March 28, 2014 (ISN) – USA and Uruguay are just one match away from a place at England 2015 and both sides are ready to put everything on the line to realise their dream of playing on Rugby’s greatest stage.
Tied at 27-27, there was nothing to choose between the two teams after 80 minutes of pulsating Rugby in Montevideo last weekend, and the scene is now set for an epic winner-takes-all match at Kennesaw State University, Atlanta on Saturday (1500 local time).
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.
With a second solid week of training under their belts, both teams head into the match knowing that nothing other than an improvement in performance will be enough to see them qualify.
USA Head Coach Mike Tolkin said: “We’ve gotten much more familiar as a group with the playing style. We’ve had a lot more repetitions and the guys have spent more time on the field together. It’s been good to be at home.”
Uruguay captain Arturo Avalo added: “It is all to play for and we know that we will need to produce a stronger performance if we are to realise our dream tomorrow.”
Anticipation has been building in Atlanta ahead of the heavyweight clash and a bumper crowd is expected to bring a partisan feel to the crucial match. The Webb Ellis Cup has also been in town and proving popular as it visited schools, clubs and media events in the build-up.
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 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 at www.rugbyworldcup.com and you can join the conversation @rugbyworldcup.
USA V URUGUAY, RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015 QUALIFIER: SATURDAY, MARCH 29, KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY, ATLANTA
USA: 1. Olive Kilifi; 2. Phil Thiel; 3. Eric Fry; 4. Louis Stanfill; 5. Samu Manoa; 6. Todd Clever (C); 7. Scott LaValla; 8. Cam Dolan; 9. Mike Petri; 10. Toby L’Estrange; 11. Luke Hume; 12. Andrew Suniula; 13. Seamus Kelly; 14. Blaine Scully; 15. Chris Wyles
Replacements: 16. Tom Coolican; 17. Nick Wallace; 18. Titi Lamositele; 19. Tai Tuisamoa; 20. Kyle Sumsion; 21. Shalom Suniula; 22. Tim Maupin; 23. Folau Niua
Uruguay: 1. Aleja Corral; 2. Arturo Avalo (C); 3. Oscar Duran; 4. Santiago Vilaseca; 5. Mathias Palomeque; 6. Juan Manuel Gaminara; 7. Diego Magno; 8. Alejandro Nieto; 9. Agustin Ormaechea; 10. Felipe Berchesi; 11. Jeronimo Etcheverry; 12. Andres Vilaseca; 13. Joaquin Prada; 14. Leandro Leivas; 15. Gaston Mieres
Replacements: 16. Cristofer Soares de Lima; 17. Rodolfo de Mula; 18. Mario Sagario Cagnani; 19. Carlos Pombo; 20. Franco Lammana; 21. Juan de Freitas Turcatti; 22. Alejo Duran; 23. Francisco Bulanti
Referee: Greg Garner (England)