Eagles’ comeback vs. Romania falls short 27-25
The U.S. team in the Rugby World Cup rallied from a 10-point deficit before falling short 27-25 against Romania Saturday night in Dublin.
Brian Hightower of the Gentlemen of Aspen scored a try for the United States on a weak-side run down the sidelines, bulling over the try line.
Alec Parker, another Gentlemen of Aspen and a former standout athlete at Aspen High School, also played a key role in the second row for the United States. He and teammate Luke Gross combined on a pair of lineout steals that were crucial in the U.S. rally, according to Internet reports on the game.
Behind two tries from Gheorghe Solomie, Romania led 27-17 before a Kevin Dalzell penalty kick and an unconverted try to fullback Kurt Shuman pulled the United States within two in the 77th minute.
A fast Eagle attack moved the ball from inside the U.S. 22 to within meters of the Romanian goal.
But with a scrum near the Romanian line, the Eagles could not clear the ball from the base of the scrum and time was whistled.
Scrumhalf Dalzell opened the scoring for the U.S. with an early penalty kick.
Romania answered with a try from winter Solomie. Lyle injured U.S. captain Dan Lyle, the former NFL tight end and one-time Gentleman of Aspen, crashed over for a try – but a costly one.
The flanker and professional player with the Bath club in England suffered a separated shoulder on the play and left the game (with a 10-5 halftime score).
Hightower’s try early in the second then started a flurry of scoring, including a try by Romanian captain and lock Tudor Constantin.
Scrumhalf Petre Mitu added a penalty kick before flanker Alain Petrache scored the final try for Romania.
The U.S. then initiated its furious comeback, triggered by Parker and Gross swiping Romanian lineouts. Flyhalf David Niu dash through the defense to set up a try by Shuman in the corner.
But Dalzell’s sideline conversion attempt sailed wide, leaving the U.S. two points down with five minutes remaining.
One last U.S. charge included Vaea Anitoni, who captured a Niu kick ahead to push the Eagles deep into Romanian territory.
After the loss, the U.S. will prepare for a huge test on Thursday – Australia.
The Eagle’s final pool play contest will send them against the Rugby World Cup co-favorite Wallabees in Limerick. Other scores In other action over the weekend, Australia rolled past Ireland 13-3 in the U.S. pool.
And New Zealand beat England 30-16 in another feature march.
Here are other weekend scores:
Wales 64, Japan 15
South Africa 47, Spain 3
Fiji 38, Canada 22
France 47, Namibia 13
Scotland 43, Uraguay 12
Argentina 32, Samoa 16
Tonga 28, Italy 25
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