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Uruguay Slams USA to Qualify for RWC

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Uruguay Slams USA to Qualify for RWC

Uruguay was on the front foot most of the game. Photo Uruguay Rugby.

Uruguay will be going to the Rugby World Cup as Americas #1.

Los Teros took care of business against the USA, beating the Eagles 34-8 in a game where the USA was in it for, really, about 40 minutes. Uruguay was more physical, clinical in the red zone, and built early momentum.

Going into the game the USA held a slim three-point lead in the two-game series. But that lead was erased quickly as Uruguay sent Rodrigo Silva over. Down 7-0, the USA managed to get in position for a penalty goal from Will Magie. Then wing Federico Favaro made a mistake, calling for the mark on a Ruben de Haas box kick, he then didn't use the mark (the mark gives you a free kick). Instead he just started running before booting the ball downfield from some meters away.

That was a no-no and the USA got a scrum at the Uruguayan 22. The USA scrum shoved Uruguay back and on a penalty advantage Cam Dolan popped to de Haas on the weak side, the left, and the scrumhalf made a superb offload to a streaking Mike Kruse who outpaced two defenders to score.

It was a very nice try and gave the USA a lead of 8-7. But that didn't last too long. Uruguay got a penalty, which gave Favaro a chance to redeem himself as he kicked it through the posts, and then another, and took a 13-8 lead into the second half.

And then the wheels came off. Gaston Mieres raced around several USA tacklers to score in the corner. Then Los Teros just marched down the field. The Eagles made tackles but they were going backward. They slipped off a few and finally hooker Facundo Gattas was over. Just like that it was 27-8.

USA reserves helped stop the bleeding but they couldn't get points. Silva finished it off and that was it. The USA committed far, far too many penalties at midfield that resulted in momentum shifts or attacking opportunities for Uruguay. The Uruguayans controlled the gain line, and the Eagles just didn't show the ability to score quickly and turn the game around.

It was a good day for South American rugby, as Chile defeated Canada 33-24. That win erased a one-point deficit from their first game, and the Condors remain alive in the qualification chase. So now the USA plays Chile for the right to be Americas 2. The loser of that series will go to the final qualification series. Canada, for the first time ever, misses out on RWC qualification.

"Obviously a very disappointing day, a very disappointing result," said USA Head Coach Gary Gold. "Certainly not what we planned for. We thought our preparation had gone well ... the guys were in a really good space. It just seems to be again that we are the masters of our own destiny, our own worst enemy."

The vocal crowd was a good challenge for the USA, added the coach, and he felt the team had shown a good attitude despite the late travel. But it didn't come together.

"We made life very difficult for ourselves by not converting on a big lead last week in Glendale ... and we paid the price this week," added Gold. "And a period of really poor play for the first 10, 15 minutes of the second half they got a commanding lead and then it was difficult for us to claw our way back."

At 50 minutes of last week's game in Glendale, the USA led 19-3. After that, in the last 110 minutes against Uruguay, the scoreline has been 47-8 in favor of the South Americans. Gold said his team showed character in battling to the bitter end, but the end was, indeed, bitter.

"These are very tough lessons for us to be learning right now," said Gold.

Uruguay 34
Tries: Silva 2, Mieres, Gattas
Convs: Favaro 4
Pens: Favaro 2

USA 8
Tries: Kruse
Pens: Magie