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The Americas Pacific Challenge concluded on Sunday with the six teams involved playing their third match in eight days. USA Selects finished with a win over Canada A, 45-26, to finish the tournament 2-1. Canada ends the 2017 APC without a win. Throughout the match, the Canadian forwards were strong, but the USA attack in open play was more than the Canadians could handle.
Canada A had a good attacking passage early with forwards carrying well, but eventually a big hit caused a knock- on and a strong, stepping run by Tim Maupin gave the Selects a good platform. USA eventually won a penalty five meters out and opted to scrum. The USA scrum was going backwards, but Hanco Germishuys was able to collect the ball cleanly from the base and scored the first try. JP Eloff’s conversion was good to put the USA up 7-0 after five minutes.
The Selects tried to run the ball out from the deep restart. After several phases, Canada turned the ball over and Kainoa Lloyd, after receiving a good offload from Mike Nieuwenhuysen, quickly scored Canada’s first try. Robbie Povey missed the difficult conversion, so USA remained in the lead, 7-5.
Canada struggled to make open-field tackles which helped the Selects score two more tries in short order.
Canada looked dangerous with the ball, but did not hang onto it long enough to put the USA defense under serious pressure. When the Selects had the ball, they moved quickly up the field. Several good runs, including one from Eloff, helped USA move the ball into the Canada 22. Once there, Peter Malcolm made a delayed pass to Josh Whippy who drew the defender and passed to Bryce Campbell who went into the try zone. The conversion was good: 14-5.
From the next possession, Whippy and Maupin carried well to get the USA into the Canada 22 again. Several strong phases ended with a second try for Germishuys. Eloff kicked another conversion to make it 21-5.
From a scrum just inside the USA half, Canada drove forward and won a penalty. Canada won the lineout following the kick to touch cleanly and USA was penalized for collapsing the maul. The next lineout was again won cleanly by Canada, and this time the maul went over into the try zone with Ray Barkwill scoring the try. Povey’s conversion was good making it 21-12 with a quarter of the match played.
From a sloppy Canadian turnover shortly after the restart, USA attacked and another well-timed run by Maupin off Mike McCarthy’s shoulder set up a try for Angus McClellan. With just over 10 minutes to play in the first half, USA was up 26-12.
Canada had the next good scoring chance; however, they could not win the attacking lineout inside the USA 22.
A few minutes later, from a scrum 10 meters inside their own half, Canada won another penalty. The USA, again, stole the lineout only to turn the ball back over to Canada who, in turn, knocked on. Surprising no one, the Selects ran the ball from that scrum inside their 22. As unsurprising as it was, it was also successful, but a well-won breakdown penalty ended the USA momentum.
The half ended with Canada kicking into touch down 26-12.
Before front row substitutions were made, Canadian dominance in the scrum continued in the second half, with a penalty against USA at the first scrum. From the lineout possession, Patrick Parfrey sliced through the USA defensive line. This time, the territory resulted in points. USA struggled to clear when they had a chance, and Canada kept the ball in tight and several picks-and-go ended with a try for Lucas Rumball. With the conversion, Canda was within seven, 26-19.
Canada’s attack was sharper early in the second half, while the USA Selects struggled to find their rhythm. When they did find a rhythm, Campbell, Maupin, and Whippy were heavily involved and the Selects moved up the field again.
Once inside the Canadian 22, the ball was recycled quickly and Ruben de Haas took the offload from Ben Cima and score the try. Cima’s conversion was good to open the USA lead back up to 33-19.
Canada won the ball from the restart and worked through phase after phase inside the USA 22. Most of the phases were pick-and-go or one-off runners. The battered defense eventually broke and Guisseppe du Toit scored the simple try. With almost 20 minutes to play, USA up 33-26.
A strong run from the base of a scrum by Jordan Sandover-Best put the Selects under pressure and into their own 22 again. The powerful runs from Canada continued, and Canada won another scrum, this time 15 meters out. Dustin Dobravsky carried from the base to within five meters, but the ball was knocked on in the next phase to give USA a chance to clear after winning a free kick from the scrum.
Also in that scrum, Cole Keith was shown a yellow for verbal abuse. That meant that Canada played the last eight minutes a player short.
A few moments later, from a Canadian mistake, the Selects got the ball back and Mitch Wilson floated a nice pass to Germishuys who had too much pace and too much strength for the Canadian defense. His 55-meter try secured the match for USA. Cima’s conversion was good to make it 40-26.
A series of knock-ons from both sides helped wind the clock down. However, the match ended with one more try for the Selects. Whippy and Eloff were critical again, but it was Germishuys who scored his fourth of the match to make the final score 45-26.
While there were worries at scrum time, the tournament saw the USA Selects play with a lot of attacking ambition, and the squad scored 18 tries in the three matches.
USA Selects: 1. Alex Maughan 2. Peter Malcom (C) 3. Angus McClellan 4. Brendan Daly 5. Matthew Jensen 6. Ben Landry 7. Aladdin Schirmer 8. Hanco Germishuys 9. Holden Yungert 10. Mike McCarthy 11. Tim Maupin 12. Bryce Campbell 13. Lemoto Filikitonga 14. Josh Whippy 15. JP Eloff 16. Alex Vorster 17. Kelepi Fifita 18. Chance Wenglewski 19. Brendan Hardiman 20. Psalm Wooching 21. Ruben de Haas 22. Ben Cima 23. Mitch Wilson
Canada A: 1. Hubert Buydens 2. Ray Barkwill 3. Cole Keith 4.Adrian Wadden 5. Conor Keys 6. Kyle Gilmour 7. Lucas Rumball 8. Dustin Dobravsky 9. Andrew Ferguson 10. Robbie Povey 11. Conor Desmond 12. Patrick Parfrey 13. Mike Nieuwenhuysen 14. Kainoa Lloyd 15. Guisseppe du Toit 16. Martial Lagain 17. Liam Murray 18. Ryan Kotlewski 19. Liam Chisholm 20. Travis Larsen 21. Jordan Sandover-Best 22. Brett Johnson 23. Aidan McMullan