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Team USA moved to 3-0 in the Americas Rugby Championship Saturday with a 45-13 defeat of Chile at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. The Americans scored seven tries, picking up a second-straight bonus-point victory.
The Eagles squandered two chances early, with Cam Dolan charging down a box kick and knocking on the pick up on one, and the team showing an inability to hold onto the ball deep in the attacking end on another. However, on the third trip to the plate they made good, this time with Mike Te’o making a run from fullback. On the same movement Ryan Matyas got the ball in space and darted into the attacking end before floating a pass to scrumhalf and captain Nate Augspurger for the try.
Chile owned more possession and territory for the next 15 minutes until the Eagles piled some phases together to drive into the attacking end. As the ball inched closer to pay dirt, it squirted free, and Nate Brakeley had to scoop it up and pass off his feet to Dylan Audsley, who scored the USA’s second try. Both conversions were missed, putting the Eagles up 10-0 after 22 minutes.
Chile’s defense showed resilience throughout the rest of the first half, but so did the USA’s. The Eagles did concede a penalty before the halftime whistle, making the score 10-3 at intermission.
Then they opened the second half screaming hot, scoring twice in three minutes. Audsley dotted down the first and assisted the second one, dishing inside to Bryce Campbell at the last minute. Both were converted, pumping the difference to 24-3.
On the next kickoff, the Eagles looked to be away again, with Campbell stiff-arming one Chilean to his backside before finding Dolan. He passed to Lamborn, who was cut down inside the attacking 22. The Condors turned the ball over in a subsequent breakdown, keeping the floodgates closed.
They flipped momentum by clearing their lines, earning an attacking lineout just about 10 meters from the try line. The lineout play drew the American front lifter off the five-meter line, Chile threw to its front man, who carried and completed a give-and-go for a try. The conversion attempt was missed, leaving the Eagles up 24-8.
The home team wouldn’t let that score go unanswered for long. Te’o scored the USA’s fifth try in the 52nd minute, when wing Josh Whippy executed a deft touch pass under pressure to put Te’o in space. The fullback stepped hard inside his opposite and won the race to the try line. Magie’s conversion was good – 31-8.
Gary Gold then turned to his bench, bringing on Paul Lasike, Brendan Daly and Malon Al-Jiboori for their first caps. Lasike, the former NFL fullback, made an instant impact, trucking through the Chilean defense all too easily, offloading when he was finally tripped up. The gash set up a try for Al-Jiboori, who ran a smart line in the attacking end.
Ruben de Haas and Ben Cima were the next to come in, giving the Eagles an incredibly young halfback pairing. Dylan Fawsitt also came on at hooker. Fawsitt and de Haas are also debutants.
Lasike and Al-Jiboori appeared to link up for a second try off an attacking lineout, but Al-Jiboori was held up. Reserve tighthead Angus Maclellan was lifted in the ensuing scrum, resulting in a penalty and Chile clearing its lines.
Chile went all the way the other direction in short order, with Te’o chasing the Chilean to the wing into the corner as he dotted down. The pass that put him away looked forward, but the TMO judged it to be flat, giving the Condors their second try. The conversion attempt failed, and the American lead was cut to 38-13.
After setting up a try for fellow debutant Al-Jiboori, Lasike notched his own late. Cima made a half break in the attacking 22, and Lasike ran a line right off the flyhalf, catching a pass before contact. He made the Chilean tackle look like a turnstile and barreled in.