The HSAAs produced a sloppy performance against a well-drilled Uruguay U19 team in the third game of the team’s South American tour. The young USA team fielded thirteen U17s and their inexperience showed in a physical, fast-paced game. Team USA fell to Uruguay 17-15 after defeating Chile twice last week.
The U.S. started strong, dictating the attack, and living in the Uruguayan half. Captain Fitou Fisiiahi finished an excellent pattern of play with a try under the posts that Whiting converted.
Uruguay responded by scoring off the driving maul on a five meter lineout. Inoke Raikadroka received a yellow card for collapsing the maul. Prop replacement Kelepi Fifita scored three minutes later with a strong supporting run in the left corner, giving the United States a 12-7 lead.
Uruguay came back with a converted try to lead 14-12 going into the half. The second half was an even contest with each team adding a single penalty, giving Uruguay a 17-15 win.
“We managed the game well in the first 20 minutes, but hurt ourselves with forced offloads. This is exactly the type of game experience our boys need,” Head Coach Salty Thompson said. “We found ourselves in a fast-paced, physical game against an organized, efficient, international team. We wasted opportunities to win a close game.”
The HSAAs attributed their struggle to Team USA’s lack of experience compared to the Uruguay U19s. “We were a lot stronger and more physical, but we lacked in knowledge and education in the game,” eight man Tama Paogofi said. “Some of us have only played for a few years; they had a better understanding of the game.”
“It was a hard fought game and all of us played our hearts out, but we were too frantic in many stages of the game,” lock Joe Whalen said. “We were forcing offloads that didn’t need to happen, we had miscommunications in open play that led to many knock-ons, and there were too many penalties. I think if we had played a little bit smarter like in the second game against Chile and kept it simple, we could have come away with a win, but we will certainly be coming for one on Wednesday.”
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