On August 17th the USA Eagles play the first of 2 matches against Canada to decide the America 1 seed to the 2015 Rugby World Cup to be played primarily in England . If the Eagles reverse their form of late and either beat Canada in both matches or win on the point difference, they will find themselves in World Cup Pool D with Ireland, Italy, France, & a European 2nd tier team (Russia in 2011).
In Pool D the Eagles would face France in Milton Keynes on October 1st, 2015. I have been to Milton Keynes – a city memorable by being so forgettable. Milton Keynes was purpose built in the 1960s to try to lure people from London.. The draw was that it was equidistant from London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge , and Leicester. It is the English equivalent of Hattiesburg which likes to proudly claim it is located equidistant from New Orleans, Mobile, and Jackson. You have to wonder about a city that lists one of its main features as how close it is to other places you would rather be.
If the USA loses to Canada and qualifies by winning the America 2 spot , they will be in Pool B and play Samoa, Scotland,, South Africa, and the Asia qualifier (Japan probably).
There is little debate that any tournament is more important that the World Cup for national side 15s. The Eagles have never won two matches in a World Cup and to get through to the quarterfinals they will have to be at least the second best team in their pool.
Where do you think is the Eagles’ best chance of being a World Cup Quarterfinalist – Pool D (France, Ireland, Italy, Russia) or Pool B (South Africa, Scotland, Samoa, Japan)? Current world rankings would give the edge to Pool D.
Coach Tolkin must be hoping to qualify as America 1 as pressure is building to replace him with each new loss in what has become an embarrassing losing streak. It is hard to imagine that Tolkin will survive long if the Eagles lose by 3 tries or more in either of the 2 Canada matches. The powers that control the hiring of the coach must be sweating a bit. After the Canada matches we’ll be just a little over 2 years from the first match of the World Cup. Do you risk another year with doubts and concerns that a losing culture is setting in and the America 2 spot could be in question?
If the Eagles lose the America 2 spot and qualify through the repechage play-off route, they will be in Pool A and will face Wales, Australia, England, and Oceana (Fiji)). This is the “Pool of Death” with one of the following powers Wales, Australia, or England not getting through to the quarterfinals. Since point differences could decide who gets through, every team will be out for lots of points in every match.
So even though they will have to play in Milton Keynes, it is probably best if the USA goes ahead and wins this qualifying series with Canada.
America 1 2015 World Cup Pool D Schedule
9/19 America 1 vs Ireland Cardiff
9/26 America 1 vs Italy Leeds
10/1 America 1 vs France Milton Keynes
10/6 America 1 vs Europe 2 Leicester
America 2 2015 World Cup Pool B Schedule
9/20 America 2 vs Samoa Brighton
9/27 America 2 vs Scotland Leeds
10/7 America 2 vs South Africa London (Olympic Stadium)
10/11 America 2 vs Asia Gloucester