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RUGBY

Fiji Defeats U.S. at the World Cup

October 16, 2003|From Times Wire Services

BRISBANE, Australia — Fiji staved off a late rally by the United States to win, 19-18, at the Rugby World Cup on Wednesday.

After Fiji had rallied from a 10-point deficit to take a 19-13 lead, Kort Schubert dived over in the corner for a try -- similar to a touchdown in football, worth five points -- in the final minute. But Mike Hercus missed the two-point conversion kick that would have won the game.

Hercus, who had to kick from a difficult angle about 35 yards from the goal, missed wide right.

The Americans lost their ninth straight World Cup match, a tournament record. They haven't won since defeating Japan in the inaugural World Cup in 1987.

"I think we showed we can play and physically we can match up to anybody," U.S. captain Dave Hodges said after the Fiji match.

The U.S. led for most of the game as Hercus kicked two penalty goals and winger Riaan Van Zyl scored his seventh try in eight internationals.

The U.S. team plays Scotland on Monday.

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