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Uruguay, US draw 27-27 in 1st leg of 2015 playoff

March 22, 2014

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Uruguay blew a 19-6 lead and had to score a late try to draw with the United States 27-27 in the first leg of their Americas playoff on Saturday in qualifying for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The return leg is in Atlanta next Saturday, with the winner slotting into World Cup Pool B with South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and an Asian qualifier. The loser goes into a cross-continent repechage.

Uruguay, only once a winner against the Eagles, in 2002, took advantage of the penalty-plagued Americans to lead 19-6. But the U.S. was recharged by hooker Phillip Thiel’s converted try right on halftime.

The U.S. used the momentum to cross twice more in a six-minute span and lead for the first time in 50 minutes. At the end, Uruguay used its scrum power to send scrumhalf Agustin Ormaechea over in the left corner to level. The conversion attempt was wide.

The U.S. has missed the World Cup only once. Uruguay has qualified only twice.

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