USA wins inaugural Rugby League Americas Championship
Canada took the lead early, and led for most of the match-up. However, the US rallied late to score three tries in the last 20 minutes to win the game.
Breaking down Canada’s lead and USA rally
The Canada Wolverine Akarika Dawn scored an unconverted try 13 minutes into the first half, and took a 4 to 0 lead over the USA Hawks. The Wolverines’ Kevin Gurniak scored another try (without a conversion) with just 16 minutes left in the game to take an 8 to 0 lead over the Hawks.
However, the Hawks would rally for the win in the closing minutes of the game. USA Hawk Roman Lowery scored his club’s first try (with no conversion) with 12 minutes left in the game, cutting Canada’s advantage to four points. Seven minutes later, the Hawks’ Gabe Farley scored his team’s second try, tying the game at 8 to 8.
With just two minutes left in the game, Jonathan St. Jon scored the go-ahead try for the US, giving the Hawks a 12 to 8 lead. After Junior VaiVai’s successful conversion kick, the US built its lead to six, and would win the game with a 14 to 8 final score.
USARL Hawks Coach Dustin Cooper commends his club’s performance.
"I was very proud of the boys' effort. We expected a tough arm wrestle on foreign soil, and that's exactly what we got. We created plenty of opportunities but just couldn't capitalize. To Canada's credit, their ruck control and goal line defense was on point. The boys regrouped, did exactly what I asked of them in the second half, and as a result we were able to play fast and direct, and get points on the board. I'm really happy for the boys."