USA and Canada World Cup Round 3 Round-Up
Major League Rugby was again well-represented during both the United States and Canadian national teams’ Round Three matchups with some of the top competition in the world.
Like rounds one and two, things ultimately didn’t go the way of either the United States or Canada, but players once again had the opportunity to perform in front of a global audience.
The 12 MLR players that made up Canada’s starting XV on Tuesday morning had the unique opportunity to take on No. 5 South Africa just one week after facing top-ranked New Zealand. Unfortunately for them, Canada came out on the wrong end of a 66-7 loss to the Springboks but plenty of MLR players had big showings in the loss.
Matt Heaton of Rugby ATL notched Canada’s lone try to go along with the 12 tackles he made during Tuesday morning’s match. Jeff Hassler of the Seattle Seawolves continued his strong showing throughout the tournament with 33 meters gained, three defenders beaten, and three tackles in the loss. Hassler’s teammate Djustice Sears-Duru made the most out of his second-half shift by picking up 13 meters and making three tackles while Lucas Rumball of the Toronto Arrows gobbled up 20 meters, beat two defenders and made 13 tackles in his 80 minutes of work.
In addition to Heaton, Hassler, Sears-Duru, and Rumball, Andrew Quattrin, Mike Sheppard, Jamie Mackenzie and Guiseppe du Toit of the Arrows, Jake Ilnicki and Phil Mack of the Seawolves, Kyle Baillie of the NOLA Gold, and Josh Larsen of the New England Free Jacks all logged time against the Springboks in the loss.
As for the Eagles, a strong performance against France left them with their sights dialed in on a strong performance against No. 10 Argentina on Tuesday evening. A strong performance is what they got, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to topple the Pumas. Argentina knocked off the Eagles 47-17, but there was plenty to be proud of in the loss.
The United States took the pitch with four MLR players – Nate Brakeley of Rugby United New York, Hanco Germishuys of the Glendale Raptors, Cam Dolan of the NOLA Gold, and Mike Te’o of the San Diego Legion – in the starting XV. Three more – Dylan Fawsitt of RUNY, Olive Kilifi of the Seawolves, and Nate Augspurger of the Legion – made up the reserves for the tilt. All seven players saw time in the loss.
Despite holding a narrow edge in the possession and territory aspects of the match, it wasn’t enough to knock off the Pumas who forced the Eagles into 46 missed tackles.
The Eagles came out of the gate strong. After threatening early and playing some tough defense for the first 18 minutes of the match, it was Argentina that got the scoring started. Unfortunately for the United States, that scoring came in bunches. In a matter of 16 minutes, the Eagles found themselves in a 19-point hole. It wasn’t until minute 38 that captain Blaine Scully chased down a grubber from fly-half A.J. MacGinty from his wing position for the Eagles’ second try of the tournament. The try cut Argentina’s lead to 19-5 and gave them some momentum heading into the half, but the momentum didn’t last.
Argentina rattled off three more tries over the course of the next 16 minutes to secure a comfortable 40-5 lead. Outside center Paul Lasike helped try to turn the tide around in minute 59 when he rumbled in for the Eagles second try of the match, but the Pumas responded back with a try of their own just 10 minutes later. The Eagles fought until the very end and were rewarded for their efforts when they found a wide-open Scully for their third – and Scully’s second – try of the match.
Germishuys finished the match with 11 made tackles, 25 meters gained, and three defenders beaten in the loss. Te’o tallied 36 meters and one tackle while Dolan made five tackles, gained nine meters, and won five lineouts in what was his 50th test match for the Eagles. He became just the 11th men’s Eagle to achieve 50 caps.
USA will play their fourth and final match in Pool C against Tonga on Sunday, October 13 at 1:45 AM ET. Canada will also wrap up their World Cup campaign when they take on Namibia on Saturday, October 12 at 11:15 PM ET.
View the full Rugby World Cup schedule here.
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