March 26, 2014 (ISN) – USA and Uruguay meet in Atlanta on Saturday for the second leg of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Americas 2 qualifier with both teams determined to secure a coveted place at England 2015.
The teams are tied at 27-27 heading into the decisive leg after a pulsating opening encounter in Uruguay, which saw the home side stage a late comeback to ensure a first draw between the nations.
If the two teams are still deadlocked at the end of the match in Atlanta, 10 minutes of extra time each way will follow, while the prospect of sudden death and then a kicking competition await should the teams still be tied.
The winner on Saturday will join 2007 champions South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and the Asian qualifier in Pool B at Rugby’s showcase global event.
Aside from qualification for England 2015, a win for Uruguay will see the South Americans swap places with Russia to go to 19th in the IRB World Rankings, while win or lose, USA will remain 18th.
Rugby is the fastest-growing team sport in the USA and there are now more than 1.5 million men, women and children actively playing the sport. And as the sport continues to reach out and inspire new fans and players, anticipation has been building in Atlanta where the Webb Ellis Cup will be in attendance.
A strong crowd is expected and the Cup will also be a special guest at the Atlanta Hawks’ NBA clash with Portland on Thursday alongside some of the biggest stars in basketball.
IRB Council Member for North America and the Caribbean Bob Latham said: “Taking important Rugby matches to major cities such as Atlanta is all part of USA Rugby’s strategy to grow the Game and inspire America to fall in love with Rugby.”
“Since Rugby World Cup 2011 we have noticed substantial growth in interest, engagement and participation, boosted by Rugby’s inclusion in the Olympic Games 2016 and I am sure that fans in Atlanta will be treated to an exciting match.”
“With a place in Rugby World Cup 2015 at stake, and after last week’s draw in Montevideo between the two teams, there is no doubt that the Fifth Third Bank Stadium will be an exciting place to be on Saturday.”
While aggregate defeat over the two legs will not end Rugby World Cup 2015 hopes, both sides will be desperate to avoid the tricky repechage process, where the second place Asian team will have to be beaten before facing the winner of the Europe/Africa process in the final.
The match in Atlanta on March 29 will be televised live in the United States on NBC Universal and will be streamed live at www.rugbyworldcup.com for viewers outside of the US.
Full reaction will appear on www.rugbyworldcup.com and via @rugbyworldcup.