World Cup - USA hold on to deny Russia

Thu, 15 Sep 10:16:00 2011

The United States won the battle of the World Cup minnows as they beat debutants Russia 13-6 in their Pool C clash in New Plymouth.

Mike Petri (L) of the U.S. fends off the tackle of Russia's Igor Klyuchnikov as he heads for the try line - 0

Newport Gwent Dragons scrum-half Mike Petri scored the only try of the match after 18 minutes as the Eagles won just their third match at the tournament in 18 attempts.

It was a brave performance from Kingsley Jones' side who produced some solid defence and good counter rucking but they fell just short in a bruising encounter.

Russia became the 25th nation to compete in the World Cup and made a great start as Petri's kick was charged down and Yury Kushnarev kicked a second minute penalty from in front of the posts.

Kushnarev then missed a long-range attempt before Saracens' Chris Wyles levelled the scores with an 11th minute penalty after Russia were penalised for offside.

The US began to dominate and the only try came after a good line-out drive. Andrew Suniula burst through and it was fantastic support play from former Sale man Petri to cross between the posts.

Wyles added the extras but missed two further penalty attempts at goal before the break, the second a very straightforward chance.

The US dominated the opening period but were unable to generate fast ball from their forwards, possibly feeling the effects of their 22-10 defeat to Ireland just four days previously.

Heavy rain greeted the players for the start of the second-half but Russia started brightly and Takudzwa Ngwenya denied Igor Klyuchnikov a famous try after a sublime cross kick from Kushnarev into the in-goal area.

Another ambitious penalty attempt from Kushnarev drifted wide before some great scrambling defence from Russia kept them within seven points after Andrew Suniula charged through three tackles only to be held up within inches of the line.

The experienced Wyles then spurned further opportunities as a penalty attempt hit the upright before he missed a drop goal attempt from in front of the posts.

He did make it three from seven attempts on 64 minutes from in front of the posts to make it 13-3 but then would have taken some solace as Kushnarev missed from in front of the posts after US captain Todd Clever was penalised for a confrontation with Russia sub Adam Byrnes.

That prompted a change of kicker and Konstantin Rachkov made his kick to set up a grandstand finish and Russia had one last chance to level the game when Clever was again penalised for a late tackle that should have seen his side reduced to 14 men.

The debutants knocked the ball forward to bring the game to an end but will take great heart from their performance ahead of their next encounter with Italy on Tuesday.


2' Kushnarev penalty: Russia 3-0

11' Wyles penalty: 3-3

18' Petri try: USA 8-3

19' Wyles conversion: USA 10-3

64' Wyles penalty: USA 13-3

77' Rachkov penalty: USA 13-6

Lee Walker - follow me on twitter @leewalk498 / Eurosport

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