Gary Gold's USA suffer World Cup setback
REPORT: Canada ended their eight-year winless streak against the United States on Saturday with an upset 34-21 victory in their 2023 World Cup qualifier in Newfoundland.
Second-half tries from Lucas Rumball, Ben Lesage and Brock Webster sealed a deserved win for the Canadians, who had trailed 14-10 at half-time against their North American arch-rivals.
This was Canada’s first win over the US Eagles since 2013, ending a 12-match run without a victory comprised of 11 defeats and one draw.
Saturday’s qualifier was the first leg of a home-and-away playoff.
The return game takes place in Colorado next Saturday, with the aggregate winner of both games advancing to a two-leg playoff against Uruguay for a place at the World Cup in France in two years time.
The loser of the US-Canada qualifier can still book a place at the World Cup via a repechage.
On Saturday’s evidence, Canada will head into next week’s second leg brimming with confidence.
The Americans looked to have too much power for the Canadians early on, winning a penalty try after only two minutes when Canada collapsed a driving maul.
However Canada hit back immediately with a try from lock Corey Thomas, with flyhalf Peter Nelson adding the conversion to make it 7-7.
A Nelson penalty made it 10-7 to Canada after 19 minutes but the American dominance continued as the Canadians gave away a string of penalties.
Five minutes from half-time, the US regained the lead with a clever set line-out play, faking a driving maul before moving the ball quickly to flanker Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, who rumbled over for the score.
However Canada fought back superbly in the second half, rattling in tries Rumball and Lesage before Webster intercepted an A.J. MacGinty pass to run nearly the length of the field to score.
That made it 34-14, giving Canada a 20-point margin that could be crucial heading into next week’s second leg.
But the US grabbed a lifeline with the last play of the game, Tavite Lopeti scoring under the posts to the deficit to 13 points before the return.