Uruguay beaten at home by determined Selects

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Capped Eagle John Quill scored the lone try Thursday in the USA Rugby Selects’ 13-3 win against Uruguay at the ground of Old Christians Club.

Zach Pangelinan opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the 22nd minute and A.J. MacGinty came off of the bench late to convert Quill’s try and add a penalty of his own. Yellow cards issued to John Cullen and Olive Kilifi towards the end of the first half gave Uruguay a brief two-man advantage, but the Selects were tenacious on defense, keeping Los Teros to just three points throughout the 80 minutes.

Cullen’s sinning was matched by a Uruguayan in a post-whistle altercation, while Kilifi was penalized in the scrum at the end of the half. The Selects were given plenty of time to work in the scrum with a slick pitch causing handling errors from both teams, a needed follow-up to the Forwards Camp held earlier this year at the Olympic Training Center.

Kilifi was sent off in the 64th minute for a repeated infraction in the scrum. The second yellow turned to red to end the prop’s night, though Head Coach Mike Tolkin was pleased with the set pieces throughout the match.

“In the scrum we took several balls against the tight head and caused a few penalties,” he said. “It was almost even in that department.”

Though Manuel Blengio missed his fair share of penalty attempts, he leveled the match at 3-3 in the 60th minute. Pangelinan missed three penalties, including a 75th-minute kick inside Uruguay’s half that would have given the Selects a 6-3 lead. Minutes later, the U.S. was given another opportunity at points with a penalty against Uruguay. Captain Seamus Kelly pointed towards the touch line rather than the posts, however, and Shalom Suniula kicked to touch.

With time running out on the match and the Selects playing with 14 players to Uruguay’s 15, Kelly recognized the need to keep play in the host’s half. Zach Fenoglio’s lineout throw 10 meters from the line was perfect for the Selects, who drove a maul over the try line for an 8-3 lead before MacGinty’s conversion extended it to 10-3.

“We felt confident in our lineout and mauling ability, and, being down a man, we thought it was a good opportunity to spend time deep in their end and put the pressure on them,” Tolkin said. “It was good on-field game management from the captain.

“Seamus had his hands full speaking to the referee with all the conferences and cards, but he was a strong leader out there.”

MacGinty brought the final score to 13-3 with a penalty kick prior to the final whistle, and the Selects earned the first win for a U.S. senior XVs side on Uruguayan soil since 2009. In the first leg of the Rugby World Cup Qualifier in 2014, the Eagles played to a 27-27 draw in Montevideo before earning a Pool B place with a 32-13 win in the second leg at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University.

The Selects will travel to Salta for matches against Argentina Jaguars Tuesday, April 28, and Saturday, May 2. Prior to kickoff, Tolkin’s squad will focus on a few aspects of the game upon which to improve in order to come home with a winning record from the tour.

“We need better line speed on defense, more physicality and urgency in the tackle area, and, as always in South America, for our set pieces to be strong,” Tolkin said.

USA Rugby Selects | v. Uruguay
1. Nick Wallace
2. Zach Fenoglio
3. Olive Kilifi
4. Louis Stanfill
5. John Cullen
6. Alastair McFarland
7. John Quill
8. Matt Trouville
9. Robbie Shaw
10. Shalom Suniula
11. Zach Pangelinan
12. Lemoto Filikitonga
13. Seamus Kelly (C)
14. Tim Stanfill
15. Ronald McLean

USA Rugby Selects | Reserves
16. Mike Shepherd
17. Chris Baumann
18. Angus MacLellan
19. Nick Barrett
20. Kyle Sumsion
21. Niku Kruger
22. Chad London
23. Alan MacGinty

Uruguay | v. USA Rugby Selects
1. Alejo Corral
2. Carlos Arboleya
3. Oscar Durán
4. Mathias Palomeque
5. Jorge Zerbino
6. Fernando Bascou
7. Diego Magno
8. Santiago Vilaseca
9. Alejo Durán
10. Manuel Blengio
11. Santiago Gibernau
12. Alberto Román
13. Joaquin Prada
14. Leandro Leivas
15. Jeronimo Etcheverry

Uruguay | Reserves
16. German Kessler
17. Juan Echeverria Corral
18. Mateo Sanguinetti
19. Ignacio Dotti
20. Mathias Braun
21. Agustin Alonso
22. Rodrigo Silva
23. Francisco Bulanti

USA Rugby Selects | 13
Tries: Quill
Conversions: MacGinty
Penalties: Pangelinan, MacGinty

Uruguay | 3
Tries: N/A
Conversions: N/A
Penalties: Duran

USA Rugby Selects | South American Tour
v Uruguay – W 13-3
v Argentina Jaguars – Tuesday, April 28 – Salta
v Argentina Jaguars – Saturday, May 2 – Salta