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USA 10-27 Ireland

USA (0) 10
Try: Suniula Drop-goal: Malifa Con: Malifa
Ireland (13) 27
Tries: Casey, Whitten, Penalty try, Best Cons: Keatley 2 Pen: Keatley

By Richard Petrie

Ireland action
Niall Ronan evades a Mike Hercus tackle in Santa Clara

Ireland produced an unconvincing display as they beat USA Eagles 27-10.

Bob Casey scored the opening try and Ian Keatley added a penalty before Ian Whitten crossed the home side's line to make it 13-0 at the break.

Ireland were awarded a penalty try and a touchdown by Rory Best helped the Irish to victory.

Keatley kicked two conversions while Roland Suniula scored the Eagles' only try of the game, with Ata Malifa adding a conversion to his drop-goal.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney made only one change from the side which beat Canada in unimpressive fashion, Mike Ross coming in for Tom Court in the front row.

The Eagles were missing up to 15 players through injury or unavailability but exerted early pressure on the Ireland defence.

Keatley missed with an eighth minute penalty attempt but second row Bob Casey rumbled over for a try, which Keatley converted, five minutes later.

Keatley was successful with his second penalty attempt but USA fly-half Mike Hercus was off-target with three straightforward penalty efforts before the interval.

A minute before half-time Whitten crossed the line for his second try of the tour, touching down after a fine move involving Keatley, Barry Murphy and Best.

Hercus skewed another penalty attempt wide from in front of the posts and was replaced soon after by Ata Malifa.

Referee Chris White awarded a penalty try after an Eagles infringement in the 52nd minute and Keatley added the points to make it 20-0.

Malifa replied with a drop goal and then inside centre Roland Suniula burst through to score a deserved try for the hosts, Malifa converting.

Skipper Best accepted a pass from Eoin Reddan and charged over the line for Ireland's fourth try in the 69th minute, which Keatley converted to give the scoreline a flattering look in Ireland's favour.

After the match, Irish coach Kidney admitted it was "a very poor game with a lot of mistakes".

"We said this was the start of our World Cup build-up and the players will know about the errors they made, but you have to start somewhere," he said.

"The lads trained very well during the week but you have to front up week in, week out if you are to compete in international rugby.

"We were not too euphoric after the Six Nations and we will not get too despondent now."

USA: C Wyles; K Swiryn, J Sifa, R Suniula, J Boyd; M Hercus, M Petri; M MacDonald, C Biller, W Johnson; J van der Giessen, H Smith; L Stanfill, P Dahl, N Johnson.

Replacements: J Welch, M Moeakiola, C Mackay, JJ Gagiani, T Usasz, A Malifa, A Tuilevuka.

Ireland: G Duffy; B Murphy, D Cave, I Whitten, I Dowling; I Keatley, P Stringer; T Buckley, R Best, M Ross; B Casey, M O'Driscoll; J Muldoon, N Ronan, D Leamy.

Replacements: S Cronin, T Court, R Caldwell, D Ryan, E Reddan, N O'Connor, D Hurley.

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see also
Canada 6-25 Ireland
23 May 09 |  Irish
Whitten completes Ireland squad
17 May 09 |  Irish
Wallace ruled out of Ireland tour
13 May 09 |  Irish
Best named Ireland tour captain
11 May 09 |  Irish

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