Cima, Germishuys propel USA to comeback win against Uruguay in World Rugby U20 Trophy match

HARARE, Zimbabwe - It wasn't always pretty, but the AIG Men's Junior All Americans closed out their trip through Zimbabwe with a dramatic comeback victory against Uruguay, winning 32-30 in extra time. Set up by a Uruguay red card, the USA's Ben Cima once again proved how dangerous his leg is by nailing a 45-meter penalty kick for the victory.

After playing three hard-fought matches in under two weeks, you might think fatigue would play a part in the USA's World Rugby U20 Trophy fifth-place match. That was not the case from the start however, as both teams came out showing off great speed and tough running in a first half that featured 42 total points scored.

Uruguay came out kicking early in the match, with fullback Pablo Zeballos notching a perfect kick-and-chase try in the opening ten minutes. Los Teros of Uruguay showed flash and finesse throughout the first half, using their feet to setup near tries that often were a fingertip away from being successful.

While Uruguay showcased their finesse, the U.S. showed their strength through the first 40 minutes. Down 6-0, the U.S. mounted a strong push completing multiple phases of tough, hard running. Captain Hanco Germishuys had the crowd at Harare Sports Club in awe as he sent a Uruguay defender tumbling to the ground with a strong stiff arm. The barreling run ended in six as the captain stepped over the fallen Uruguay defender, dotting down under the posts. A subsequent Cima conversion would give the U.S. their first lead at 8-6.

Each team would go on to trade blows; both Uruguay's Sebastian Pfeiff and the USA's Ben Cima scored tries of their own, each in quick succession. Neither side seemed to show any sign of slowing down with explosive running and tackling coming in spades. Tied 14-14 and with only ten minutes remaining in the first half, it appeared the U.S. could potentially head into half with the lead. More bruising running brought the U.S. to within meters of a try, and Malon Al-Jibori would eventual cap the run by carrying two defenders with him into the corner to take a 20-14 lead.

Uruguay kept to the theme of the match however, and would not be upstaged. Scrumhalf Lucas Duran put on some fancy running to split U.S. defenders and tie the game at 20-20. A subsequent conversion as the first half horn blew had Uruguay leading at the end of 40 minutes by score of 22-20.

In the second half, it appeared the match would pick up right where it left off. Guillermo Willamson kicked off the second half by speeding past multiple US defenders for a long run before offloading to wing Martin Fitipaldo kicked off the scoring for Uruguay after.

The match would go on to become a tale of two halves as neither side could continue their torrid pace in the final 40 minutes. Knock-ons plagued the USA and Uruguay with each team squandering successful runs toward the try line.

Despite coming close on numerous occasions, the US could not seem to break past the Uruguay defense when only meters out. It wasn't until the 70th minute that this trend would change. Ruben de Haas, on as a sub, found Ben Cima in the middle of the field for a quick pass. Feeling the defender lunging toward him, Cima was able to tap the pass immediately to Duncan Van Schalkwyk who pushed forward for the try. Following the conversion, the USA found themselves trailing 30-28 with minutes to play.

The USA continued their hard running and again forced their way down toward the try line. It was around this time that the U.S.'s hard-nosed style was starting to get to Uruguay. Letting emotions get the best of them, both teams would receive warnings from the referee. It was Uruguay however who would let the mental errors ruin them. A Uruguay penalty in the 80th minute would go on to setup a Cima penalty that would tie the match 30-30 and force extra time.

After back and forth play, the USA would make a strong run that looked like it could result in points. Another costly knock on would seem to derail those hopes, but play would be stopped as the touch judge cited Uruguay for an off-camera, and well behind the play punch. With a penalty set 45-meters out, the USA would elect to go for points and the win.

Those who watched the USA defeat Canada in the waning seconds of their U20 Trophy qualifying match in February remember that these types of kicks aren't out of reach for Ben Cima. With a hopeful crowd of U.S. supporters looking on, Cima kept his cool and nailed the long-distance kick to give his side the lead and victory.

AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | v. Uruguay

1. Sam Benkowski

2. Steven Branham

3. Mason Pedersen

4. Bronson Teles

5. Deven Marshall

6. Malon Al-Jiboori

7. Brennan Falcon

8. Hanco Germishuys (C)

9. Louis Mulholland

10. Ben Cima

11. Devin Lim

12. Duncan Van Schalkwyk

13. Brian Hannon

14. Tyler Sousley

15. Mitch Wilson

AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | Reserves

16. Ruairi Van Raalte

17. Chance Wenglewski

18. Roman Salanoa

19. Chad Sneyd

20. Veuki Taumefolau

21. Ruben De Haas

22. Roddy Giles

AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | 32

Tries: Germishuys, Cima, Al-Jiboori, Van Schalkwyk

Conversions: Cima (2)

Penalties: Cima (2)

Namibia | 30

Tries: Duran, Fitipaldo, Faggi Pfeiff, Bruno Zeballos

Conversions: Etcheverry (3)

AIG Men's Junior All-Americans | 2016 World Rugby U20 Trophy

v. Namibia - L 46-44

v. Hong Kong - W 32-12

v. Spain - L 18-16