Mike Hercus does not live in the United States, but he helped give USA Rugby fans a gift on the country's birthday.
Hercus, a 30-year-old fly half, scored all of Team USA's points as the Eagles downed Team Canada, 12-6, in a 2011 World Cup qualifying match before 3,836 on Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium.
Hercus was born in Falls Church, Va., but grew up in Australia before moving back to the U.S. when he was 22. He's been a member of Team USA since 2002, and plays professional rugby for the Sunshine Coast Stingrays in Australia's Queensland state.
"This is as good as it gets," Hercus said. "I am just part of it and I just happen to be the kicker.
"The boys did a fantastic job out there. The forwards were exceptional, and I just lived off of them all day. They did all the hard work."
Hercus has scored the most points in U.S. team history. He is also one of only five current players who were on the U.S. roster when it last defeated Canada in 2005.
Canada holds a 31-12-1 series advantage over the U.S.
This was the first of two World Cup qualifying matchups between the U.S. and Canada. They play again in Edmonton, Alberta, next Saturday. If Team USA wins, loses by less then six points or ties Canada in the second match, it will claim the Americas one spot in Pool A of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
"We are one step closer, but we have to go through this again next week," U.S. coach Eddie O'Sullivan said.
"I think overall we created some really good opportunities, and overall I am excited about the victory."
Hercus scored three points on a drop kick and added nine more points on three penalty kicks. The game was tied at 6 at halftime.
James Pritchard converted two penalty kicks for Canada's six points.
This is the second consecutive year Team USA has played rugby in Charleston, and the team enjoys the enthusiasm of the fans.
"It's fantastic here," Hercus said. "When we walk down the street people know what we are here for. You know what I'd like to do, and that is play a test (match) here every year. It's great when you get the local support like this."
Canada's Ed Fairhurst gets taken down by Team USA's Chris Biller (top) and Hayden Smith during a match Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium.×
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