US rout Canada to book World Cup berth
MATCH REPORT: The United States Eagles thrashed Canada 52-16 on Saturday, to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
It was a triumphant finale for veteran captain Todd Clever.
The Americans ran in eight tries against an overpowered Canada side and will now advance directly to the pool stage of the finals in Japan as the top seeds from the Americas zone.
The reward for Eagles is a place in Pool C - which will contain England, France and Argentina as well as a yet-to-be determined qualifier from the Oceania region.
It marks the first time in World Cup history that the United States have qualified for the tournament ahead of Canada, who now face a two-leg playoff against Uruguay next year for a further tilt at qualification.
"We fixed a few things that we messed up last week and we came in confident," said US captain Clever, playing the final game of an international career that began in 2003.
"This is a great way to end."
After last week's first leg in Canada finished in a thrilling 28-all draw, the two teams met at San Diego's Torero Stadium knowing that the winner would take all.
The Eagles - who have now won seven straight games against their North American rivals - set off at a furious pace to surge into an early lead.
No.8 Cam Dolan crashed over for the opening try after only eight minutes, rounding off a flowing move which began with AJ MacGinty's searing break on the halfway line that split Canada's defence.
Dolan then grabbed a second try converted by MacGinty to put the Americans 12-0 ahead after 15 minutes.
Canada scrumhalf Gordon McRorie slotted the first of three penalties to make it 12-3 but the US swept forward with a third try through lock Nate Brakeley after more good work from Dolan.
Two more McRorie penalties kept Canada in touch at 19-9 at half-time and the visitors stunned the Eagles early in the second half when Admir Cejvanovic dived over for a try.
But the Canadian fightback was short-lived, Worcester Warriors prop Joe Taufete'e rumbled over from an attacking line-out to help put the Eagles 10 points clear at 26-16.
The sin-binning of Canada No.8 Tyler Ardron was the cue for the floodgates to open, with the Eagles cutting loose with two more tries from Taufete'e, scrum-half Nate Augspurger and Dino Waldren.
For the United States:
Tries: Dolan 2, Brakeley, Taufete'e 3, Augspurger, Waldren
Cons: MacGinty 6
Pens: McRorie 3
United States: 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.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Sean Davey (England)