Repecharge Tournament Match Day 1 report
After earning bonus points in the opening games of the last qualifying round, which took place in Dubai on Sunday, the USA and Portugal have the inside path on securing a spot in the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
At the Sevens Stadium, the US defeated Kenya 68-14 and Portugal overcame Hong Kong 42-14 in the opening round-robin matches.
The United States has only ever missed the World Cup once, in 1995. With hat-trick tries from winger Christian Dyer of Houston and hooker Dylan Fawsitt of New York, the Americans have demonstrated their determination to avoid a replay of that low moment.
The Eagles scored 10 tries overall, which was their highest-ever total outside of the Americas. They began the match with an XV made up completely of players from Major League Rugby, the home league, and added players based in Europe off the bench.
Against Portugal, Hong Kong scored first on a rolling maul. However, Portugal created chances and scored three tries in the first half—one each for the lock Jose Madeira, the wing Raffaele Storti, and the center Miguel Morais.
Portugal continued to attack despite having a man sin-binned, scoring tries in the second half from Rodrigo Marta, Storti once more, and Jose Lima. Jack Neville of Hong Kong stumbled across for a consolation try, but Portugal progressed a step closer to the Rugby World Cup since 2007.
The tournament winner will join Australia, Wales, Fiji, and Georgia in Pool C for the 20th and final spot in the World Cup in France.
Portugal will play Kenya on Saturday in the upcoming round of games in Dubai, while the US will play Hong Kong. The match between Portugal and the US the next week appears destined to be the World Cup's deciding match.
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