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USA rugby hangs on to win 34-24 over Canada in shootout

Al Huffman and Al Huffman

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USA rugby league team after beating Canada. Photo by Al Huffman

USA rugby league team after beating Canada.
Photo by Al Huffman

USA earned a spot in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup after beating Canada 34-24 at Hodges Stadium on Dec 12.

After beating Jamaica on Dec. 4, the USA Hawks rugby league team was one win away from advancing to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, and the Canada Wolverines were the only team standing in their way.

USA got off to a fast start, scoring two unanswered tries. However, Canada scored two tries and two successful conversions in response to make it 12-8 in favor of the Wolverines.

The half ended with two lead changes in the final minutes. The USA scored a try with conversion to take a 14-12 lead. Canada soon struck back in the final seconds of the half with a kick-assisted try to regain the lead 18-14.

USA Hawks head coach Brian McDermott predicted the game would go like this.

“It was going to be a tight game,” McDermott said. “We had already lost two Colonial Cup matches against Canada. This was just one hell of a performance from both teams.”

USA dominated most of the second half. The Hawks scored four unanswered tries to go up 30-18, including a try by UNF Rugby Club product Taylor Alley.

Just when the game looked likely to turn into a blowout, Canada scored a try to bounce back 30-24, making it a one-possession game.

After a few defensive stands by the USA, they managed to clinch a win, adding one last try as time expired. The USA ended the game 34-24 and earned a berth in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

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USA rugby hangs on to win 34-24 over Canada in shootout