USA Eagles
30 20
Samoa
29 21
Men's Eagles  @ Estadio Anoeta
November 10, 20186:30 pm CEST
Autumn Internationals
FloRugby

Men's Eagles defeat Samoa for first time in history on dramatic penalty kick

SAN SEBASTIAN, ESP. - The USA Men's Eagles have made history once again. For the first time ever, the United States men have beaten Samoa 30-29 on a match-winning penalty kick slotted by Will Hooley at fulltime.

The game had nearly slipped away after the Eagles scored the first 15 points and Samoa answered back several times to take the lead. Despite conceding open space on one too many occasions, the United States fought hard to stay in the game edging a defecit of 2 points before a penalty gave them the ultimate advantage.

The first try came easily to the Men's Eagles when Joe Taufete'e reached over the line in the heat of the breakdown to score.

A USA line break followed by a Samoan penalty allowed Will Hooley to notch three more points; after which Hanco Germishuys found his own window of space to break wide open and run pitch-length for another, 15-0.

Momentum had built almost entirely in the Men's Eagles favor with the Samoans giving up gaps of space in compromising directions. Things would start to shift shortly after, however, when a USA scrum penalty allowed Samoa to kick the ball deep in the United States end. It only took a few more phases for the opposition to move the ball closer to the try zone and make an uncontested dot down, 15-7.

Riding the energy, Samoa then launched an unforgiving rhythm of scoring that claimed the lead with two back-to-back tries. Now up 15-21, the other side had made a statement.

Struck by the moment and keen to fight on, Cam Dolan displayed a sheer moment of brilliance. Claiming the restart deep in the Samoan half, Dolan plucked the ball, spun around and ran across the line to score, 20-21.

The halftime whistle couldn't come soon enough. Following a half that proved Samoa should not be underestimated, the United States needed time to reset.

But after the break, USA was outmaneuvered once again. Chasing a ball that rolled immediately over the tryline, the Samoans  made contact with the ball just in time to win the points. Unconvinced at first, the match referee deferred to the TMO but the try was ultimately awarded, 20-26.

Play would erupt in a strategic series of cross-field kicks until the United States had the ball at the 5-meter line and the referee called a Samoan penalty. Going for points again, Will Hooley slipped on the fresh grass forcing the ball out wide and keeping USA six points behind their opposition.

Samoa held onto possession for majority of the second half until Cam Dolan intercepted an offload and ran pitch-length for a gladiator try to reclaim the lead, 27-26.

A costly penalty allowed the Samoans to kick another three points with only minutes remaining, giving them an edge that frightened USA fans with any measure of the time clock.

With one minute to go and a two-point deficit on the board, the USA launched their final attack from a lineout in attacking range. On the final play, the referee called a penalty on Samoa, allowing USA the opportunity to make one final kick to seal the game.

For what felt like hours, the hearts and minds of fans at Anoeta Stadium were feverishly pounding. Will Hooley stepped up to the plate, swung his hands behind him and connected his golden kick with the ball for a beautiful slot right through the posts.

The kick, marking another historic moment for the U.S. Men's National Team, meant the Eagles would hold onto their unbeaten record in test matches, moving to 9-1 overall on the year.

A dramatic win and a remarkable moment for American rugby, the Men's Eagles have a night to relish in the victory before they chart their next course towards the next test with Romania. 

The match kicks off at 7 AM ET, LIVE on FloRugby.

U.S. Men's National Team Staff

Head Coach | Gary Gold
Assistant Coach | Shawn Pittman
Assistant Coach | Greg McWilliams
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison
Head Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Assistant Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan
Team Doctor | Matthew Schmitz (Samoa)
Team Doctor | Richard Kim (Romania & Ireland)
Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz (Samoa, Romania & Ireland)
Team Manager | Chris Hanson
Assistant Team Manager | Kevin McCorry

U.S. Men's National Team Schedule

vs Maori All Blacks | 22-59 (L)

vs Samoa | 30-29 (W)

vs Romania
Sat, Nov. 17 | 7 AM ET
Ghencea Stadium, Bucharest, ROU

vs Ireland
Sat, Nov. 24 | 1:30 PM ET
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, IRE

*Times subject to change.