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U.S. Beats Japan 39-26 at Rugby World Cup

October 27, 2003

GOSFORD, Australia (AP) _ The United States ended its 10-game losing streak at the Rugby World Cup on Monday with a 39-26 victory over Japan.

The Americans, led by Mike Hercus, won for the first time since beating Japan in their first game at the inaugural World Cup in 1987.

The United States nearly defeated Fiji to open the tournament, losing 19-18, and lost to Scotland 39-15 a week ago. The U.S. team (1-2) has one first-round game left but cannot advance.

``We’ve accomplished our first goal now, a little bit further in than we wanted to,″ U.S. captain Dave Hodges said. ``But it feels great to get that win after so many years.″

This was the 10th consecutive World Cup loss for the Japanese, dropping them into a tie with the Americans for the longest losing skid in tournament history. Japan last won at the World Cup in 1991.

Japan left the tournament with an 0-4 record and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

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