United States beats Canada 20-15 in World Cup warm-up

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              Canada's Gordon McRorie throws United States' Nate Augspurgeer, top, to the ground during the first half of a rugby match in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Winger Martin Iosefo scored a match-winning try with nine minutes remaining as the United States rallied from 12-0 down to beat Canada 20-15 Saturday in the final match for both teams before the Rugby World Cup.

Canada made a fast start, scoring tries through Gordon McRorie and Peter Nelson to lead 12-0 after 16 minutes. They held on under concerted pressure to lead 12-10 at halftime and 15-10 early in the second half before the United States drew level with a try to hooker Dylan Fawsitt.

Iosefo latched onto an offload and beat the defense to score the winning try in the 71st minute, allowing the 13th-ranked Eagles to continue a six-year winning streak over 21st-ranked Canada. The United States won 47-19 when the teams last met during this season’s Pacific Nations Cup.

While Canada was close to full strength Saturday, the United States fielded a largely second-string lineup to rest players who will likely take part in its first World Cup match. Eagles captain Blaine Scully played his 50th test.

Canada opened the scoring after only four minutes when scrumhalf McRorie skirted the defense after a breakdown turnover for a try converted by flyhalf Peter Nelson,

Nelson scored himself in the 16th minute when Canada quickly tapped a lineout penalty. The try was closely scrutinized by the television referee before being awarded.

Flyhalf Will Magie put the United States on the board with a penalty in the 22nd minute and back rower Cam Dolan touched down from an attacking scrum to cut Canada’s lead to two points at halftime.

Nelson expanded the lead to five points with a penalty after two minutes of the second half but Canada found its lead under siege from an improved United States team.

Fawsitt came off the bench and almost immediately scored the try that tied the scores and after several close calls Iosefo crossed for the winning score.

The United States then had to endure considerable pressure near its own line before holding on for the win.

“I think we were below our best today,” United States head coach Gary Gold said. “I’m disappointed about that but really, really encouraged by the courage we showed to fight back after being 12-0 down.

“That’s important going into the Rugby World Cup if you’ve got the courage to know how to win.”

Both teams now head to Japan for the World Cup where Canada will face Italy in its opening pool match on Sept. 26 and the United States will play England on the same day.

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