USA down Wallaroos after second half comeback in Melbourne

Fri, May 17, 2024, 8:22 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Tania Naden rolls over for the Wallaroos first try of 2024

The USA have produced a strong second half comeback to down the Wallaroos 32-25 in Melbourne.

Jo Yapp's side came out to a flying start, racing out to a 17-3 lead after 30 minutes.

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However, the Americans kept themselves in the fight with a try just before the break, kicking on in the second half.

Prop Hope Rogers was damaging, barging over for a double to level the scores.

Two further tries gave them a late lead, holding on for the victory.

The Australians were quick out of the blocks as Georgina Friedrichs burst through the line, drawing the fullback for Desiree Miller to open her try account in Test Rugby.

The Americans responded with a penalty through Gabby Cantorna, making up for an earlier miss before the damaging left hand side of the Wallaroos’ attack struck again through Ash Marsters.

Marsters, who usually plays centre for the Rebels, showed her explosiveness to beat her defender and step past the fullback to score at her home venue.

The Australians controlled the first half as their backline caused havoc to start the game.

Winger Maya Stewart was denied a try for a Marsters pull back but the speedster didn’t have to wait long for another chance when the combination of Marsters and Friedrichs put her one-on-one with the fullback, palming them off for a nice try.

Needing a spark, the Americans went to their rolling maul and found success via Kathryn Treder.

The boot of Arabella McKenzie gave the Aussies a 12-point lead heading into the break but the Eagles’ comeback continued as their maul provided an unstoppable weapon.

It allowed them to dominate territory for the start of the second half, with Hope Rogers scoring a quick double to level the scores with half an hour to go. 

Piper Duck proved the spark for the Australians, bursting through the hole to put Friedrichs over for a deserved try.

But as soon as they struck, the Americans had an answer as Lotte Clapp sliced through off the short ball to put the USA in front.

The Americans maintained their pressure and extended their lead when Atumata Hingano dived over in the corner.

The Wallaroos hunted for the levelling try and Layne Morgan went close, only to be held up just over the line.

The Eagles were able to control the game from here through the forwards, erupting into celebration as they kept their WXV 1 dreams alive.

"It was a game of two halves - in the first half we showed a big improvement from last week and we were playing the way we wanted to play," Yapp said post-match.

"Second half we just didn't get a good foot-hold early on and we didn't exit cleanly, and unfortunately we ended up chasing the game.

"These are tough lessons to learn."

WALLAROOS 25

Tries: Miller, Marsters, Stewart, Friedrichs

Cons: McKenzie 1/4

Pens: McKenzie 2/2

USA 32

Tries: Treder, Rogers 2, Clapp, Hingano

Cons: Cantorna 2/4, Hawkins 0/1

Pens: Cantorna 1/2

WALLAROOS v USA TEAMS

WALLAROOS (1-15): Brianna Hoy, Tania Naden, Eva Karpani, Kaitlan Leaney, Michaela Leonard (c), Siokapesi Palu, Ashley Marsters, Piper Duck, Samantha Wood, Arabella McKenzie, Desiree Miller, Trilleen Pomare, Georgina Friedrichs, Maya Stewart, Caitlyn Halse

RESERVES: Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke, Sally Fuesaina, Bride O'Gorman, Atasi Lafai, Leilani Nathan, Layne Morgan, Faitala Moleka, Lori Cramer

USA (1-15): Hope Rogers, Kathryn Treder, Charli Jacoby, Hallie Taufoou, Erica Jarrell, Kate Zachary (c), Georgie Perris-Redding, Rachel Johnson, Olivia Ortiz, McKenzie Hawkins, Lotte Clapp, Gabby Cantorna, Atumata Hingano, Bulou Mataitoga, Tess Fuery

RESERVES: Paige Stathopoulos, Alivia Leatherman, Keia Mae Sagapolu, Rachel Ehrecke, Freda Tafuna, Taina Tukuafu, Katana Howard, Emily Henrich

Referee: Maggie Cogger-Orr

Assistant Referees: Natarsha Ganley and Chloe Sampson

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