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USA Dominantes to Win La Vila International Cup

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USA Dominantes to Win La Vila International Cup

The USA team is all smiles after beating Spain.

The USA Men’s Eagles won the La Vila International Rugby Cup, clinching the trophy with a 42-12 final win over hosts Spain. 

Led by captain Nate Brakeley, who had announced his retirement from international rugby, the Eagles overcame a shaky start Saturday to control the match. Chris Mattina, who was strong in support and from the boot, scored five points from a conversion and a penalty goal, earned himself Player of the Match honors. 

“Happy for the men that we were able to show improvement again over the previous week, and a big credit to the assistant coaches for preparing them and Alex Ross in getting us to a level of conditioning that we need to be to play in zero G," said Interim Head Coach Scott Lawrence.

Spain had the early advantage when the Eagles conceded a penalty, and Los Leones opted for goal. They missed, however, giving the Eagles a chance to respond. Both sides had chances to made inroads but their opportunities fell away, fumbling the ball with missed passes and knock-ons. But the USA kept up their drive, using kicking to their advantage. 

No one scored for the first 15 minutes until Spain finally capitalized on a long kick downfield and Matt Foulds went on to score; Iñaki Mateu converted and it was 7-0. The Eagles worked to get back into scoring position and when Spain infringed Luky Carty punished them for two penalty goals.

The remainder of the first half continued to be a scramble on both sides, and it remained 7-6 for Spain until just before the break. The Eagles set a nice maul and worked the phases that set up Bick McCarthy to go through a fap.

The Eagles looked more organized and dominant as the game went on, trying to control the ball and keep the lead. The kicking game continued, with the wind knocking a few off course. USA vice captain Nate Augspurger took advantage of a bad pass by Spain and grabbed the ball to run it in untouched. That made it 20-7 with Carty's conversion, but Spain immediately responded by  blocking a kick and Mario Pichardie over, but that would be their last try for the remainder of the game.

Uo 20-12, the USA controlled the rest of the second half Dylan Fawsitt scored through a driving maul off a lineout.  There followed a penalty try—Joe Mano tried to scoop up a loose ball and go over. He was stopped by the referee later ruled he had been constructions and whistled for a penalty try. Mano did in face finally get his try when defensive pressure forced a turnover and the wing swooped in to score.

The final minutes of the match saw Thomas Tu’avao off the field with a yellow card but the USA still extended their lead with a Chris Mattina penalty goal. to seal it 42-12.

This was a nice end to what has been a tough couple of years for the USA team. While this was "just" a tournament of teams that didn't qualify for the Rugby World Cup, at leas tthe USA won, and won in emphatic fashion.

USA 42
Tries: McCarthy, Augspurger, Fawsitt, Mano, Penalty Try
Convs: Carty 2, Mattina, Penatly Try
Pens: Carty 2, Mattina

Spain 12
Tries: Foulds, Pichardie
Convs: Mateu