October 2nd, 2021 – The USA Eagles have taken one step closer to booking their ticket to the Rugby World Cup 2023 with a narrow 19 – 16 victory over Uruguay in Glendale, Colorado.

After an early penalty goal to Los Teros, the home side got on the board through veteran number eight Cam Dolan, who finished off a brilliant team effort. Winger Mika Kruse took a quick throw in off a kick to touch and proceeded to bosh over two defenders before flanker Hanco Germishuys served up a brilliant dummy to rampage down towards the try line. After catching an offload from Germishuys, fiery scrum half Ruben De Haas jinked his way up field before finding Kapeli Pifeleti who then passed to Dolan for the score.

The Eagles kept their foot on the gas pedal in the first half and picked up their second try of the game through Christian Dyer. The 23-year-old flyer from Sacramento, California, who scored in his international debut this past Summer against England at Twickenham, bounced off three would-be tacklers before touching down in the right corner. Flyhallf Will Magie added the extra two points in both of USA’s first-half tries – both from the sidelines.

Ten minutes into the second half, Head Coach Gary Gold’s side furthered their lead with a try by Utah Warriors flyer Kruse. The 23-year-old, who dominated throughout the entire Major League Rugby season, would be subbed off after scoring his first-ever try for the Eagles. Despite a missed conversion attempt by Magie, the Eagles were in control at 19 – 3.

After that try, however, it was all Uruguay.

After another two penalties by playmaker Felipe Berchesi to bring the game to 19 – 9, replacement hooker Gullermo Pujadas scored his country’s lone try of the match to bring the game to within three points. Los Teros dominated he possession late in the match but couldn’t cross the whitewash or force a penalty as the Eagles’ defence stood strong to secure the narrow three-point victory.

These two sides will now travel down to Montevideo, Uruguay for the second and deciding leg of the series, with the winner officially qualifying for the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. The loser, however, will face the winner of the Rugby Americas North #2 versus Sudámerica Rugby #2 series between Canada and Chile. Canada won their opening game of that series by a meagre one point.

The winner of that series will head to France in the Americas 2 position, while the loser will compete in the last chane World Rugby repechage.

USA Points:
Try: Cam Dolan, Christian Dyer, Mika Kruse
Conversion: Will Magie (x2)

Uruguay Points:
Try: Guillermo Pujadas
Conversion: Felipe Berchesi
Penalty: Felipe Berchesi (x3)

1 David Ainu’u, 2 Kapeli Pifeleti, 3 Joe Taufete’e, 4 Nate Brakeley, 5 Nick Civetta, 6 Hanco Germishuys, 7 Andrew Guerra, 8 Cam Dolan, 9 Ruben de Haas, 10 Will Magie, 11 Mika Kruse, 12 Bryce Campbell (Capt.), 13 Tavite Lopeti, 14 Christian Dyer, 15 Marcel Brache

Replacements: 16 Dylan Fawsitt, 17 Matt Harmon, 18 Paul Mullen, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Moni Tonga’uiha, 21 Nate Augspurger, 22 Luke Carty, 23 Will Hooley

1 Mateo Sanguinetti, 2 Facundo Gattas, 3 Diego Arbelo, 4 Ignacio Dotti, 5 Manuel Leindekar, 6 Manuel Ardao, 7 Santiago Civetta, 8 Manuel Diana, 9 Santiago Arata, 10 Felipe Berchesi, 11 Gastón Mieres, 12 Andrés Vilaseca (capt.), 13 Nicolás Freitas, 14 Rodrigo Silva, 15 Felipe Etcheverry

Replacements: 16 Guillermo Pujadas, 17 Juan Echeverría, 18 Matías Benítez, 19 Diego Magno, 20 Eric Dosantos, 21 Tomás Inciarte, 22 Federico Favaro, 23 Felipe Arcos Pérez

Date: Saturday, October 2
Venue: Infinity Park, Glendale
Kickoff: 18:00 local (17:00 Pacific, 20:00 Eastern, 21:00 Montevideo)
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistants: Peter Martin (Ireland) & Scott Green (USA)
TMO: Derek Summers (USA)
Broadcasts: FloRugby (USA), Star+ (Uruguay), World Rugby (outside Americas)

2019-03-02 – USA 25, Uruguay 32 (Starfire Stadium, Tukwila)
2018-03-03 – Uruguay 19, USA 61 (Estadio Charrúa, Montevideo)
2017-02-04 – USA 29, Uruguay 23 (Toyota Field, San Antonio)
2016-03-05 – Uruguay 29, USA 25 (Estadio Charrúa, Montevideo)