Wales rue missed opportunities as USA win yet again

Clint Newton

They seem to be the surprise packet of the competition and they have won yet another game, as the USA Tomahawks proved to be too good for the Welsh rugby league side, winning 24-16 in their World Cup clash overnight.

In front of a crowd of just over 8,000 at Wrexham, it was the USA who performed well enough to win, as the Welsh have now lost both games in the tournament.

For coach Iestyn Harris, he believes missed opportunities are what cost his side – and badly, as Wales will be playing for pride in their final pool clash with the Cook Islands.

“It’s a bad result but as the World Cup has shown, I don’t think you can tag anybody as a bad team because come the World Cup, they come from all over the world,” Harris said.

“There wasn’t one USA man in the whole squad. There’s a lot of Australian-based players in there who are of a very good quality.”

Things started well for the Welsh, as Christiaan Roets crossed for the first of his two tries but the USA ensured it was all one-way traffic after that, as they scored 24 unanswered points.

Despite a late rally by the Welsh side, it was not enough, with Harris saying that wrong decisions and a lack of execution costing his side.

“We had probably 20 or 25 opportunities in the game to score points,” Harris said.”We took a lot of wrong options, a lot of our decision-making wasn’t on and ultimately it’s come down to the fact that we haven’t hit the best of us.

“We’re not a good enough side to be at 50-60 per cent and expect to win games. We weren’t anywhere near where we needed to be. We didn’t deserve to win.

“The USA were dogged and they stayed with us. It was up to us to put that game to bed and we weren’t good enough.”

It was another man-of-the-match performance from Joseph Paulo who was again instrumental, as veteran back-rower Clint Newton also shone with a double.

For American coach Terry Matterson, he is thrilled with the way his side are playing and was pleased with the performance.

“I’m really proud,” said Matterson.

“I didn’t know these guys until two weeks ago and they’ve worked really hard in that time.

“We’ve been given a really tough draw. We had to back up after four days so we had one captain’s run yesterday and we’ve got the same again.

“To come here against a good Welsh team with everything to play for. They were playing for their World Cup and threw everything at us.

With a few things to work on and a big game against Scotland, it is one that the Americans are looking forward to.

“Defensively, I thought we were outstanding. There were a couple of blips at the end but I can forgive that,” said Matterson.

“It was an outstanding performance, the boys keep defying belief to be honest. We’ll keep our heads down and keep working hard and worry about the next game against Scotland.”

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