A livewire show from Tomahawks scrum-half Craig Priestly helped the USA to dominate large parts of the first half of their encounter against Cook Islands in Bristol but they had to share the spoils at half-times with the two sides tied at 10-all.
Stand-off Brad Takairangi touched down after the USA failed to clear a kick from Isaac John, Jordan Rapana converting.
But the USA hit back with a try from Bureta Faraimo after a Priestly 40/20 had set up the position for the scrum-half to send in the winger. Two minutes later Matthew Petersen crossed in the left corner and the USA held a 8-6 lead, extended by a two further points from a Joe Paulo penalty goal.
The game was level by the break with an unconverted Drury Low try three minutes before the interval for the Cook Islanders.