian 22. A good set piece soon levelled the scores when a catch and drive from a lineout seen Liam Murphy go over the try line to reward the Americans for their efforts.
The match was tightly poised at 10–10 and both sides where matching each other in all areas, but it turned out to be the boot of Roberts that won the match for USA after he managed two penalties in tricky kicking conditions.
USA will now look forward to facing Zimbabwe at Queen’s on Thursday 12 April with their hopes of a semi final place still firmly on track, while Romania will play Canada at Upritchard Park, Bangor the same night looking to regain some pride after two disappointing defeats.
Romanian coach Alexandru Achim: “We don’t expect to lose this game, but we’ll just see what happens in the future. We had a few injuries and we just weren’t winning at contact. We’ll try to do our best against Canada.”
USA coach Will Thompson: “Coming in as 12th seeds we weren’t going to get it easy but we have a much better team this year. There is a composure and commitment that hadn’t been there in the past.”
USA captain Scott Lavalla: “It feels good to get those two wins. We have a lot of room for improvement but I feel we did enough to win. Now the sky is the limit and we can do anything we set our minds to.”
USA fly half Hamish Roberts: “I wasn’t doing too well at the start but I maintained my focus and made the last two kicks. We had the wind in the second half so the kicks where easier. I’ve loved Belfast it’s a great place and a great place to play rugby.”