USA 24 (Clint Newton 2, Matt Petersen, Joseph Paulo, Tui Samoa tries; J Paulo 2 goals) def Wales 16 (Christiaan Roets 2, Anthony Walker tries; L White 2 goals) at Wrexham.
THE USA Tomahawks have again proven their critics wrong, defeating Wales 24-16 for their second Rugby League World Cup win in a row.
The brilliant victory ensures the Tomahawks will lead their pool again after round two of the RLWC.
Just four days after their victory over Cook Islands, the ITC Secure Networking Tomahawks travelled to enemy territory in Wrexham to face a Wales team playing for their tournament future.
However, the Tomahawks, the only team in this tournament who are not being paid, were never intimidated.
Wales had an eight day rest between games and were quick off the mark, registering first points through centre Christiaan Roets, who finished off a series of effective dummy-half runs that created space down their left flank.
However, the Tomahawks, as they did against Cook Islands, hit back immediately when Captain America Joseph Paulo, man of the match, hit veteran backrower Clint Newton with a sublime flat ball and the Newcastle Knights recruit crashed over.
The missed conversion left it at 4-4 after the first 20 minutes.
The game then became a forward-dominated contest with the Tomahawks’ defence shutting down Wales’ endless sweep plays.
The USA slowly gained ascendence in the ruck, and in the 33rd minute Paulo unleashed another of his trademark flat balls to send Matt “Sideshow Bob” Petersen over in the left corner.
That was Petersen’s second try this tournament and the owner of two tyre businesses back in Queensland is revisiting his Parramatta Eels’ form from eight years ago.
The Petersen effort took the score to 8-4, which it remained at half time.
Wigan bound prop Eddy Pettybourne made the most metres for the Tomahawks in the first half with 73, while hooker Joel Luani made 18 tackles to lead the count.
Wales had a mountain of possession in the opening five minutes of the second half with the Tomahawks having to defend five of six sets at one stage.
Twice the Tomahawks shut down their fifth-play options when they opted to run the ball instead of kick.
When the Tomahawks finally had possession, a great set from the forwards enabled a monster bomb to be launched which Wales fullback Rhys Evans could not handle.
Gentle USA giant Les Soloai picked the scraps up and from the next tackle the Tomahawks worked the numbers for Joseph Paulo to slide over.
Paulo missed the conversion to leave the score at 12-4.
USA repeated the effort three minutes later when Redcliffe Dolphins product Tui Samoa dummied and scooted over the line.
Paulo kicked the goal this time to make it 18-4 with 20 minutes remaining.
Following another brilliant run from workhorse prop Mark Offerdahl, Newton got his second try in the 64th minute to seal victory.
The Tomahawks’ victory maintained their lead at the top of Pool D.
USA 24 (Clint Newton 2, Matt Petersen, Joseph Paulo, Tui Samoa tries; J Paulo goal ) def Wales 16 (Christiaan Roets 2, Anthony Walker tries) at Wrexham.