USA beat Russia for Bowl title
June 18, 2011
USA Eagles flanker Todd Clever dives over to score during the clash at Sixways
© Getty Images
The USA added some much-needed gloss to an otherwise disappointing Churchill Cup campaign with a 32-25 win over Russia at Sixways to claim the Bowl Final glory.
Following a dire first-half that ended with the sides locked at 8-8, both teams bounced back in the second-half to entertain the crowd in a performance which will give Eagles coach Eddie O'Sullivan some encouragement after his side shipped over 80 points against the England Saxons and over 40 against Tonga. The performance was by no means vintage from either side as both sides made a series of unenforced errors. USA fly-half Nese Malifa shone throughout and he hailed his side for their performance. "We knew Russia were going to come out hard and that we had to take the fight to them, Malifa said. "Hats off to the boys - it was a big day at the office."
Experienced centre Paul Emerick opened the scoring for the USA after 23 minutes before Vladimir Ostroushko struck back for Russia.
Russia took the initiative in the early part of the second-half through second-row Alexander Voytov running in from Alexander Sahkirov's pass, before Andrew Suniula struck back for the USA. USA captain Todd Clever ran 70 metres after intercepting a Canada pass before soon to be Saints winger Vasily Artemyev sidestepped his way to the try-line and clawed the game back to 25-25. With the game nicely poised, replacement winger Taivalu Enosa stole the headlines running in under the posts with a late try to give his side a well-deserved win.
The next time the two sides meet will be in New Plymouth, New Zealand on September 15 and Russian boss Kingsley Jones admitted: "If we could have kept hold of the ball more we could have won. USA were smarter than us at the breakdown. We are taking two steps forward and one step back but we need to take the positives out of this tournament."
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