Men’s Eagles Start Off Strong With 68-14 Win Against Kenya in Final Qualification Tournament opener

World Rugby / Getty Images
World Rugby / Getty Images

The USA Men’s Eagles had a came out swinging in the first of three matches at the Rugby World Cup Final Qualification Tournament with an offensive explosion in their first-ever matchup against Kenya.

The Eagle’s 68-14 win earned a critical bonus point heading into the next two matches the round-robin tournament where only the top team will earn the last spot in next year’s Rugby World Cup. Though a bit of a rusty start for the USA, offense began to click with two recorded hat tricks and dominant possession. Six new USA Eagles made their test match debut, four as starters, in a match where Head coach Gary Gold had a few veterans who just joined the team this week come off the bench for this first round. Up next for the USA is a match against Hong Kong, Saturday Nov 12 at 9:30 AM ET. Watch the full replay of today’s match on The Rugby Network.

Match Recap

It was a humid match day in Dubai where both teams had a scrappy start to their first match of the tournament, both committing turnovers and penalties in the early eager phases. Siaosi Mahoni received a yellow card at the seven-minute mark for coming in on the side of the ruck, however Kenya wasn’t able to capitalize on the player advantage as the USA held them off from gaining territory. While still in the sin bin, a dangerous play forced a yellow card onto Kenya’s Geofrey Okwach, shifting the advantage to the USA as Mahoni returned to the pitch.

The first half of the match showed strong offensive prowess in the Eagles’ forward pack, with the first try coming from Dylan Fawsitt. After feeding the line out he was ready to receive it and ran around the maul to put the USA on the board. The first half also saw Christian Dyer take advantage of the new 50-22 rule to gain territory and earn a five-meter line out in Kenya’s zone. Two of the USA tries this afternoon would come off the 50-22.

A penalty against the USA gave Kenya the opportunity to kick to touch, one of only a few possesions for them in the first half, but more penalties against the Simbas let the Eagles feed another line out at the five-meter line. Fawsitt scored his second try of the day through a strong rolling maul.

Luke Carty used the 50-22 rule to get the ball back in Kenya’s territory, resulting in Jamason Fa’anana Schzultz scoring a third try for the USA after picking up from the breakdown. A successful conversion from Carty ended the first half, 19-0.

The Eagles continued to shine in their offense after the break with another try from Fawsitt in a maul, earning the hooker a hat trick. Fawsitt’s lethal performance at the five-meter line earned him Player of the Match honors. The squad started to engage their backs from this point, shifting to more speed on the wing and giving Christian Dyer opportunities to score and earn a hat trick of his own.

Kenya showed what they can do when they gain possession with room to run ahead of the contact point, scoring two tries of their own with big carries. Containing the big physical runners was something the USA knew they would need to target, and did well to execute with only a handful of leaks in the defense. The Eagles regained control of the game, though, scoring three tries within six minutes. Kenya lost some defensive steam near the end, opening up chances for the Eagles to run over the line a few more times. In his USA debut, Mitch Wilson scored his first international try with four minutes left in the match.

USA Men's Eagles Debuts

Eagle # 551 Cory Daniel

Eagle # 552 Vili Helu

Eagle # 553 Jack Iscaro

Eagle # 554 Ryan Rees

Eagle # 555 Mitch Wilson

Eagle # 556 Nate Sylvia

Captain Marcel Brache post game:

“Just getting a W in the column is really important. It’s a three-game tournament, and we started off very nicely against a very spirited Kenya side. With sweaty conditions, it was important to get our hands on the ball early and do as much as we can with it. We’re very fortunate to have some experienced guys on the field and off the field, so looking to work this week, and looking forward to another big game against Hong Kong. It’s another challenge, a very important challenge each week - this was the most important one and the next important one is Hong Kong this Saturday.”

A live replay of this morning’s match is available on The Rugby Network. Next up, USA matches up against Hong Kong next Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:30 AM ET, live on The Rugby Network.

1. Jack Iscaro Old Glory DC 1
2. Dylan Fawsitt Rugby New York 21
3. Paul Mullen Utah Warriors 28
4. CC Mahoni Houston Sabercats 8
5. Cam Dolan NOLA Gold 61
6. Viliami Helu Rugby ATL 1
7. Cory Daniel Old Glory DC 1
8. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz Old Glory DC 7
9. Ryan Rees Rugby ATL 1
10. Luke Carty MLR 9
11. Nate Augspurger San Diego Legion 34
12. Paul Lasike Utah Warriors 12
13. Marcel Brache (C) San Diego Legion 31
14. Christian Dyer Houston Sabercats 9
15. Mitch Wilson New England Free Jacks 1
16. Mikey Sosene-Feagai Agen (FRA) 8
17. David Ainu’u Toulouse (FRA) 18
18. Nate Sylvia San Diego Legion 1
19. Greg Peterson Newcastle (UK) 37
20. Tesimoni Tonga’uiha NOLA Gold 4
21. Ruben De Haas Saracens (UK) 26
22. Bryce Campbell MLR 42
23. AJ MacGinty Bristol Bears (UK) 33


Head Coach | Gary Gold

Assistant Coach | Mario Ledesma

Assistant Coach | Steve Brett

Assistant Coach | John Plumtree

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan

Strength & Conditioning Coach | Calvin Morris

Analyst | Jimmy Harrison

Head Physiotherapist | Kristen Douhan

Physiotherapist | Ron Klingensmith

Sports Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz

Team Doctor | Marc Kowalsky

Team Manager | Oscar Alvarez

USA vs Kenya

Sunday, Nov 6 | (W) 68-14

Live replay on The Rugby Network

USA vs Hong Kong

Saturday, Nov 12 | 9:30 AM ET

Live on The Rugby Network

USA vs Portugal

Friday, Nov 18 | 10:30 AM ET

Live on The Rugby Network