Source: Travis Prior

Super Series Round Four USA v Canada – Hideously close – again!

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Quite astonishingly, the second game of the day finished with exactly the same score and the same electric tension!

But this time it was the underdogs who turned the tables. The USA came on strong in the last quarter to overcome a Canadian lead that had lasted for seventy minutes.

The Maple Leafs took control from the start. they were well organised and mixed direct assault with dangerous moves out wide.

Their first try by DeMerchant came after a TMO verdict, converted by Sophie DeGoede.

Alev Kelter reduced the gap with a penalty. 7-3, but another fine drive by the Canadians gave DeMerchant her second offering of the day. 12-3

When DeGoede added a penalty 15-3, it looked as though the Maple Leafs were moving beyond reach, but from then on they found further scoring difficult. This was due as much to American defiance and skill as any weakness in the Canadian processes.

Emily Henrich sent the hosts into the break in fine fettle: her burst to the left corner left them only 7 points adrift.

Half-time 18-8

Almost impossible to explain how Canada failed to put a single point on the board after the turn-round but American tackling, covering and counter-attacking grew stronger and stronger. They were helped immensely by the introduction of Hope Rogers to the front row. The Canadian pack had been in complete command at the set-scrums; now the hosts hurled them back to gain territory and one-upmanship more easily.

The big swing came late in the game. First Kelter side-stepped and accelerated through to score as she has done so many times on the Sevens field.

Then, nine minutes from time, the Americans put together another wonderful attack. To finish it off, Katana Howard delivered a last cross-kick of the day to be caught by Kris Thomas wide on the right. She had just enough room to dot it down in the corner. Unbridled delight for the team in white!

So the USA broke their duck and deserved to. They showed huge heart and resilience while the Maple Leafs were lording it over them for long periods. Then they had the skill to score two fine tries to tip the balance.

It was their first win over their neighbours for four years, their first win of 2019 and ties up the long series of North American contests 19-19.

Result: USA 20 Canada 18

Player of the Match: Emily Henrich

Referee: Rebecca Mahoney

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