Fri, 30 Jun 2017 08:58
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WORLD CUP QUALIFIER: A berth in the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup is at stake Saturday when the United States Eagles play host to Canada in a winner-take-all showdown at San Diego, California.

It's the second match in a two-leg qualifying series that produced a 28-28 draw at last weekend's opener in Hamilton.

"If we're going to do better, we've got to be more clinical," said Canada coach Mark Anscombe said. "If you want to win these games you've got to make better decisions than what we did."

Saturday's winner books a 2019 berth in Japan while the loser faces another qualifying series against a South American rival.

Canada, which has played in every Rugby World Cup since the event began in 1987, is 38-17 with two drawn all-time against the Eagles. Canada has not lost a qualifying match to the United States since July 2009.

But the Americans have five wins and a draw in their past six matches against Canada, unbeaten against their arch rivals under coach John Mitchell.

Mike Te'o and Nick Civetta each scored two tries for the Eagles last Saturday while South African-born DTH van der Merwe scored two to become Canada's all-time test try-scoring leader with the 25th of his career.

"I'll look back at it when I'm older," Van der Merwe said. "But right now I just want to do as much as I can to help my team."

Van der Merwe will join English Premiership side Newcastle next season after stints with Pro 12's Glasgow Warriors and Scarlets.

Players to watch: 

For USA: Fullback Madison Hughes has the speed and guile to carve open defences, while centre Marcel Brache has a good step on him. Up front, captain Todd Clever is a tough guy to bring down.

For Canada: Wing DTH van der Merwe is a try-scoring machine, while fullback Ciaran Hearn is a solid customer at the back. No.8 Tyler Ardron has plenty of power to get his side over the advantage line.

Head to head: There is plenty of talent at fullback and it will be good for the game if Madison Hughes and Ciaran Hearn get plenty of ball.

Prediction: The USA are at home and they have a little more X-factor. The USA will win by five points or less.
USA: 15 Madison Hughes, 14 Mike Te'o, 13 Bryce Campbell, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Ryan Matyas, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Nate Augspurger, 8 Cam Dolan, 7 Tony Lamborn, 6 Todd Clever (captain), 5 Nick Civetta, 4 Nate Brakeley, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 Tony Purpura.    
Replacements: 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: 15 Ciaran Hearn, 14 Andre Coe, 13 DTH van der Merwe, 12 Connor Braid, 11 Taylor Paris, 10 Shane O'Leary, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Matt Heaton, 6 Admir Cejvanovic, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Brett Beukeboom (captain), 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Djustice Sears-Duru.   
Replacements: 16 Benoit Piffero, 17 Anthony Luca, 18 Matt Tierney, 19 Kyle Baillie, 20 Aaron Carpenter, 21 Andrew Ferguson, 22 Nick Blevins, 23 Dan Moor.

Date: Saturday, July 1
Venue: University of San Diego, San Diego
Kick-off: 15.00 (15.00 Pacific Time; 22.00 GMT)
Expected weather: It will be partly cloudy with a high of 21°C and a low of 17°C.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Sean Davey (England)

AFP & @rugby365com