USA vs Argentina : Argentina and the USA have both already been eliminated from the Rugby World Cup, but there will be more than pride at stake when the two teams meet in Kumagaya on Wednesday.
Los Pumas are third in Pool C behind already-qualified England and France after losing to both teams and beating Tonga, while the Eagles are bottom of the group after losing both of their games so far.
A win for Argentina will mathematically ensure a third-place finish, which will guarantee automatic qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Third spot in the pool is still mathematically within the U.S.’s reach, but Gary Gold’s men must win their remaining two games.
Considering the Eagles have never won more than one game in the same tournament—they recorded solitary wins in 1987, 2003 and 2011—and that they have never defeated Argentina in eight meetings, that is easier said than done.
The U.S. lost 45-7 against England in their opening game when they had John Quill sent off after 70 minutes for a shoulder-charge tackle against England’s fly-half Owen Farrell, before falling 33-9 against France last week.
The Eagles have never finished third in a World Cup pool before and fly-half A.J. MacGinty insisted the players still believe they can win their remaining two games in Japan.
Argentina XV: Joaquin Tuculet, Bautista Delguy, Juan Cruz Mallia, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Santiago Carreras, Nicolas Sanchez, Felipe Ezcurra; Rodrigo Bruni, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Pablo Matera (captain), Matias Alemanno, Guido Petti, Santiago Medrano, Julian Montoya, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Enrique Pieretto Heiland, Marcos Kremer, Tomas Lezana, Gonzalo Martin Bertranou, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Matias Moroni.
United States XV: Mike Te’o, Blaine Scully (captain), Bryce Campbell, Paul Lasike, Marcel Brache, AJ MacGinty, Ruben de Haas; Cam Dolan, Hanco Germishuys, Tony Lamborn, Greg Peterson, Nate Brakeley, Titi Lamositele, Joe Taufete’e, Eric Fry.
Replacements: Dylan Fawsitt, Olive Kilifi, Paul Mullen, Ben Landry, Ben Pinkelman, Nate Augspurger, Will Hooley, Martin Iosefo.