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Ian Muir photo

A flurry of Scottish tries to open the second half undid the United States Saturday, as the Eagles surrendered a 13-6 halftime lead to fall 39-16 and drop to 0-2 at the Rugby World Cup. The win sees Scotland move to 2-0 as the only still undefeated team in Pool B.

After 40 minutes it looked as if the Eagles would deliver the pool’s second shocking upset of the tournament, but Scotland was ruthless in the second half. An exhausting stretch of defense in the third period drained the USA, and the Eagles were outscored 33-3 in the final 40.

The match opened with the trade of penalty goals. AJ MacGinty put the USA up 3-0 three minutes in, Stuart Hogg leveled the table in the seventh minute, and Finn Russell put the Scots up 6-3 in the 16th minute. Hogg had a chance to extend the lead two minutes later, but his shot at goal was missed.

In the 21st minute the Eagles took the lead with the first try of the match. Titi Lamositele dove over from short distance after a big forwards movement. Phil Thiel carried it to the line with an offload from Samu Manoa. MacGinty converted, putting the USA up 10-6.

In the 33rd minute an Al McFarland tackle caused a knock-on. The Eagles moved the ball wide from the turnover, and Chris Wyles kicked for territory, finding touch. However, Scully was called offside, giving the Scots a shot at goal. It was missed, leaving the Americans up 10-6.

Right on halftime, the Eagles mounted a huge possession, going through more than a dozen phases while inching toward the try line. It ended with Hayden Smith knocking on, but Scotland was called for being offside. MacGinty slotted the point-blank shot at goal from in front of the posts, pushing the American lead to 13-6 going into halftime.

Scotland wasted no time after the break, scoring twice in succession. Tim Visser plunged over in the 42nd minute and Sean Maitland in the 47th. The first was unconverted, but the second kick was made, putting Scotland up 18-13.

MacGinty got three of this points back immediately with a penalty kick, but shortly after the kickoff a MacGinty punt was charged down and nearly scored. The flyhalf scrambled back and stole the ball on the goal line, but flopped out of bounds with it, giving Scotland an attacking five-meter line out and try. The easy conversion pushed the lead to nine at 25-16 after 54 minutes.

Scotland worked its way back into the attacking 22 in short order, but the American defense was resolute. The Eagles repelled the Scottish attack for eight minutes, overcoming multiple set pieces and mauls before turning the ball over and clearing the threat.

However, a foolish penalty put the Americans right back on their heels. Palamo slapped the ball out of the Scottish scrumhalf's hands as he was playing it from a ruck, allowing the Scots to kick to the corner once more. McFarland was called for collapsing the subsequent maul, and an exhausted American defense finally folded on the next run of play. The converted try saw Scotland go up three scores - 32-16.

The favor was returned, with the Eagles being granted a pair of five-meter line outs, but an incidental obstruction kept them off pay dirt. They got back in the attacking end thanks to a break from Kelly off a line out, but Olive Kilifi knocked on just a few meters from the line.

Scotland, with bonus point already in hand, would flatter the scoring line further through another late try. This time it was Danny Weir crossing over and Greig Laidlaw converting to make the final score 39-16.  

The Eagles now have 10 days to think about their clash with South Africa 0ct. 7 at Olympic Park in London. Scotland has a shorter turnaround before a meeting with the Springboks Saturday in Newcastle.