U.S. Eagles fall to Canada in World Cup tuneup

Team USA's Roland Suniula, left, tries to avoid the tackle by Team Canada's Aaron Carpenter, right, and DTH van der Merwe during an international rugby test match at BMO Field in Toronto Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)

TORONTO — Canada’s men’s rugby team rallied in the second half to beat the United States 22-18 Saturday in an exhibition tuneup for the World Cup.

Canada was trailing 15-10 at halftime, but tries from Phil Mackenzie and Aaron Carpenter lifted it to victory.

“We are disappointed, it would have been great to get the win here in Toronto,” U.S. coach Eddie O’Sullivan said. “We let in a couple of tries from very simple errors that really hurt us, and put ourselves under pressure. But we responded well and got back into the game.”

The Americans carried play in the first half, scoring on a penalty kick and then getting a try from Takudzwa Ngwenya.

“There were plenty of positives against Canada,” O’Sullivan said. “Our scrum was very solid and our line-out fired well for the most part. We scored some good tries, and with more time together, the team cohesiveness will only improve. We have one week to fine tune things before the return match.”

Former Utah Warriors player John van der Giessen and former Ute Mate Moeakiola started for the Eagles and were replaced mid-way through the second half.

The game, dubbed “The Battle at BMO Field,” was played at the home of Toronto FC of Major League Soccer and was the first game in a home-and-home series. The U.S. hosts Canada Saturday at Infinity Field in Glendale, Colo.

The World Cup begins next month in New Zealand.

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