Rugby World Cup qualification secured by Eagles with Canada Day victory

SAN DIEGO - The USA Men's Eagles qualified for Rugby World Cup 2019 Saturday, defeating Canada on Canada Day at Torero Stadium with their largest margin of victory in the rivalry, 52-16.

Starting No. 8 Cam Dolan and reserve hooker Joe Taufete'e each scored two tries for the U.S. in captain Todd Clever's final match in the Eagles jersey. When the team shows up to Japan in two years' time, it will play pool matches as the top Americas qualifier in Pool C alongside Argentina, England, France, and the Oceania 2 qualifier. The U.S. finished off the two-leg Qualifier series with a 74-42 advantage.

"We wanted to play with confidence in the first half, especially the first 10 minutes," center Bryce Campbell said at halftime. "We came out firing and it worked well for us."

After Canada failed to clear far enough with a high kick in its own end, fly half AJ MacGinty broke the gain line at midfield and found Ryan Matyas along the touch line. The wing sent the ball back inside to Campbell, who one-handed it to Dolan in contact for the opening score, 5-0.

Not five minutes later, lock Nick Civetta stole the ball from Canada and MacGinty strayed from contact before passing to onrushing flanker Tony Lamborn. Dolan followed the play and broke a tackle to slide in for his second try, 12-0.

Ill-discipline in Canada's first attacking possession resulted in fly half Gordon McRorie's first of three penalty goals in the 19th minute. Dolan broke Canadians hearts for a third time in the half with an assist in setting Nate Brakeley up for the lock's first career try, 19-3. McRorie rounded out the first-half scoring at 19-9 with his final two penalty goals, the second following a yellow card shown to Lamborn at the stroke of halftime.

The Eagles regrouped from a possession-heavy first half with the intention of bringing the backs into play more, but they had to kill off the sinning first. Wing Mike Te'o brought down wing Dan Moor on a break just short of the line in the first minute of the second half, though the Canadian found teammate Admir Cejvanovic in space for the visitors' only try of the game, 19-16.

Missing big-time center DTH van der Merwe and winger Taylor Paris, both late scratches for Saturday's match, Canada did not have an answer for the U.S. substitutes and conditioning once the teams were back on a level playing field. Taufete'e's dot-downs from two mauls eight minutes apart preceded one of the prettiest Eagle tries in recent memory.

Full back Madison Hughes, in his first action for the XVs National Team since November 2016, brought down a high ball under pressure outside the U.S. 22 two minutes into a sin-binning for Tyler Ardron. The ball was swung to Matyas for a winding break to the opposite 10, where scrum half Nate Augspurger received the well-timed offload for the try beside the posts.

The U.S. lead in the 64th minute was 40-16 before Dino Waldren crashed over the line with his first career test try, then reserve second-row forward David Tameilau finished off the day with a five-pointer for the 52-16 final.

For the first time since the Rugby World Cup began in 1987, the Eagles qualified for the pinnacle international tournament as the top American side. Canada had previously held the torch as the Americas 1 qualifier prior to 2017.

Men's Eagles | v. Canada
1. Tony Purpura (Tarr @ 40')
2. James Hilterbrand (Taufete'e @ 50')
3. Chris Baumann (Waldren @ 19')
4. Nate Brakeley (Durutalo @ 57')
5. Nick Civetta (Tameilau @ 52')
6. Todd Clever (C)
7. Tony Lamborn (Quill @ 68')
8. Cam Dolan
9. Nate Augspurger (Davies @ 69')
10. AJ MacGinty (Magie @ 72')
11. Ryan Matyas
12. Marcel Brache
13. Bryce Campbell
14. Mike Te'o
15. Madison Hughes

Men's Eagles | Reserves
16. Joe Taufete'e
17. Ben Tarr
18. Dino Waldren
19. David Tameilau
20. John Quill
21. Andrew Durutalo
22. Shaun Davies
23. Will Magie

Canada | v. USA
1. Djustice Sears-Duru (Luca @ 67')
2. Ray Barkwill (Piffero @ 57')
3. Jake Ilnicki
4. Brett Beukeboom (C)
5. Evan Olmstead
6. Admir Cejvanovic (Carpenter @ 57')
7. Matt Heaton (Baillie @ 57')
8. Tyler Ardron
9. Gordon McRorie
10. Shane O'Leary (du Toit @ 68')
11. Dan Moor
12. Connor Braid (Ferguson @ 74')
13. Nick Blevins
14. Andrew Coe (Duke @ 69')
15. Ciaran Hearn

Men's Eagles | 52
Tries: Dolan (2), Brakeley, Taufete'e (2), Augspurger, Waldren, Tameilau
Conversions: MacGinty (6)
Discipline: Lamborn (Yellow)

Canada | 16
Tries: Ardron
Conversions: McRorie
Penalties: McRorie (3)

USA Men's Eagles | Summer 2017 Schedule
v. Ireland (Emirates Airline Summer Series) - L 55-19
v. Georgia (Emirates Airline Summer Series) - L 21-17
v. Canada (Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifier) - D 28-28
v. Canada (Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifier) - W 52-16

USA try-scoring highlights

8' Cam Dolan try (No. 1)

15' Cam Dolan try (No. 2)

21' Nate Brakeley try

54' Joe Taufete'e try (No. 1)

61' Joe Taufete'e try (No. 2)

63' Nate Augspurger try

67' Dino Waldren try

78' David Tameilau try