Wales crash out of the World Cup
03rd November 2013, 15:49
WALES 16 USA 24
By Ian Golden at The Racecourse
Wales crashed out of Rugby League World Cup 2013 with a disappointing performance in Wrexham, losing 16-24 to outsiders USA.
The game was played in front of a crowd of 8,019, the second biggest rugby league crowd ever at The Racecourse, being the opening Crusaders game here in 2010, and the biggest crowd for any sport at the ground this year.
The record Welsh win of all time is a 92-4 demolition of USA back in 1995 but on this occasion they didn’t recreate the spark that would have been shown on that college field in Philadelphia.
USA, who fielded a mixture of American born and heritage players, including five players from the US domestic leagues and four NRL players, simply took their chances when it was required and are now hot favourites to meet the Australians back at The Racecourse in the quarter-finals in a fortnight’s time.
The first real attack of the game for Wales saw them close to scoring. Matt Seamark launched a hopeful bomb over to the right wing, Elliot Kear palmed the ball down to Ian Webster but the US defence was too strong on this occasion.
Following an, in general, first 15 minutes of errors, Wales took the lead after an excellent move down the left wing. Neil Budworth slipped the ball to Rhys Williams who in turn fed Christiaan Roets who to the delight of his home North Wales Crusaders fans, completed the move. Lloyd White missed the conversion.
But from a penalty, USA struck back when Clint Newton dived over from close range. Joseph Paulo shockingly missed from just right of the sticks and the score remained at 4-4.
Wales had the chances to take the lead but they didn’t have that final execution to be able to cross the line – Rhys Evans and Matt Seamark making forward passes at crucial moments were two chances that they blew.
The visitors took advantage and again Paulo was the instigator as slick passing gave Matt Peterson a chance to score in the corner, one he didn’t waste. Paulo’s kick was again no good and the States were 8-4 up at the break.
Wales needed a good start to the second half and they fought hard for a try back. However USA were more than matching everything the Welsh threw at them. Even after winning a repeat set Wales couldn’t touch down, Lloyd White being held up over the line on the final play.
Less than two minutes later and again Wales won a repeat set and yet again they didn’t get through despite some stand-out play from Rhys Evans. In the end, Matt Seamark failed to spot an in-space Elliot Kear on the right wing.
But Evans couldn’t continue his good performance at the other end. Dropping a high bomb five metres from his own line gave the US possession which they didn’t waste. Haveatama Luani set up Paulo who had plenty of space to score. The kick was again missed but Wales now needed two tries.
It wasn’t going to happen as USA continued to dominate. Tuisegasega Samoa was next over the line, crashing from short range after fooling the Welsh defence and Paulo’s first successful kick made the score 18-4.
Clint Newton put a rubber stamp on the game by scoring the State’s next try four minutes later. Paulo converted to give the US a 20-point lead.
Wales had some consolation when the always skilful Roets, who looks certain to flourish in the Championship next year, ran well to score his and the side’s second. Lloyd White converted to put Wales’ score into double figures.
Debutant Anthony Walker latched onto Peter Lupton’s kick for a Welsh third which White again goaled but it was nowhere near enough.
1 Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves)
2 Elliot Kear (Bradford Bulls)
3 Ian Webster (Central Queensland Capras)
4 Christiaan Roets (North Wales Crusaders)
5 Rhys Williams (Warrington Wolves)
6 Lloyd White (Widnes Vikings)
7 Matt Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls)
8 Craig Kopczak (Huddersfield Giants)
9 Neil Budworth (Moranbah Moners)
10 Jordan James (Salford Red Devils)
11 Larne Patrick (Huddersfield Giants)
12 Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)
13 Ben Flower (Wigan Warriors)
14 Gil Dudson (Wigan Warriors)
15 Ben Evans (Bradford Bulls)
16 Peter Lupton (Workington Town)
17 Anthony Walker (St Helens)
Tries: Roets (16, 75), Walker (77)
Goals: White 2/3
1 Kristian Freed (Connecticut Wildcats)
2 Bureta Faraimo (MacKay Cutters)
3 Lelauloto Tagaloa (Hawaii Chiefs)
4 Taylor Welch (Chicago Griffins)
5 Matthew Petersen (Cudgen Hornets)
6 Joseph Paulo (Parramatta Eels)
7 Craig Preistly (Southampton Dragons, USA)
8 Mark Offerdahl (AS Carcassonne)
9 Haveatama Luani (Wests Tigers)
10 Eddy Pettybourne (Wests Tigers)
11 Clint Newton (Penrith Panthers)
12 Matthew Shipway (Newcastle South)
13 Daniel Howard (Wentworthville Magpies)
14 Tuisegasega Samoa (Redcliffe Dolphins)
15 Roman Hifo (Mangere East Hawks)
16 Judah Lavulo (Carbamatta)
17 Les Soloai (Portland Hunters)
Tries: Newton (20, 63), Peterson (33), Paulo (55), Samoa (60)
Goals: Paulo 2/5
Referee: Ben Cummins (Australia)