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In a match deciding the top seed of Pool C, USA outclassed Australia, 28-7. The Aussies didn’t pass the midfield stripe until late in the first half and by the end of the period, the Eagles were up 21-0. The USA would add another try in the second half before emptying its bench by the end of the game. The match was highlighted by Martin Iosefo’s Sportscenter moment hurdling then juking out defenders for the try. The win shores up USA’s entry to the quarterfinals and fourth straight entry to the next round at Las Vegas.
The game started with Folau Niua’s kickoff and Isoefo recovering the ball for the USA. A game of hot potato and circling around ensued resulting in confusion for the Australian defense. This created an opening for Perry Baker to sprint in from 20 meters out. Niua added the points after for a 7-0 Eagle advantage.
On the next restart, a penalty gave the ball to an Australian scrum. The American defense caused turnover ball where Danny Barrett bulldozed through three defenders to enter the 22. The ball was recycled to the middle where Maka Unufe offloaded while going to ground to free Iosefo for the try. Niua remained perfect with the boot to give the USA the 14-0 lead.
A penalty after the restart gave the USA the lineout inside 22. The Eagles tried to center the ball but the pass was for naught as the USA was called for diving over. A kick to touch gave the Aussies the ball at the 40, but the American defense created a ruck turnover giving the Eagles a lineout opportunity at the 22. The ball was swung wide to the wing however the final pass from Iosefo to Baker was high to fell out of bounds.
Australia finally crossed the midfield but immediately turned it back over to the Eagles. Unufe offloaded to Iosefo who hurdled his defender and raced 50 meters to the five before juking out the final opponent for the dive into the endzone. Niua slotted the conversion from the left side to end the half 21-0.
A deep kick to the USA started the second half and the Eagles worked the ball from sideline to sideline. Once inside Aussie territory, Baker took over with an inside move to breaking off a 40-meter try. Niua made his seventh consecutive conversion to continue the 28-0 shutout.
Niua’s kickoff was picked off by Barrett and then swung across the field to Leuta. A penalty restarted the action inside the 22 the USA offense was pinged for an infraction within two meters of the goal line. Australia attempted to run it out but was again penalized. Nuia found touch at the 22 and subsequent lineout was passed across the field to Carlin Isles who was forced out of bounds.
Following defensive lapse, Australia’s Lewis Holland drove the ball up the middle of the field passing to Tom Connor. Dylan Pietsch finished off the play with a run up the gut for the Aussies’ lone try of the match.
USA responded by marching downfield but were stopped by a penalty inside the 22. Australia wanted to make a dash for points but ran out of time and real estate along the sideline as the game ended, 28-7.