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USA and Canada World Cup Round-Up: Round 1

September 26, 2019 - Major League Rugby (MLR) News Release

If you set an early alarm to watch either Canada or the United States play their World Cup matches on Thursday morning, you didn't have to look very hard to find the talented players that make up Major League Rugby.

Between Canada and the United States, there were a combined 18 players currently attached to MLR sides in action in both teams' first matchups.

Unfortunately for both sides, the first round of the tournament didn't go their way. 22nd ranked Canada fell to No. 14 Italy 48-7 in their opening match of the World Cup while No. 13 USA fell to No. 3 England 45-7 just a few hours later. Six MLR players made up Canada's starting XV while three, Cam Dolan of the NOLA Gold, John Quill of Rugby United New York and Shaun Davies of the Glendale Raptors, made USA's starting XV against England while Oli Kilifi of the Seattle Seawolves was subbed in the third minute and finished the match.

A quick glance at the match statistics reveals that nothing came easy for the Eagles on Thursday. England, who moved to 2-0 with the win, kept their foot on the gas and made the United States work for every inch they gained throughout the entire match. England dominated in both territory (78 percent) and possession (70 percent). They caught the Eagles on their back foot and forced them to make 159 tackles while only making 58 themselves which ultimately resulted in the Red Roses gaining 619 meters to the 231 that the Eagles finished the match with.

Despite finding themselves in an early 7-0 hole in just the sixth minute of the match, the Eagles did their best to buckle down and get something going. With their backs against the wall for what felt like the entire match, they successfully held off an England side that applied a tremendous amount of pressure for a solid 20 minutes before the Red Roses mauled in their second try of the match.

After wearing down the Eagles a bit more, England successfully mauled in another try just a handful of minutes later to take a 19-0 lead into the half.

Paul Mullen of the Houston SaberCats and Mike Te'o of the San Diego Legion subbed into the match just after the half while Dylan Fawsitt of RUNY and Hanco Germishuys of the Glendale Raptors subbed in at the 60 minute mark to try to help get something started for the Eagles, but the second half brought much of the same result. England went right back to work, notching tries in the 47, 57, 66 and 75 minute to put the Eagles away. It wasn't until the 81 minute that the United States found their way onto the scoreboard with a Bryce Campbell try and an A.J. MacGinty conversion.

Despite the loss, there was plenty of good in the match. Te'o finished with 43 meters gained, one line break and beat five defenders despite only playing for 30 minutes. Quill made all 12 of the tackles that he attempted in the match. Dolan finished with seven meters gained on three carries while also making 11 tackles in an 80-minute effort. In all, MLR players logged a combined 493 minutes of match time for the Eagles.

USA will continue to make their way through Pool C when they take on France in their second match of the World Cup on Wednesday, October 2 at 3:45 AM ET. Canada will play their second match of the tournament against Pool B favorites New Zealand on Wednesday, October 2 at 6:15 AM ET.

By: Colton Strickler, Lead MLR Correspondent

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