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The USA Tomahawks are one step closer to qualifying for their maiden World Cup birth after securing a comprehensive 40 – 4 victory over the South African Rhinos in Philadelphia overnight.

Played in strong gusting winds on the American east coast, it was the home team who adapted best to the conditions, capitalising on the South Africans lack of respect for the ball.

Pushing the ball wide early in game, the Rhinos handed first points of the match to the Tomahawks when a wayward pass was picked up by Nate Smith, who linked up with winger Sione Taufa to score in the corner.

The Rhino’s poor start was further compounded when the Americans crossed in the very next set through second rower Mark Cantoni, before Parramatta Eel’s player, Joseph Paulo added the extras.

South Africa rallied in an attempt to reverse the momentum of the match, and despite the visitors holding the majority of possession and field position for the next 15 minutes, strong defence from the Americans tied in with more wayward passes mean the Rhino’s attempts to score amounted to nothing.

With the growing level of frustration becoming apparent in the visitors, the home side took full advantage scoring three quick tries including a double to second rower, Sean Taylor to set up a 24 – 0 lead heading into half time.

If trailing 24 – 0 wasn’t bad enough for the South Africans, injuries to key forward early in the second half allowed the Paulo brothers and former Parramatta Eel, Matt Petersen to run riot, playing key roles in the next three tries the Americans scored to secure a 40 – 0 lead before coach Matt Elliot proceeded to rest players.

South African winger Johan Fritz scored late in the match to add a mark of respectability to the score line for the Rhinos, but unfortunately it was too little too late.

Post match, American coach Matt Elliot was very happy with the convincing victory “We’re very satisfied obviously with the result coming off a very short preparation.”

The Americans will now have a week rest before they take on the Jamaicans next week in a match that will most likely determine who qualifies from the Atlantic region for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

“It was a great physical game that we expected from the start,” said South African head coach Steven van Zyl.

“To the American side, I think they played magnificent rugby league and we were a little bit disappointing. Game plan didn’t come to light. At stages we did try something new and they closed us down very quick.”

Tomahawak’s five-eighth, Joseph Paulo was named MVP for the match.

USA Tomhawks:
Tries: Sean Taylor 2, Curtis Cunz 2, Mark Cantoni, Sione Taufa, Danny Howard, Mitchell Stevens
Goals: Joseph Paulo 4 from 8
Team: Michael Garvey, Andrew Kneisly, David Marando, Curtis Cunz, Mark Offerdahl, Mitchell Stevens, Apple Pope (c), Nate Smith, Sione Taufa, Ian Elliott, Sean Taylor, Mark Cantoni, Joseph Paulo, Junior Paulo, Stephen Howard, Daniel Howard, Matt Petersen

South African Rhinos:
Tries: Johan Fritz
Team: Henry du Toit, Stevie Meyer, Gerrie Slabber, Christoff Swanepoel, Francois Greyvensteyn, Christo Joubert, Andre Loader (c), Andre Olwagen, Rudi Prinsloo, Johan Fritz, Hans du Plessis, Deon Kraemer, Christo Louw, Sivive Mpondo, JP Nel, Marcelle Slabbert, Jonothan Soares