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Brazil scored on the final play of the game in Pan-Am Games pool play and hit the conversion to secure a 19-19 tie with the USA.
It was a game where Brazil showcased excellent athleticism, and did well to neutralize the USA's defensive strategy.
The Eagles wanted to tackle high, tie up the ball, and force a turnover. It didn't work. The Brazilians worked very hard to push those mauls to the ground and retain possession, and thus for the second game in a row the Eagles were on the short end of the possession stick.
Brazil scored a brilliant team try to begin the game, with Fernando Henrique Portugal bursting onto a pass, linking with his support and taking the return pass to score and give his team a 7-0 lead.
The Americans came right back, though. A penalty from the restart resulted in a quick tap by Colin Hawley. The hooker weaved his way ahead about 35 meters before realizing he was surrounded by yellow jerseys. Hawley sent a long pass infield and quick hands from Folau Niua and Mile Pulu put Maka Unufe in at the corner. 7-5 Brazil led.
But Brazil scored a soft try after that. Blaine Scully had made a try-saving tackle in the corner. The Eagles won the lineout and and ran out of their in-goal. That, in itself, wasn't a bad idea, but Pulu's pass was tough to handle and resulted in a dropped ball and, eventually, a try for Brazil. 12-5.
That was how the half ended.
The second half started with Blaine Scully being taken out in the air by a Brazilian player. There was no call from Argentinean referee Federico Anselmi, and the half was marked by the USA getting no favors from the whistle. Still, the Eagles had a scrum, and from there Pulu dummied to Unufe and took it himself for 60 meters and the game-tying try.
Brazil attacked down the left sideline, but good cover defense put the ball in touch. The USA took a quick lineout and Unufe was off again for his third of the tournament and a 19-12 lead.
The USA had the lead with time winding down, but Brazil kept working. They kept it tight and certainly got the benefit of the doubt in the rucks. It was enough, as the USA's high tackles weren't doing the job, and Brazil scored at the death.
"Very disappointing," said captain Shalom Suniula. "We didn't stick to our game plan. At first we wanted to hold them up and take advantage of our bigger stronger guys. Obviously it's not working so we have to go back to just getting them to ground and fanning out."
Suniula agreed that his team hasn't had much ball. When they get it, they seem to score, but they aren't getting those turnovers or penalties that can lead to big scorelines. Canada, meanwhile, have been torching the same opponents.
"When we do have ball we look good, but we've got to stirng [possession] together," he said. "Turnovers are our biggest enemy right now, and now having possession of the ball is going to kill us."
Tries: Unufe 2, Pulu
Convs: Niua 2