Eagles' ace MacGinty 'could' make qualifier despite illegal Wallaby shot
Gary Gold believes captain AJ MacGinty can help the USA Eagles qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup by defeating Uruguay despite the Sale Sharks outside half suffering a shoulder injury after taking an illegal hit from Wallaby Adam Coleman in the 31-31 draw with London Irish.
Coleman received a yellow card in the incident which saw MacGinty double tackled and sent shoulder first into the turf. MacGinty will miss the first game with Uruguay in Glendale, Colorado on Saturday but head coach Gold is confident his goal kicking captain will be on the plane to Montevideo for the crucial away leg on October 9. The reward for becoming the Americas 1 qualifier is a place in Pool A against New Zealand, hosts France, Italy and Africa 1 qualifier.
MacGinty’s last act against Irish was to land the conversion of Sale’s fourth try, his fifth successful kick out of five, for a 31-14 lead at the break. However, he slumped to the ground holding his injured left shoulder and was replaced just before half time at the Brentford Community Stadium.
A scan revealed the extent of the injury and while MacGinty was happy to avoid serious structural damage to the shoulder, he did have to deal with a joint sprain and rib damage along with painful muscle spasms.
Gold has seen the medical report and said: “By my understanding, we will have to really look at the situation towards the end of the week and see if AJ can travel. I think he could make Montevideo.”
Centre Bryce Campbell will captain the Eagles in MacGinty’s absence on Saturday and admits his loss is a big blow. “AJ brings a lot of experience and personality to the group and he drives the standards,“ said Campbell. “I am a bit of a different leader to AJ and I probably don’t speak out as much but play my game and don’t try and get too far out of my wheelhouse.
“We wish AJ could be with us for the first game but we have to move on.”
MacGinty had travel problems which meant he was a replacement in the first game with Canada in St Johns but led the team in the return game which saw the Eagles overhaul the Canadians first leg 13 point lead and set up the clash with Uruguay.
Alex Sanderson, the Sale director of rugby, was already preparing to lose MacGinty under the international release agreement for three weeks to allow him to lead the Eagles in the two games with Uruguay. The Eagles have named Will Magie to start at No10 in Saturday’s contest with Luke Carty providing cover on the bench.
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