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US rally to beat Canada in final WC warm-up match


Canada and US players in action during their World Cup warm-up match on Saturday. Associated Press

Martin Iosefo scored what proved to be the winning try as the USA rallied to beat Canada 20-15 in the final tuneup for both teams ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Iosefo took a pass late in the game and accelerated quickly to the outside then powered his way past Canadian defender Shane O’Leary before diving over in the corner.

This was the third meeting of the year between the two countries with the Eagles having won the first meeting in March, 30-25, and then again in June, 47-19. The Americans kept their six year winning streak over Canada alive but they had to come back from a 12-10 halftime deficit at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium to do it.

Cam Dolan and Dylan Fawsitt also scored tries for the Americans. Canada got tries from Gord McRorie and Peter Nelson.

Canada had lengthy possession series with five minutes to go but the American defence was able to ward off the attack and preserve the win.

Canadian prop Hubert Buydens needed stitches to repair a large cut on his forehead. He returned to the field but was subbed off again with blood streaming down his face. The Eagles World Cup tournament kicks off against England in Kobe, Japan on Sept.26.

Canada open against Italy on the same day in Fukuoka. Canada still lead the all-times series against the US with 38 wins, 23 losses and two draws.

Meanwhile, Warren Gatland declared himself pretty pleased with the how Wales were placed for the Rugby World Cup despite Saturday’s 19-10 defeat by Ireland being their third loss in four warm-up Tests.

The 55-year-old New Zealander -- who brings down the curtain at the end of the tournament on a 12-year tenure which has yielded three Six Nations Grand Slams -- said his side had wanted to avoid getting into a “fight” in their last match before they fly off to Japan for the sport’s quadrennial showpiece.

Gatland, who will coach Super Rugby franchise The Chiefs post-World Cup but take a year off from August 2020 for his third spell as British & Irish Lions handler, professed himself happy despite two back to back losses to the Irish and a heavy defeat by England -- although the Welsh beat the English in the return fixture.

“It’s been good,” said Gatland.

“We’ve tried to go out there and be positive in the way we play. I’m generally pretty pleased.

“We didn’t really want to get into a fight today, that sort of game.” Gatland could not resist a dig at Ireland’s style of play -- he and his rival head coach Joe Schmidt have sparred over this down the years -- saying they had given Wales’s first World Cup opponents Georgia on September 23 a heads up on tactics to use.

“Ireland have given Georgia a template of how to play against us,” he said.

“It’s difficult to stop a team like that, when they’re good at the breakdown and got collision dominance. They were effective at it in the second-half. They went to the air well. They choked us to death.”

Gatland, who said he expected fly-half Rhys Patchell to be on the plane despite failing a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) in the first-half, said the result did not worry him as overall the performance had pleased him.

“Not at all, really,” he said of the result.  That’s what these games are all about. We tried some things, some different combinations, different players. The turnover rate was disappointing, but we showed some great character at the end of the game.”

Gatland, who has never got over the manner in which he was sacked as Ireland head coach by the IRFU in 2001, said he had been impressed by the character shown by his team even though the scrum was under the cosh from the Irish throughout the second-half.

“We conceded three tries which is disappointing but we didn’t concede at the end with 14 men (Adam Beard was sin-binned three minutes from time),” said Gatland.


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