The USA v France match was all defense. Both teams were working hard to contain each other.
The USA had the lion’s share of the ball and were close to breaking through. They looked to set Maka Unufe free, but the wing didn’t see a lot of space and didn’t trust his pace to really go for the line at times.
It is a natural worry for a young player, and in the end, the Eagles were hard-done by. Working on an advantage for a penalty, they coughed up the ball just as the advantage expired. France countered, and after a difficult exchange which included seeing both Folau Niua and a French player sin-binned, the French scored in the corner.
The Restart by France went a mile and a half into touch, giving the Eagles a free kick. Time was up, but the USA kept the ball, and after a penalty to their side, Andrew Durutalo made a break and then dished off to Zack Test for a superb try. Shalom Suniula made the conversion and the USA entered halftime up 7-5.
The second half began a familiar story, as the USA seemed determined to give France the initiative. Twice they knocked on in their 22. But some outstanding cover tackles kept them alive.
It was that tenacious defense that forced the turnovers for the Eagles, and then a cutback break by Palefau opened things up and Niua, back on the field, was the man on the spot to score under the posts.
Suniula’s conversion made it 14-5, and France had to score twice, with a minute left, to win.
They didn’t, and in fact the USA did as some good work by the subs, Miles Craigwell and Garrett Bender and Peter Tiberio set up a nifty run by Tiberio for the USA’s third try. Suniula kicked the conversion and the USA finally had the monkey off their backs, 21-5.
Tries: Test, Niua, Tiberio