United States beats Russia 62-13 in Summer Series test

DENVER (AP) Hooker Joe Taufete’e and winger Marcel Brache scored two tries each and the United States ran in nine tries in all to beat Russia 62-13 in a Summer Series rugby test on Saturday.

Taufete’e scored two tries in the first half and had a massive influence on the match before being replaced in the 47th minute. Brache scored on either side of halftime, including a brilliant individual try to end the first half with the United States ahead 34-13.

The former Stormers and Western Force Super Rugby player also provided a superb offload in the lead-up to a late try by Nate Augsburger.

The United States plays Scotland and Russia plays Canada next weekend and US captain Blaine Scully said in spite of the magnitude of Saturday’s scoreline his team would have to improve to be competitive against the Scots.

The Summer Series marks the start of the the United States and Russia’s build-up towards next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

”I’m pretty happy with the performance tonight,” Scully said. ”I think we have a lot to improve on but this is a good play to start in summer.

”We’ll look at the tape and see what we have to do. We have a lot of areas of growth in our own game and we know how good Scotland is. They’re a top-five team in the world so we’re going to need to be switched on in just about every area from breakdown to kick-chase to when we get our opportunities we have to take something with it.”

Russia scored first on Saturday and was competitive for most of the first half. But the United States had a constant supply of possession which put Russia under steady defensive pressure and fatigue hit the visitors as they coped with the heat and altitude in Denver.

”The heat and altitude was a bit of a factor,” Russia captain Vasily Artemyev said. ”We started pretty well but we found it hard to maintain the pace we started at.

”Our forwards struggled to keep up the pace and phases in attack, we started to make small mistakes and the USA capitalized well on those mistakes. We had a tough second half of the first period and we found it hard at the end of the game and let in a few soft tries.”

Winger Mikhail Babaev scored the opening try of the match and gave Russia an early 7-0 lead.

The hosts equalized with the first of Taufete’s tries as the powerful hooker drove over from close range. A try to flanker John Quill gave the United States its first lead at 12-10 after 19 minutes and center Paul Lasike made in 19-10 after 23 minutes.

Russia hung in with penalties to Urii Kushnarev before Taufete’s second try and Brache’s first blew the game open. Taufete’e ranged up wide in the backline in the 37th minute and scored with a winger in support. Brache then pulled off the best try of the match, fetching a box kick and dashing 70 meters on a weaving run to the line.

Brache scored again in the first minute of the second half and the United States led 41-13. Tries followed too Ausburger, backrower Cam Dolan and Scully as the home team took complete control.