Rugby World Cup: Hell for Dalzell.
KEVIN DALZELL must be kicking himself after missing a late conversion attempt which would have earned the United States a draw against Romania in their World Cup Pool E game against Romania at Lansdowne Road.
Full-back Kurt Schuman scored a try with only minutes remaining but Dalzell pushed his conversion attempt wide from out on the sideline.
The miss allowed Romania to claim their first victory in four attempts against the US.
With Ireland and Australia on course to decide who wins the group, the realistic aim for both sides was to gain an all too rare World Cup victory at the other's expense.
In front of a small crowd the American Eagles started brightly.
They took the game to the Romanians and almost had points on the board in the third minute when fluent passing from left to right reached wing Vaea Anitoni in the corner. But a strong Romanian tackle forced Anitoni to spill the ball within inches of the try line.
The US pressure forced Romania to concede penalties on a regular basis, and scrum-half Dalzell put his side's first points on the board with a penalty.
But it was Romania who scored the first try of the game when Gheorghe Solomie ran through to touch down.
Petre Mitu missed the difficult conversion chance.
The Americans bounced back and captain Dan Lyle's try took the Eagles into an 8-5 lead with Dalzell converting.
Lyle went off injured soon afterwards but his side's half-time advantage could have been greater if Dalzell had not missed three penalty kicks.
The second period began at a blistering pace with both sides scoring a try within minutes of the restart. The half was just seconds old when Brian Hightower darted through the Romanian defence to score a try, again converted by Dalzell.
But the response from Romania was immediate and Solomie raced in for his second try of the evening.
Mitu's conversion brought the scores to 17-12 and the Eastern Europeans then took the lead for the first time.
Flanker Adrian Petrache touched down after the US pack was driven over their own try line, and Mitu landed a difficult conversion from near the left touchline.
That put the Romanians 19-17 ahead, and scrum-half Mitu opened up to a five-point lead with a long-range penalty.
Petrache scored another try off a rolling maul before a late penalty by Dalzell put the US within a converted try of their opponents.
Schuman forced his way over the line but Dalzell could not finish the job.