USA spoiled the away team’s Canada Day celebrations in sunny San Diego on Saturday with an emphatic second-half performance that left the Canucks with nowhere to hide. It may have been 1 July and the 150th anniversary of modern-day Canada, but the Eagles were in no mood to be generous to their northern cousins, running in eight tries to one and reaching the finishing post at a canter, 52-16.
It’s the biggest margin of victory by USA over Canada in their long, 58-game rivalry and means that the Eagles will qualify for Japan as Americas 1. They join Pool C and so will face England, France, Argentina and the Oceania 2 qualifier.
The first leg in Hamilton, Ontario, was unable to separate these two fierce rivals as this great North American derby ended in a 28-28 draw for only the second time in history. So they came to Southern California knowing it was a simple equation – the winner would qualify for RWC 2019 and the loser would face a tricky two-leg play-off against Uruguay for the right to qualify as Americas 2.
In the event, in front of typically vociferous American crowd, the USA got the job done with tries from No.8 Cam Dolan (two), replacement hooker Joe Taufete’e (two), scrum-half Nate Auspurger, replacement prop Dino Waldren and replacement lock David Tameilau as USA their opponents down and then released the bench to put a visibly tired Canada to the sword.
Before the game, a moment’s silence was observed in memory of former Canada coach Ric Suggitt, who passed away suddenly during the week. During his illustrious career, Suggitt coached the Canada men’s and women’s senior teams as well as the men’s sevens team. He also coached the USA women’s sevens team for several years, meaning he will be sadly missed by players and supporters on both sides of the border as well as by countless friends and admirers he made throughout the global rugby family.