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USA and Portugal set on collision course in race for final World Cup spot

By Ian Cameron
RWC 2023 Final Qualification Tournament – Portugal v Hong Kong

The USA and Portugal have drawn first blood in their bid to clinch the final place at the Rugby World Cup in France next year.


Both sides won their first-weekend round-robin fixtures at the Final Qualification Tournament in Dubai, which viewers in the USA and Canada can watch on The Rugby Network. 

The Eagles brushed aside Kenya 68-14, while Portugal had an equally impressive result that saw them bruse past Asian heavyweights Hong Kong 42-14.

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The US are yet to miss a Rugby World Cup and do to so would represent something of a disaster for a side that will host the tournament in 2031.

Meanwhile, Os Lobos are looking to qualify for the event for the first time since 2007.

Eagles hooker Dylan Fawsitt and winger Christian Dyer both scored hat-tricks as the USA won their first-ever meeting with Kenya.

Gary Gold’s side scored 10 tries in total and racked up their highest-ever score outside of the Americas in a largely one-sided encounter.


Portugal produced moments of attacking brilliance to overcome stubborn resistance from Hong Kong and keep their bid to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023 firmly on track.

They didn’t have it all their own way initially but in the end they proved to sharp in attack for the Asian champions.

Player of the Match Raffaele Storti said: “Our backline is strong, it has improved a lot since we came together three years ago. But our forwards are good as well. They give the structure for the backs to play.”

Portugal captain Tomás Appleton said: “We want to play fast, we want to play wide channel to wide channel, it is part of our DNA. If we manage to get tries doing that, it’s perfect.”


The winners of the round-robin Final Qualification Tournament will claim the 20th and final ticket to Rugby World Cup 2023 and take their place in Pool C alongside Wales, Australia, Fiji and Georgia.

The action resumes on Saturday 12 November with Portugal up against Kenya in the first match of the day before the USA face Hong Kong in the latter of the two kick-offs.

additional reporting World Rugby


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RUGBYPASS+ The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation