U19 2007 RWC - USA fight for Third
20 Apr 2007
USA claimed third place in Division B at the IRB Under 19 World Championship 2007 after defeating a Georgian side deprived of their injured captain Archil Kobauri 24-5 at Upritchard Park, Bangor.
They were already guaranteed a vast improvement on their placing in last year’s tournament when they propped up Division B in 12th, but USA were still intent on finishing as high up the standings as possible after losing to eventual winners Italy in the semi finals.
USA dominated much of the first half and took only four minutes to open the scoring with a penalty from Hamish Roberts. The full back added a second after 11 minutes, showing great composure to kick both between the posts in the windy conditions.
Roberts kicked a third five minutes later when flanker David Chichua, standing in as captain in the absence of Georgia’s talisman Kobauri, was penalised by referee Neil Paterson for not rolling away.
It took 20 minutes for Georgia to get their hands on the ball for a prolonged period with left wing Sandro Inashvili sparking an impressive attack down his own flank, only good scramble defence from Roberts preventing the opening try of the match.
Out of sight
By the time the half hour mark in the match had arrived, USA had all but wrapped up victory with centres Hoseki Kofe and Jack Tracy both scoring tries. Kofe crossed first, his pace seeing him cross the line after the ball was spun wide following a Georgian turnover.
Tracy’s try was a mirror image of his fellow centre’s, scoring in the corner to give Roberts a conversion which proved too difficult to convert. Even given that miss though, USA went in leading 21-0 at half time in this third place playoff.
Georgia emerged for the second half determined to restore some pride with their performance and, in increasingly windy conditions, they scored the only try of the half after a period of sustained pressure.
At the third time of asking Georgia caught their own throw into the lineout and drove towards the USA line. Successive darts from scrum half George Rokhvadze kept the defence honest before hooker Beka Skhulukhia picked up from the base of a ruck to score.
USA had the last say though as the final whistle approached, Roberts kicking his fourth penalty to take his personal tally in the match to 14 points. Georgia finish fourth, a one place improvement on their standing in last year’s tournament.
USA coach Salty Thompson: “We knew Georgia would come at us very physically, but we were ready for them.”
USA captain Scott Lavalla: “Rugby is still very much a growing sport in the USA, but no doubt it’ll grow even more after our success here.”
USA hooker Bill Wynne: “We’re all very proud of what we’ve achieved here in Ireland and on top of that we’ve had a great time.”
Georgia injured captain Archil Kobauri: “Our scrum today was rubbish. That was an area we though we might be able to target them, but it wasn’t to be.”
Georgia coach Zurab Amonashvili: “We are disappointed after losing, but we have lost a few key players along the way and that has to play its part.”