Captain Jones injured in Wales win
June 6, 2009
Wales captain Ryan Jones injured in win over United States
© Getty Images
Wales rounded off their summer tour with a rousing 48-15 win over the USA in Chicago despite captain Ryan Jones needing treatment for a head injury.
Jones had to go off after 20 minutes following a clash in the first minute involving Will Johnson, the Eagles prop. Robin McBryde, the acting coach of Wales, said afterwards it was too early to guage the severity of the injury to the No 8.
McBryde said: "He had a pretty fair clout on his head and we gave him time to try to get over it but unfortunately he wasn't able to."
He described his side's performance as similar to last week's 32-23 win over Canada. "We were hoping for a little bit more accuracy, for them to be more clinical than what we were and perhaps, looking back, I'm being a bit tough on the boys because of the changes we had to make because of injury.
"On the positive side of things, the boys that came on and played in those positions were fantastic, especially someone like Sam Warburton."
McBryde had opted for experience for the final match of their North American tour with Dwayne Peel, Nicky Robinson, Mark Jones, Ian Gough and Gareth Williams all starting. Chris Czekaj and Bradley Davies missed out through injury while the uncapped Warburton was among the substitutes along with Luke Charteris, who flew out this week as a replacement for Davies.
Former Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan, in charge of the Eagles for only the second time, could name only two professionals - Saracens duo Chris Wyles and Hayden Smith - in his line-up.
Wales had expected a physical encounter with the Americans, just as they had experienced against Canada and they got it early when Johnson landed a big hit on Jones in the opening minute.
Jones needed a lengthy spell of treatment before returning to the action. He was still in trouble though, and twice needed further attention before being forced to leave the field in the 20th minute, giving Warburton his first cap.
By then Wales were on top at 13-3, thanks to two opening penalties from Nicky Robinson, Gavin Debartolo replying for USA, and a try. Mark Jones finished off a move started by Deiniol Jones off a ruck. Robinson added the conversion to send Wales 13-3 up.
It got better for Wales moments later when Robinson collected from scrum-half Peel and chipped over the top, collecting the ball and offloading on the halfway line for outside centre Jonathan Davies to run in for his first international try. Robinson again converted to leave Wales 20-3 ahead.
There was more collateral damage, though, as flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor joined fellow back rower Jones on the bench after tweaking a hamstring. Reserve hooker Richard Hibbard was sent on at blindside with Warburton already at openside, Dafydd Jones having taken over at number eight when Jones went off. It made for a very unfamiliar back row, with prop Duncan Jones taking over the captaincy.
American zeal strayed over into indiscipline when back row Louis Stanfill was sin-binned by referee Matt Goddard for bringing down a maul. And a minute later the Australian official awarded a penalty try to Wales when Dafydd Jones was denied a try as the Wales pack pushed over, Eagles back rowers Peter Dahl and Nic Johnson went deliberately offside to prevent the touchdown.
Robinson converted from in front of the posts and Wales went in at the break 27-3 up and well in control.
Former Dragons and Leeds fly-half Mike Hercus replaced Ata Malifa at half-time while Wales rejigged their pack further in the 49th minute with Craig Mitchell replacing tighthead prop John Yapp and Charteris coming on for Gough in the second row. The USA had lost 27-10 to Ireland in California last Sunday and there was still life in the Eagles in Chicago as they nullified the Welsh threat and started to gain territory of their own.
Their reward came in the 53rd minute when centre Alipate Tuilvuka crashed through tackles from substitute lock Charteris and Peel to give the USA their first try of the game. Debartolo added the conversion and Wales' lead had been cut to 17 points at 27-10. Jonathan Spratt came off the Wales bench for fullback Daniel Evans and nearly had a hand in a fourth try for the tourists only for his pass outside to Tom James, who subsequently went over the line, to be ruled forward.
James did get his try four minutes later, pouncing on a ball that ricocheted off his boot near the USA 22 to pick up on the tryline and touch down. Robinson converted with his last kick of the game before making way for Dan Biggar at fly-half with the score 34-10.
Cooper replaced James and he got on the scoresheet when Biggar kicked ahead, the 30-year-old scrum-half beating the 19-year-old fly-half to the ball to touch down - much to his amusement. Biggar kicked the conversion as Wales moved 41-10 ahead. Jonathan Davies added his second try of the afternoon with two minutes to go, Biggar converting again for another perfect outing from the Wales kickers.
The Americans, building for a World Cup qualifying tie with Canada next month, added their second try in the final minute when sub JJ Gagliano got over the line, referee Goddard having the score confirmed by video review. Debartolo missed the conversion with the final act of the game.
USA: Chris Wyles (Saracens), Gavin DeBartalo (Eastern Suburbs), Alipate Tuilevuka (Provo Steelers), Roland Suniula (Pearl City), Kevin Swiryn (Old Puget Sound Beach), Ata Malifa (Belmont Shore RFC), Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club); Matekitonga Moeakiola (Park City Haggis), Chris Biller (California), Will Johnson (Oxford University), John Van Der Giessen (Denver Barbarians), Hayden Smith (Saracens), Louis Stanfill (New York Athletic Club), Peter Dahl (Belmont Shore), Nic Johnson (Denver Barbarians).
Replacements: Brian McClanahan (Olympic Club), Mike MacDonald (Leeds Carnegie), Courtney Mackay (Counties Manukau), JJ Gagiani (Univ. of Cape Town), Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC), Mike Hercus (Sunshine Coast Stingrays), Junior Sifa (Midleton RFC)
Wales: Daniel Evans; Mark Jones, Jonathan Davies, Andrew Bishop, Tom James; Nicky Robinson, Dwayne Peel; Duncan Jones, Gareth Williams, John Yapp, Ian Gough, Deiniol Jones, Dafydd Jones, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Ryan Jones
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Craig Mitchell, Luke Charteris, Sam Warburton, Gareth Cooper, Daniel Biggar, Jonathan Spratt
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?