Hughes inspires USA to second victory

(IRB.COM) Saturday 23 June 2012
Hughes inspires USA to second victory
Tonga scrum-half Taniela Vakauta enjoys the moment after scoring in his side's convincing win over Russia at the JWRT in Salt Lake City. Photo: David Brinton

Home team USA sits on top of Pool A and is now in pole position to qualify for its second JWRT final after a 54-25 win over a fancied Chile side at Murray Rugby Park, Salt Lake City.

Madison Hughes continued his remarkable run in the Under 20s tournament with another outstanding performance, scoring 35 of the United States' points.

"I was pretty happy with my performance, my team-mates set me up well. I came up on the score sheet, but it was a total team effort that scored the tries," he said.

Winger Kingsley McGowan and centre Tua Laei, who went to school just 15 minutes away from Murray Park Rugby, also scored tries in the first half.

America dominated the first half

It didn't take long for the Eagles to get on the scoreboard as Hughes converted his first of five penalties in the first minute. Just five minutes later the Dartmouth College star was on the board again, this time as a try scorer, putting the US up 8-0. The United States continued to look sharp in the first half, scoring 36 points while holding the Condors to just two Jose Tomas Baraona penalties.

Chile tried to make a game of in the second half as Mario Mayol and Matias Nordenflycht found the try zone but American reserves Mike Te'o and Pasefika Iosia also scored late tries to complete the rout.

After losing to the Americans in Round One, Tonga registered its first victory of the tournament so far with a 62-7 demolition of Russia.

It was the Hosea Saumaki show for Tonga as the Sea Eagles rolled by the overmatched Russians. The winger scored a hat-trick of tries, mostly on long, impressive gallops through the Russia defence.

Tonga were much too strong for Russia

Tonga scrum-half Taniela Vakauta opened the scoring by capitalising on a Russian mistake inside its own 22. His try in the 12th minute made it 5-0. From there, Saumaki and Teaupa took turns breaking off long runs through Russia an into the try zone. The Sea Eagles built up a 31-0 lead by half-time.

The Bears, for some long stretches did slow down the Tongan attack, and did manage a few serious attacks on the tournament's top-seeded team. Substitute back Denis Barabantsev broke up the shutout in the 60th minute with a short run through Tonga's left wing.

But Tonga, cheered on by a supportive and partisan crowd, continued to pour on the offence in the second half. Saumaki scored two more tries before fly-half Amanaki Leaatoa put his name on the score sheet. Siaosi Manu and Manase Folau also scored tries for the Sea Eagles.

The Brave Blossoms proved to be the cardiac kids for the second straight game, beating Canada 38-35 in another thriller. After a narrow, wild win over Zimbabwe on Monday, Japan held on to knock off a talented Canadian side.

Japan pip Canada in the match of the day

Five different players scored for Japan, led by flanker Hayato Nishiuchi, who ran in two. The Brave Blossoms had to rally for the second straight game to stay undefeated in Pool B, but the Canadians built a 28-17 second-half lead on Andrew Ferguson's and Connor McCann's tries in the 48th and 54th minutes.

Japan quickly fought back by using quick passing to get inside the 22 on three consecutive attacks. Each time the Brave Blossoms reached the try zone on runs by Kengo Kitagawa, Nishiuchi and Raiko Katsuki, giving them a 38-28 lead.

The Canadians made the final minutes tense by blocking a Japanese kick and running it for a try by Andrew Ferguson to narrow the deficit to three.

The first half featured each team punching and counterpunching. Canada fly-half McCann took a great pass from Taylor Paris in the 15th minute to give the Canucks a 7-0 lead.

Georgia dismantle Zimbabwe to set up decider with Japan

Japan quickly tied the match on a great individual effort by Hayato Nishiuchi. The flanker broke through after a scrum near the 22 and later finished off the play by diving over the line off the ruck.

Canada retook the lead when Paris this time was the recipient of a nice pace from Clayton Meeres. Japan quickly cut into the Canucks' seven-point advantage with a well-taken penalty.  Just five minutes later, the Brave Blossoms' Shinya Osugi punched the ball into the try zone in the 34th minute to take a 17-14 lead.

The Lelos improved on their already impressive victory of Canada with a 43-7 dismantling of the Sables in the first game of Match Day 2 play.

Georgia inside centre Levan Gogolashvili scored three tries to lead his team to an impressive result. The Lelos stayed atop to the Pool B table and will face also undefeated Japan on Tuesday.

Georgia broke the game wide open with a succession of three tries in less than a quarter hour. Lelos backs Gogolashvili, Giga Gagoshvili and Merab Sharikadze all scored tries down the left touchline.

Next round of matches takes place on Tuesday

Zimbabwe, who nearly knocked off Japan in tournament's first match, started the second half much more brightly. Despite giving up Gogolashvili's second, the Sables were on the front foot for most of the first 20 minutes, getting on the board thanks to Andries Van Heerden's try in the 53rd minute.

But that was as close as Zimbabwe would get as Gogolashvili completed the hat-trick  to extend the lead to 38-7. Moments later the Sables' captain Sean Linfield limped off with a left-leg injury and then Georgia wrapped up the rout with at try by Zura Dzneladze.

The final round of pool matches takes place on Tuesday with the play-off games and the final taking place on June 30.