World Cup Report: Wales 16-24 USA

Co-hosts Wales crashed out of the World Cup as the USA caused another almighty upset with a 24-16 victory in Wrexham.

Iestyn Harris‘ men looked devoid of ideas in attack for most of the game, and how he must have wished that Lee Briers wasn’t just on the pitch as a water carrier.

Both Lloyd White and Matt Seamark struggled to get any sort of control on the game, a stark contrast to the half-back combination for the Tomahawks, with Joseph Paulo and Craig Priestly both excellent again, as they were in the win over the Cook Islands on Wednesday.

The crucial period came midway through the second half, when the Tomahawks registered three tries in 10 minutes to put the game well beyond Wales, who now just have pride to play for when they host the Cook Islands in Neath next Sunday.

It had started positively for Wales, as they registered the game’s first try on 16 minutes. Neil Budworth darted away from dummy half and sent Rhys Williams galloping down the left wing, and he found Christian Roets on his shoulder, the North Wales Crusaders centre touching down on home turf.

In what was a closely fought first half, the Tomahawks hit back almost straight away. Taylor Welch‘s impressive break down the right hand side got USA on the front foot, and they earned a penalty close to the line when Matt Petersen was taken out when chasing Paulo’s towering kick.

A few tackles later, and a good line by Clint Newton saw him over for the first of his two tries.

Wales went close through Gil Dudson, but it was the USA who went in to half time in the lead. Priestly rushed in to dummy half on the last and ran the play down the blind side on the left. The Tomahawks had numbers and Paulo’s superb cut out pass enabled Petersen to dive over in the corner.

For the first 10 minutes of the second half, Wales dominated territory but they just couldn’t find a way through. The closest they came was when White was held up over the line.

After soaking up that pressure, the USA delivered three sucker punches.

First, another huge kick by Paulo was spilled by Wales full-back Rhys Evans, and after Les Soloai took it close to the line, the Tomahawks had numbers on the left and Paulo crossed for a try.

Then, off back-to-back penalties, Tui Samoa carried a couple of defenders over the line for a determined solo effort, verified by the video referee.

Wales were in disarray, and USA took full advantage as Priestly paced through a huge hole in the defence to find Newton on his shoulder for the former Hull KR man’s second score.

The hosts rallied late on, scoring tries through Roets and debutant Anthony Walker, but it was too little too late and the USA recorded another famous win.


Wales: R Evans, Kear, Webster, Roets, R Williams, White, Seamark, Kopczak, Budworth, James, Patrick, Frizell, Flower. Interchanges: Dudson, B Evans, Lupton, A Walker.

Scorers: Tries – Roets (16, 76), Walker (78). Goals – White 2/3

USA: Freed, Faraimo, Tagaloa, Welch, Petersen, Paulo, Priestly, Offerdahl, Luani, Pettybourne, Newton, Shipway, D Howard. Interchanges: Samoa, Hifo, Lavulo, Soloai.

Scorers: Tries – Newton (20, 64), Petersen (34), Joseph Paulo (55), Samoa (60). Goals – Paulo 2/5

Venue: Racecourse Ground, Wrexham

Attendance: 8,019

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