USA Sneak Past Canada On Last Minute Drop Goal



Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)   Story by Matt Tidcombe (Rugby Canada)

August 3, 2015 Burnaby, BC – AJ MacGinty hit a drop goal in the 80th minute as the USA edged Canada 15-13 at the Pacific Nations Cup Monday in Burnaby, British Columbia.

USA’s AJ MacGinty’s drop kick with seconds remaining would give the USA the 5th place win over Canada at the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup Monday. MaGinty would score all USA points in the game. – Erich Eichhorn image (

Canada had gone ahead in the 71st minute as Nick Blevins pierced through the USA backline and ran over half the field for his second try in as many matches. Liam Underwood converted giving Canada a 13-12 lead.


Fans would erupt as Canada’s Nick Blevins would score the only try in the game to give Canada the late lead – Erich Eichhorn image (
However, USA got within the 22 meter line, slowly inching towards the line before setting up MacGinty who connected to give the USA a fifth place finish at the Pacific Nations Cup.
“It’s another disappointing loss for us,” Canada captain Aaron Carpenter said. “We gave a full performance but I think we stopped playing a little bit at the end there. We let them come at us and we played scared at the end because we’ve lost a couple of tight games in the last couple of outings … test matches evolve around small little things.


Canada’s Ciaran Hearn ( playing with Oak Bay’s Castaway Wanderer’s ) plays the chip and chase game against USA’s Chris Wyles – Erich Eichhorn image (
“We used this tournament to build and there’s a lot of pieces in the right place. There’s a lot of competition for places and no ones spot is guaranteed.”
Canada lost Wednesday night to Samoa on a last minute try in Toronto and suffered a similar fate on Monday.
“We just weren’t good enough,” Canada head coach Kieran Crowley said. “They had three yellow cards and we couldn’t capitalize. It’s pretty disappointing.”


Liam Underwood was succesfull on a conversion and two penalty kicks to account for most of Canada’s scoring in the game – Erich Eichhorn image (

Canada went ahead only four minutes in as Underwood slotted home a penalty but MacGinty responded with a penalty of his own in the 11th minute. He gave the USA a 6-3 lead in the 22nd minute and minutes later was into Canadian territory as he broke through the line. However, Greg Peterson was sin binned at the end of the play but MacGinty wasn’t deterred as he kicked his third penalty of the game to make it 9-3 in the 25th minute.
John Moonlight joined Peterson in the bin a couple of minutes later and Canada went on the attack but couldn’t find a way through the stingy US defense and MacGinty added a fourth penalty before the interval to make it 12-3 USA.


John Moonlight takes the ball away on a perfectly timed jump against hisUSA opponent – Erich Eichhorn image (
“AJ has been playing great for us,” USA captain Chris Wyles said. “He showed a lot of composure with that drop goal and his game management has been superb. He’s a great kicker and a real asset. I’m really excited about him growing in this role with us.”
Canada got the first points of the second half as Underwood converted a penalty that had been set up by a blazing Carpenter run and minutes later USA were down to 10 men again in the 49th minute as Danny Barrett went to the bin for a hit on Jeff Hassler. MacGinty was next to go to the sin bin in the 63rd minute and despite having a man advantage for the majority of a 20-minute stretch, Canada couldn’t capitalize until the final minute of MacGinty’s yellow card as Blevins dived over.


Connor Trainor of Canada battles for the free ball against USA – Erich Eichhorn image (
The two sides have met more than 50 times, with Canada holding a 38-14-1 record over their rivals south of the border.
Monday’s match was the first of two straight meetings between the two sides as they are set to face off again on August 22nd in Ottawa.


Canada’s Jeff Hassler was voted Man of the Match for his relentless play on the field against the USA – Erich Eichhorn image (
“We’ve built on everything and gone forward,” Crowley said of Canada’s PNC campaign. “We’d like to have at least got one result go our way. We’ve had a couple of [one, two point] losses and we’ve got to win those games.”

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