venue: Hodges Field, Jacksonville
20th November 2010
Full Match Report
HOTELS OF JACKSONVILLE ATLANTIC CUP 2010
The USA won the 2010 Atlantic Cup with a convincing 46-12 victory over Canada Saturday in Jacksonville, FL. In the end it was nine tries to two after the Tomahawks had built a commanding 24-0 halftime lead. Halfback Damien O’Malveney bagged a hat-trick for the US, while teammates Nate Smith and Kenny Britt each scored doubles. The two other tries were scored by Sione Taufa and Mike Cartwright.
Smith also went 6-from-8 on conversions. Five-eighth Brent Shorten took the final kick at goal. In front of 2800 excited fans at Hodges Stadium it took just three minutes for the home team to get on the board when Shorten sent O’Malveney into a gap from close range to dot down to the right of the posts.
Canada, which played with heart for the entire 80 minutes, managed to hold its own for the next quarter of an hour before Hawaiian youngster Taufa finished off a raid down the right flank to score the USA’s second try. From that point on, the Tomahawks scored at regular intervals to tally five first half tries.
They kept their foot on the gas in the second frame and Britt notched the first of his two tries only five minutes in when he was the beneficiary of another nicely timed pass from Shorten that put him into a gaping hole. Twelve minutes later, Britt got his second score to extend the American lead to 36-0.
The main difference on the day was that the USA was able to complete its sets and almost every time the Tomahawks got into the red zone they came away with points. Conversely, the Canadians would work themselves into strong attacking positions only to knock-on when they were looking to take advantage of their momentum. It was just on the three quarter mark when O’Malveney again found himself on the end of a perfectly timed pass by Shorten that sent him to the try zone untouched, giving the Tomahawks a 42-0 lead.
“Unbelievable, unbelievable mate. You can’t explain the feeling,” O’Malveney told WeAreRugby when asked about his hat-trick. “I’m grateful for the opportunity. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. It’s a really good feeling.”
Things finally went Canada’s way in the 65th minute when fullback Robin Legault picked off a US pass a few meters from his own line and raced 80 meters down field. He was tracked down by Britt, but eventually Legault got the ball over the line to get the score that avoided the goose egg. Adam Moody kicked the extras.
Cartwright got the final score for the US when he broke a would-be tackle close in and crashed over the line. Then in the dying minutes, Legault intercepted another American pass inside the US half, toed it through and won the foot race to the ball in the in-goal for the final score of the game. He converted his own try to close out the scoring.
“It was a tough effort, the USA came out very strong and we just couldn’t compete with them throughout the match, but the boys stuck at it,” said Canadian captain Jamie Lester. “It was disappointing with the scoreline, but what can I say, we’ve come a long way in one year.”
American second-rower Matt Clark was put on report by referee Phil Bentham for a dangerous tackle late in the game and was then given a yellow card inside the final minute after another infringement around the ruck. In the end, the Tomahawks were deserved winners in retaining the Atlantic Cup that they won in 2009 and now look ahead to a Test against Ireland in Philadelphia in March 2011.
O’Malveney was named the tournament’s MVP, captain Apple Pope was named the US player of the tournament, Legault and Jamain Wray won the Canadian and Jamaican players of the tournament honors respectively.