The USA Selects lost 26-8 to Uruguay Saturday night at Westhills Stadium in Langford, British Columbia.
The USA stubbed its own toe early and often, knocking on deep in the defensive end. Uruguay returned the favor, giving the Selects the scrum. But they put the Americans under pressure in the ensuing setpiece and were rewarded with a penalty. Jeronimo Etcheverry slotted the opportunity to put Uruguay up 3-0.
The Selects then got into the Uruguayan end after Gearoid McDonald put a penalty kick deep, but Zach Pangelinan coughed up the ball in contact after wiggling around a few would-be tacklers. Uruguay returned the favor with its own mishandle, giving USA a lineout. Wing Cornelius Dirksen then quickly knocked on off the lineout play. This series of mishandles, by both teams, really characterized the first half.
The Selects continued to hurt themselves, and after a series of successive penalties, starting with another scrum infringement, this time on Tim Paulsen for failing to engage, Etcheverry extended the lead to 6-0.
The Selects finally went squarely on the offensive when a chip kick from Pangelinan put pressure on Uruguay, which knocked on before being called for offsides. McDonald converted the pressure into points with penalty kick, making it 6-3 in favor of Uruguay.
The Selects got another spark when Shaun Davies stepped a couple of defenders off of a ruck, breaking the gainline. One phase later, the Selects were granted a penalty near the 39th minute. Off of the lineout following a McDonald clearance kick, flanker Eric Duechle got the ball in the midfield and bursted through a couple of tackles for the USA’s first try of the tournament via a great individual effort. The conversion was missed, making it 8-3 USA, which is how the half would end.
McDonald had a chance to extend the lead with a shot at goal from about 35 meters out, but the kick sailed errant. A few minutes later, Derek Asbun left the game with a bum wheel.
Uruguay’s scrum continued to punish the Selects, and after a couple of collapses and resets on the American’s defending five meter line, Uruguay was awarded a penalty try. The easy conversion hit, putting Uruguay up 13-8.
The Americans got some offense going when Pangelinan made a big break after Duechle, who commanded an extra defender, offloaded. Pangelinan dished in contact to Tom Katzfey, who stormed into the Uruguay 22. Gericke made the next run but was isolated and pinged for not releasing.
After losing possession and territory following the penalty kick, the Selects committed a kickable penalty and missed a long shot at goal. The Selects cleared the 22-meter drop, and Uruguay counter kicked. Fullback Chris Chapman let the ball bounce near the touch line, tried to make a play on it and knocked it out of bounds, giving Uruguay a great attacking lineout. Luckily for the USA, Uruguay was called for obstruction on the maul from the lineout
Etcheverry got another shot in the 27th minute, and this time he converted, putting Uruguay up by two scores, 16-8.
The Selects went on the offensive immediately and got some help from a couple of Uruguayan penalties. They were awarded one from five meters out, and down eight, chose to run it. Davies quick tapped and gave it to Duechle. He ricocheted off of the first two would-be tacklers and crossed the line, but was deemed held up. The Selects were pinged for another penalty at the scrum, ending their threatening possession.
Uruguay sounded the death knell with a short-range try from No. 8 Diego Magno. Etcheverry converted, making it 23-8. Agustin Alonzo extended the lead with a penalty near the 80th minute.
Tries: Magno, Penalty
Cons: Etcheverry (2)
Pens: Etcheverry (2), Alonzo
USA Selects 8