US Eagles host Canada to decide RWC berth

(File, Gallo Images)
(File, Gallo Images)

Los Angeles - 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 D.T.H. 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.

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