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Australia Shuts Out U.S. Women

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Australia Shuts Out U.S. Women

The third round of the Youth Olympic Games was a tough one for the U.S. Women, who fell 38-0 to tournament favorites Australia.  The Americans are now 0-2-1 and will need two gutsy performances against China and Tunisia if there's any hope for a semifinal berth.

The Australians were better skilled and worked as a unit. The players did well to disrupt the tackle area, and most importantly, took advantage of the U.S.'s missteps. The Aussies punished nearly every bobbled pass, stagger in the defensive line, and slow support with a try. They attacked quickly and precisely, and the U.S. just couldn't string the phases together. The U.S. was really hampered by passing skills.

Australia's Tayla Staniford started the scoring less than a minute in, tapping through a penalty and powering over the line from 10 meters out. The big barreling forward scored a try from the wing in the second half as well. Brooke Anderson showed off her side-stepping skills when she took a U.S. lineout ball that slipped through the jumper's fingers in for the second score. The speedy Dominique Du Toit stretched her legs into the try zone, taking advantage of a mid-field scrum that came from a U.S. error on the kickoff. Caitlin Moran hit all three conversions for the 21-0 halftime lead.

The second half looked like the first, as Shenae Ciesiolka saw a mismatch in speed against Kat Ramage and split defenders for the try (26-0). Stanford's second try came after the U.S. loss possession after the tackle and the ball worked wide quickly. Becca Jane Rosko came in for Tess Feury and showed her pace when tracking down the very fast Kellie-Marie Gibson five meters from the tryline. But the subsequent lineout was bobbled, the U.S. yielded a penalty, and Raecene McGregor used a sharp step to dive over the line. Moran finished the day with her fourth conversion for the 38-0 win.

It was a comprehensive win for the Aussies, whose lone criticism was some miscues on kickoffs. The U.S. will be battling with Spain for that fourth spot to the medal rounds. Fortunately for the Americans, Canada just beat Spain 31-0 (the U.S. had lost 19-14), so that will help from the points differential perspective.

The U.S. retake the field against China in round 4 at 4:30 a.m. ET.