USA finally grab World Cup win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

USA finally grab World Cup win

By Darren Walton 28/10/2003 05:50:27 AM Comments (0)

The United States camp breathed an immense sigh of relief after snapping the longest losing streak in Rugby World Cup finals history.

The Eagles ended a frustrating 10-game, 16-year barren run with a 39-26 denial of Japan in one of the matches of the tournament at Gosford.

"Rugby World Cup victories for the US have been hard to come by, but it hasn't been for a lack of want," said Eagles coach Tom Billups after their first RWC success since beating Japan 21-18 at Ballymore in 1987.

The star for the US was former Australian under-19 representative five-eighth Mike Hercus, who ultimately proved the difference with a try, the creation of two more and a hand in another for a personal 19-point haul.

Hercus applied the killer blow to Japan when he set up winger Riaan van Zyl for the converted try that thrust the Eagles eight points clear with just five minutes left on the clock.

"Mike is certainly a very talented footballer. He's got some unique football skills," Billups said.

Defeat for Japan - despite a brave second-half revival just four days after their physical, 41-13 loss to Fiji - consigned the Cherry Blossoms to the pool B wooden spoon.

They had enjoyed phenomenal crowd support throughout the tournament and again so at Gosford, but will leave Australia without a victory this campaign.

Japan's assistant coach, Wallabies legend Mark Ella, was philosophical in his assessment of his adopted team's showing throughout the tournament, which also included a 51-29 loss to France and 32-11 loss to Scotland.

"It's nice to be the entertainers and it's nice to get the crowd support. From the Japanese point of view, we really enjoyed the support from Australia," Ella said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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