Farrell leads USA past the Netherlands in the U20 Cup with four tries

Four tries from winger Keelan Farrell led the United States to a 44-33 victory over the Netherlands in the opening round of the World Rugby U20 Trophy on Tuesday. A blistering first half put the game out of reach for the Dutch youngsters, but they will take credit for a much better second-half performance that left the Americans with some uncomfortable moments.

Corbin Smith opened the scoring with an early penalty goal and then Farrell's pace showed for the first time. The winger burst into action on a 40-metre run after a Graeme Pedegana pass. Dylan Fortune was next to cross and charged in from close range. Smith made it 15-0 after 20 minutes.

The next goal came from a spectacular end-to-end sprint from Farrell that put the orange shirts to shame, with Joris Smits putting the Netherlands on the scoreboard when he spun out of a scrum, the first of three tries the impressive flanker would score.

Farrell scored his hat-trick on the half-hour mark, cutting against the grain, breaking the line and then running away. Smits scored his brace after a yellow card for Jordan Vassel reduced the Americans to 14 men. With the winger still in the penalty box, Pedegana galloped into the corner after a line-break by Rand Santos. Farrell scored his fourth goal after a cross-kick from Santos rebounded well and the USA went into the break with a 41-12 lead.

The second half was a very different one, with the taller Dutch strikers gaining the upper hand in both set pieces and tight and loose situations. Fortune was punished for cynical play in defending his goal line and winger Mart van der Veen fired over the bar seconds later.

Teun Karst, the Giant Brive Academy goalkeeper, stormed in for the Dutch fourth try just after the hour mark. Ollie Cline broke the orange wave with a penalty but that was only a brief respite as Smits scored his third try and Ilan Vaasen narrowed the gap with his fourth. The USA finished the game on the attack when Cline missed the target with a drop kick.

Next up for the Americans is a crucial clash with South American rivals Uruguay on Sunday, a contest that could well decide who wins Group B and secures a place in the final. The Netherlands will face Kenya, who were soundly beaten by Los Teritos on Tuesday.

Attempts (5) – J. Smits 3 (28′, 34′, 72′), M. van der Veen (46′), T. Karst (61′)
Disadvantages (4) – I. Vaasen 4/5 (35′, 47′, 62′, 73′)

USA 44
Attempts (6) – K. Farrell 4 (12′, 22′, 30′, 39′), D. Fortune (18′), G. Pedegana (37′)
Disadvantages (4) – C. Smith 4/6 (19′, 23′, 31′, 40′)
Penalty (2) – C. Smith 1/1 (4′), O. Cline 1/1 (69′)
DG (0) – O. Cline 0/1
YC (2) – J. Vassel (32′), D. Fortune (46′)

1 Ahmet Onolan, 2 Guus Henkes, 3 Robbin Hakkert, 4 Teun Karst, 5 Rembrandt Siebenga, 6 Mart van der Veen, 7 Joris Smits, 8 Gabriel Cahsay, 9 Warrick Jones, 10 Steven Fuchs, 11 Kit Temperley (captain), 12 Tobias Nota, 13 Rory Crum, 14 Jules Swier, 15 Ilan Vaasen

Substitutes: 16 Tom van Oooijen, 17 Nordin Geels, 18 Toine Obieng Nguema, 19 Cle Teunissen, 20 Tobias de Prieële, 21 Kees de Bruin, 22 Niek Doornenbal, 23 Tom Molhoek

1 Asbjorn Ross, 2 Cade Crist (Co-Captain), 3 Asa Rosenmeier, 4 George Engels, 5 Braemar Murray, 6 Graeme Pedegana, 7 Logan Ballinger, 8 Dylan Fortune, 9 Solomon Williams, 10 Rand Santos, 11 Keelan Farrell, 12 Max Threlkeld, 13 Dom Besag, 14 Jordan Vassel, 15 Corbin Smith

Substitutes: 16 Seth Smith, 17 John-Henry Rouse, 18 Luke Schaefer, 19 Miles Malone, 20 Daniel Lowther, 21 Judd Berman, 22 Ollie Cline, 23 Tito Edjua

Date: Tuesday, July 2
Venue: Hive Stadium, Edinburgh
Begin: 19:45 local time

Referee: Morgan White (Hong Kong)