A red card early in the second half to Hanco Germishuys left the USA Select XV with only 14 men for half the game and Samoa ‘A’ took full advantage to come away 48-26 winners in the first round of the Americas Pacific Challenge. Though the replay was not shown, the match officials had no doubt that Germishuys had thrown two punches to a prone Samoan and ordered him off the pitch.
The first half had a slow start with Ben Cima missing an early penalty attempt. Aukuso Fruean’s radar was more accurate and he sent over a goal in the 14th minute to start the scoring. Moments later Fruean’s high ball was lost in the sunlight by the cover defense and La’aloi Leilua was there to snatch it away and race clear for the first try of the game.
It was another speedster who got the second try. Ionatana Tino caught the inside defense off guard at the lineout and broke free. Following up on his right shoulder was Elisapeta Alofipo and the winger turned on the jets to finish off the rapid strike.
Fortunes changed rapidly as Samoan gas tanks ran low at the end of the half. Several phases got the USA close and Tim Maupin’s inside line put him in under the posts. Just moments later they were back in scoring position and this time it was the captain Peter Malcolm who wrestled over to make it a three-point game at the break.
Samoa came out like a house on fire in the second half to snuff out the USA resurgence. Ikifusi Matamu took on the line and the rangy lock popped a ball around the back of the tackle to Tiama Viliamu and the prop was clear to the line. The red card to Germishuys came on the next play and American heads immediately dropped.
It didn’t take long and Suamalie Tuiletufuga was over, picking and driving over after Viliamu was held up just short. From the restart a loose ball ended in Tagaloa Fonoti’s hands and the midfielder raced half the field untouched to touch down. A try to Tino after breaking from a scrum and one more to Rodney Tapu from close range made it a 48-14 blowout.
To the USA’s credit they rolled up their socks and scored twice in the final quarter. Mitch Wilson was on the end of an attacking move after a Samoan defender pinched and left a gap. Bryce Campbell then made it over to give his team a four-try bonus point, but the result was long written at that point.
The USA will now face hosts Uruguay on Wednesday, and will almost certainly have to do so without Germishuys. Samoa meanwhile will face a stern test in the defending champion Argentina XV.
Tries – L. Leilua (16’), E. Alofipo (28’), T. Viliamu (41’), S. Tuiletufuga (46’), T. Fonoti (48’), I. Tino (51’), R. Tapu (58’)
Cons – A. Fruean 5/7 (17’, 29’, 42’, 47’, 59’)
Pens – A. Fruean 1/1 (14’)
Tries – T. Maupin (37’), P. Malcolm (40’), M. Wilson (64′), B. Campbell (71′)
Cons – B. Cima 2/2 (38’, 40’), J. Eloff 1/2 (72′)
Pens – B. Cima 0/1
Red cards – H. Germishuys (43’)
1 Rodney Tapu, 2 Noel Sanft, 3 Tiamu Viliamu, 4 Ikifusi Matamu, 5 Aukusitino Ulugia, 6 Mikaele Tapili, 7 Joseph Fuimaono, 8 Suamalie Tuiletufuga (capt.), 9 Ionatana Tino, 10 Aukuso Fruean, 11 La’aloi Leilua, 12 Kaino Thomsen, 13 Tagaloa Fonoti, 14 Elisapeta Alofipo, 15 Paulo Scanlan
Replacements: 16 Ripine Fualau, 17 Tuaniu Tuaniu, 18 Setu Enoka, 19 Lester Sefo, 20 Fili Setu, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Ricky Pauli Ene, 23 Iafeta Purcell
USA SELECT XV
1 Alex Maughan, 2 Peter Malcolm (capt.), 3 Angus MacLellan, 4 Matt Jensen, 5 Brendan Daly, 6 Hanco Germishuys, 7 Aladdin Schirmer, 8 Jackson Kaka, 9 Ruben de Haas, 10 Ben Cima, 11 Zach Pangelinan, 12 Bryce Campbell, 13 Tim Maupin, 14 Mitch Wilson, 15 Martini Talapusi
Replacements: 16 Alex Vorster, 17 Chance Wenglewski, 18 Huluholo Mo’ungaloa, 19 Brendan Hardiman, 20 Psalm Wooching, 21 Holden Yungert, 22 JP Eloff, 23 Lemoto Filikitonga
Referee: Joaquín Montes (URU)