Can the U.S. national rugby team still qualify for the Rugby World Cup 2023?
Chile scored a huge upset by beating the USA to reach the World Cup in France, but the Eagles have another chance in the Final Qualification Tournament.
The United States have not made qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France particularly easy for themselves, but defeat by the narrowest of margins against Chile in the fifth round of Americas knock-out action was not the end of the road. The US beat Canada by an aggregate score of 59-50 to progress to round three, the Americas 1 decider, which provides the second qualification spot for the continent. Argentina had already secured their place at the finals in France by dint of their performance at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, and the Pumas were joined by Uruguay after Los Teros beat the USA convincingly, recording a 50-34 aggregate victory for their widest-ever winning margin over the Eagles.
That was perhaps not entirely unexpected: Uruguay are ranked 20th in the world to the US’ 17th and have participated in the World Cup on four occasions (1999, 2003, 2015 and 2019). Chile, though, was a different matter. Los Cóndores had already defied expectations to deny Canada a place at the World Cup for the first time in the competition’s history, recording a first-ever win over Les Rouges in the Americas 2 Repechage to set up a meeting with the USA in round five, which would decide the second automatic continental qualification spot.
Chile upset the odds in incredible style to secure their spot in France, beating the USA by a scoreline of 52-51 to qualify for the tournament proper for the first time.
Eagles have one final shot at World Cup 2023
However, all is not lost for the US: defeat to Chile left the Eagles with one final shot at booking a spot for France 2023 via the Final Qualification Tournament. The four-team, round-robin mini tournament will be held during the international window in November to decide the final place for the 20-team World Cup. So far three teams have been confirmed: the USA, Portugal and Kenya, with the winner of a playoff between Hong Kong and Tonga to take the remaining spot.
World Cup 2023: qualified Americas teams
Argentina: world ranking 9
Uruguay: world ranking 20
Chile: world ranking 24