Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
The USA used a big second half push with a big contribution from Paul Emerick to defeat Uruguay 27-7 in the Shield semifinal. The USA move onto the Shield final where they take on the winner of Japan/Guyana.
The match against Uruguay started off scrappy as the USA gave up a couple early penalties to put themselves under pressure. The USA got on the board first with a try from Colin Hawley.
Uruguay tied the game just before halftime with a intercept try from Santiago Gibernau. The try was made possible by a poorly chosen pass made by Justin Boyd from the ground. Boyd, who played very well off the bench in Wellington, earned starting time, but has underperformed in Las Vegas and looked out of place at times for someone with his amount of experience.
With the score tied 7-7 at halftime, the USA needed a lift to avoid another loss. That lift came, once again, from Paul Emerick. The veteran players come off the bench to start the second half and immediately made an impact. Less than a minute into the half Emerick put in a big hit on a Uruguay player, stole the ball, and set Colin Hawley down the sideline for the go-ahead try.
Another fine series of play led to the USA’s next score. The try being set up by Matt Hawkins hard work at the breakdown. Hawkins tore through two tackles and passed to Marco Barnard for a score in the corner to extend the USA’s lead to 17-7.
The USA put pressure on the restarts and kept Uruguay pinned deep in their own territory. Emerick added to the lead when he took a tap on a penalty about 20 meters out from the endzone. Emerick sliced through Uruguay’s defense to score his fourth try of the tournament.
Miles Craigwell scored the final try of the game with a score in the corner to put the final score at 27-7 in favor of the USA.
In other Day 2 action, two new teams are slated for the Cup Finals. After England and New Zealand took up seven of the eight Cup Final positions on the World Series this season, neither reach the finals in Las Vegas.
South Africa and Fiji will contest the Cup Final and tighten up the battle at the top of the World Series standings.